Cool Off at LA’s Best Poolside Bars This Summer

From Downtown to Santa Monica, here’s where to take a dip with a drink in hand.

Bar Clara at Hotel Per La
Photo by Sierra Prescott, courtesy of Bar Clara
Photo by Sierra Prescott, courtesy of Bar Clara

As we bask in the dog days of summer, it’s easy to avoid the heat entirely by staying indoors with roaring AC. But we’ve only got so many long, sunny days left and later when the sun is setting before 5 pm, we’ll be kicking ourselves for holing up inside instead of taking advantage of our city’s picturesque pool bars, which offer refreshing cocktails and bites alongside sparkling swimming pools, many of them with stunning views to enjoy those soon-to-disappear late evening sunsets. From Downtown to Culver City and Santa Monica, spanning massive rooftop venues to itsy-bitsy bars, here are 12 of the best poolside spots to try when the heat is on.

Umbrella Swim Club at Sixty Beverly Hills
Photo courtesy of Umbrella Swim Club

The rooftop poolside cocktail lounge at this luxe hotel is heavy on inventive cocktails for your summer enjoyment. Go for the clarified sangria, the pisco and passionfruit-tinged Girl from Lima, or the Cactus Prick, made with pineapple-infused mezcal and avocado. The food menu includes snacky stuff like chips and guac, oysters, and a Little Gem Salad, and larger plates including a burger and steak frites. On Sundays, hit up brunch at the hotel’s signature restaurant Ella on the ground level and then head to the roof for some afternoon open-air imbibing.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.

Bar Clara
Photo by Sierra Prescott, courtesy of Bar Clara

If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the once uber-hot Nomad Hotel housed in a historic grand bank building, well it’s thankfully came back to life as Hotel Per La. The property’s newly launched poolside bar and restaurant is still touting those city views along with Med-inspired fare like scallops on the half shell with orange-pistachio vinaigrette, tinned sardines, and a farmers market mezze plate. The drinks menu is playful, with a colorful collection of spritzes, including a purple version made of gin, blueberry, and lemon soda, plus refreshers like a blood orange marg.

Available for Reservations

The year-old indoor-outdoor concept at the longstanding Westside hotel is a perfect place to grab a summer sipper thanks to its pool-adjacent, palm tree-studded back patio. Drinks range from a classic mai tai to a Tropical Red Bull and tequila concoction, and there’s a super summery raw bar menu with daily oysters, salmon poke, and shrimp ceviche. Tunes are currently spinning on Friday nights and Saturday and Sunday afternoons, courtesy of resident DJ Miss Nina.

Available for Reservations

The shiny new Shay Hotel’s short-lived Celestina rooftop bar has been replaced by the breezier, all-day Canopy Club. The place is now oozing with tropical vibes, including palm print wallpaper, an open-air bar, and plenty of live greenery (along with views galore, of course). The cocktail menu is heavy on agave spirit-forward adult beverages, including the Oaxacan with mezcal, mole, and, habanero, and the tequila-based Horchata Painkiller, all of which you can get by the carafe as well. The all-day menu ranges from grilled artichokes to avocado toast to a smashburger.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.

Available for Reservations
Upstairs at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
Photo by Spencer Lowell, courtesy of Ace Hotel

Killer views abound from the rooftop pool, bar, and restaurant perched atop of the always-happening Ace. The bar stays open until 2 am on Friday and Saturday nights, when it also offers DJs and live music. The food menu skews Mexican, with housemade chips, salsa, and guacamole, ceviche, and four different taco plate options. Keep an eye on the calendar for special one-off events all summer.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.

Mr. C Beverly Hills
Photo courtesy of Mr. C Beverly Hills

Mr. C Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

This ultra-posh hotel’s teak poolside deck—dubbed the “Mr. C Yacht Club,” is a perfect place to grab a cool cocktail and bite before settling into one of the cushy couches, umbrella-covered tables, or fun-sized bar. If you want to make a day of it, you can buy a day pass to the pool, reserve a daybed, or rent a private shaded cabana that comes with seating for six, a flat-screen TV, two lounge chairs, and chilled waters and towels. And through the end of September, Mr. C is putting the funday in Sunday with rotating DJs playing at the pool from 12pm to 5pm. 
How to book: Walk-ins accepted for the restaurant and bar. Book day passes, daybeds, and cabanas on ResortPass.

Hotel Figuera Pool
Photo courtesy of Hotel Figueroa

The historic hotel’s open-air, dual-level bar and lounge (open Friday-Sunday) has been quietly concocting some of Downtown’s most stunning agave-based cocktails, along with Mexican-inspired fare like ceviche and seafood tacos for a while now. If you’re looking to take a dip and do some lounging, check out Hotel Fig’s coffin-shaped pool, replete with lounge chairs, daybeds, and cabanas that non-guests can reserve—along with outdoor yoga classes—for a fee.
How to book: Reserve a table online. Walk-ins welcome. Book a day pass via ResortPass.

For wildly creative cocktails, a fun scene, and Downtown views, hit up this colorful Miami import and restaurant (which once won Tales of the Cocktail’s best American hotel bar) on the mural-flanked rooftop pool deck. Get crazy with a PB&J Old Fashioned, featuring peanut butter fat-washed rye, guava cordial, and everything bagel bitters, or go for their twist on an Aperol spritz done with apricot puree and herbs de provence. If you’re feeling peckish, pair ‘em with an Albacore Tuna Tostada, Carne Asada Fries, or fish tacos.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.

Available for Reservations
Caravan Swim Club at Hotel June
Photo courtesy of The Ingalls

If you haven’t hit this stylish new hotel just a stone’s throw from LAX, this summer is the time to check it out. Have a drink—might we suggest Peace and Love, with pineapple rum, coconut water, and vanilla?—on the restaurant’s elevated deck overlooking the pool and order up something delish from the Baja California-inspired menu. Non-guests can get some pool time by buying a day pass to use a chaise lounge or daybed for the afternoon. 
How to book: Walk-ins welcome. Day passes available on ResortPass.

Available for Reservations
Tropicana Bar and Pool at The Roosevelt
Photo courtesy of The Roosevelt

When it comes to iconic SoCal pools, you can’t beat Hollywood Roosevelt, which is adorned with a groovy David Hockney mural. Try cocktails from the custom lineup, which includes a spicy G+T and a mango colada, and order eats off their extensive menu, with plenty of small bites like vegan potstickers and a Shrimp Tostada. Earlier this summer the property launched a calendar of summer experiences, including daytime DJs at the pool Friday through Sunday afternoons and Friday nights, plus Tuesday movie nights, with attire to match the movie encouraged. The hotel also set up a bohemian-style, open-air massage garden where you indulge in an outdoor treatment until 9 pm.
How to book:Call 323-466-7000 for reservations. Walk-ins welcome.

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
Photo courtesy of Fairmont Miramar

Sure you’ve been to the hotel’s hot spot The Bungalow, but for low-key daytime imbibing, try the tucked-away little bar surrounded by palms and a pool. It’s open until sunset, so you can take down a late afternoon frosé, a strawberry Aperol Spritz or a Deleon Platinum margarita. Hit up the venue for brunch when you can pair the cocktails with Brioche Donuts, Queso Fundido with vegan chorizo, or a loaded Breakfast Burrito. Then take a stroll on the beach, which happens to be just across the street.
How to book: Walk-ins welcome.

Dreamy just about sums things up here with a giant rooftop and poolside venue that takes up the entire tenth floor of the hotel and boasts 360-degree views of stunning surroundings from the Hollywood sign to the Downtown skyline. A scenester’s scene if there ever was one, you can book a daytime VIP cabana complete with TVs and a retractable canopy starting at $200 during the week and $300 on weeknights or, if you have plans to stay up late, get yourself a VIP table or cabana for the night shift starting at $1,000. Sure, it’s pricey, but haven’t you earned it?
How to book: Reserve VIP tables and cabanas online.

Lizbeth Scordo is a food and lifestyle writer who still doesn’t think it’s warm enough to swim yet, but will have a poolside cocktail. Follow her on Instagram.