Two important facts you probably weren't aware of: 1) A crocodile can't stick its tongue out, and 2) December 21st is the longest night of the year (we're talking 15hrs of straight darkness), which also makes it the perfect chance to celebrate what should be the "Best Night of Your Life", assuming you spend it hitting the city's best Thrillist-approved happy hour spots, cocktail bars, and dives, 'til the sun pops back up. Check out our picks for LA's best party dinner spots below, and make sure to fully map out a perfect evening with our itinerary builder.
Roy Choi's Culver City spot's got amazing, approachable food (beer can-chicken FTW!), great drinks, and a picnic-feel that makes it perfect for groups to get down in. Downside: they don't take rezzies, but drinking that booze soothes the pain of a long weekend wait.
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RIGHTFRIKKINGTHERE on the Sunset Strip's this sorta-hidden gem, which is basically one enormous foliage-laden patio with killer cocktails and great food in the heart of party central.
C&O's a classic, casual Venice birthday party spot, and for good reason: the family-style pasta they serve is both good and inexpensive (is it life-changing? No. Is it wallet-emptying? Also, no!), and there're added bonuses: the Chianti on the table is on the kinda-honor system (they measure at the end of the meal to see how much you drank), the garlic bread knots are endless, and the staff sings "That's Amore" every hour for added party-heartiness.
When Suzanne Goin moved her award-winning restaurant down 3rd Street last year, she inherited two things that make it great for groups: an eye-bonering patio (score!) and a rentable upstairs private wine room that looks sorta like an Italian villa.
For a certain group of Angelenos (read: young and rich and kinda wreckless), Bagatelle's become the party spot, so if you're into DJs spinning house music while you attempt to pick up a model who's visiting from Milan and eating roast chicken at the same time, blammo, you win.
Another casual classic. Though we've linked to the Westside location above, all of the iterations of this Cuban cafe (also in the Valley, the South Bay, and Mid-City) offer killer, inexpensive food that's ethnic enough for the guy who insists on only eating food from weird places, but approachable enough for your friend who doesn't do that. Pro-tip: get the garlic pork and/or garlic chicken. And then some gum.
This Eastside standby (owned by the dude behind The Echo!) is an affordable Mexican taqueria with strong-as-hell margaritas, expertly grilled carne asada, and a staff that's friendly to the point of "Hey, why don't you sit with us and drink one of these strong-as-hell-margaritas!"
1. Eveleigh8752 W Sunset, Hollywood
2. A-Frame12565 Washington Blvd, Los Angeles
3. C&O Trattoria31 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey
4. AOC8700 W 3rd St, Los Angeles
5. Bagatelle755 N La Cienega, Los Angeles
6. Osteria Mozza6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
7. Versailles10319 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles
8. Malo4326 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
This rustic space has a reclaimed, wood-laden indoor/outdoor dining room with a communal table and sofa-like seating. Their outdoor patio is the real draw, where you'll feel as though you've entered a gorgeous garden party, surrounded by homegrown herbs and vegetables. From land (lamb meatballs) to sea (wild Pacific yellowtail), every dish on Eveleigh's delectable menu is market-fresh and crafted with care.
This Hawaiian Culver City eatery from the Roy Choi is an Asian-fusion collaboration in a totally refurbished IHOP, hopped up with a picnic-type patio and light wood-clad walls. Food's meant to be utensil-optional, with inventive dishes like green curry and a poké sampler including choices like tuna with gochujang sauce, sesame leaves & oil, cabbage, seaweed, and nori, as well as tuna with kukui nut chili pesto and Parmesan.
A block from the beach, C&O Trattoria is a beachside institution in Venice for classic Italian food. Not only are the portions huge, but the complimentary garlic rolls are something of a local legend. The heated outdoor patio is a must, as is the "Help Yourself" wine bar that operates on an honor system. One more thing: if sing-alongs to "That's Amore" aren't for you, then you might want to go elsewhere.
Mid-Wilshire's A.O.C. is an intimately styled wine bar, with one of the city’s greatest patios, serving world-class Mediterranean small plates and a solid wine list. With wines from all over the world and a cozy and romantic atmosphere, A.O.C. is a great place to bring a first date that you are really looking to impress.
The epic, East-Coast-infamous brunch is the move at this La Cienega French-inspired resto.
Mozza boasts a large, entree-laden menu with delicious grub and zesty libations.
Versailles' Cuban flair is enough to keep you happy and fulfilled, as is their garlic chicken and their sweet, sweet plantains.