LA's Best Outdoor Spots, Sorted by Neighborhood
The best part about not living on the East Coast? Um, all the parts, but also specifically the one where it'll be 80 and sunny here for the next, like, 85 months while the other side of the country is groin deep in slush puddles. Bask in your extended, slush puddle-free summer by Instagramming the crap out of yourself eating and drinking outside, and use this to do it: a neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to the best place to eat and drink outdoors.
Polo Lounge (address and info)
It's tempting to buck tradition and go with a different recommendation for Beverly Hills (like the roof deck at the Peninsula, or the almost-in-Hollywood tree-lined patio at A.O.C.), but not THAT tempting, so we're gonna go with Polo Lounge. It's where your grandparents went to hunt down celebrities when they were in LA, and when you have visitors, it's where you'd do the same now; even if you didn't see Clooney (or even a Housewife) it's worth sitting under the trees for lunch, wallet be damned.
Hinoki and the Bird (address and info)
Not that there are many choices in Century City (unless you're counting the fire pits at Pink Taco, which we're not), but Hinoki's wood-lined outdoor patio is a stunner even without the competition. Also: get the table-smoked fish.
Perch (address and info)
Yes, there are plenty of other Downtown restaurants with also-incredible outdoor spaces and better food (Redbird, we're looking at you). And yes, there are plenty of Downtown bars with party-hearty reputations that also let the air sweep by your face. (The Standard and the Ace, we'd be looking at you, if we could just get past the velvet rope.) But Perch offers the most banging version of both via the top floors of a classic building, which sports jazz and short ribs on the bottom deck, and an organic garden and fresh drinks on the top, plus an insane, insane view from both.
The Lost Knight (address and info)
Pop into this brand-new British pub and then pop out on its secret upstairs patio -- a dark, intimate, brick-lined beer garden perfect for off-the-radar hookups and other last-call antics.
Lakeside Cafe (address and info)
The West Valley has a ton of great outdoor spots, but Lakeside is one of the only ones where you can eat... lakeside. Get it?
Golden Road Brewing (address and info)
They HATE when we say they're in Glendale, so let's put it this way: if you do live in Glendale, the very-extremely-definitely-close-by (but not *quite* in the city limits) pub/brewery/game patio is either one of your go-to spots, or you're doing something completely wrong.
Trails Cafe (address and info)
It's so easy to forget this rustic cafe even exists -- if you're not actually going into Griffith Park, you'd never actually see it. But that's kind of the point: it's got killer sandwiches (including tons of veggie options) to take on a hike, or sit with on one of its tables (or stumps).
Good Times at Davey Wayne's (address and info)
When The Cat & Fiddle closed last year, it was a major blow for heart-of-Hollywood day drinking, but its mantle has thankfully been picked up by an unlikely contender: the Houston Brothers' '70s-themed speakeasy, which has a patio with alcoholic snow cones and a line that can be interminable at night -- but is absolutely manageable when it opens at 5pm on weekdays and, blissfully, 2pm on weekends.
Toe Bang (address and info)
It may have the second-worst name of any restaurant in LA, but the sort of shanty-looking, basically all-outdoor Korean courtyard restaurant Toe Bang has a killer $10 lunch special, as well as a monster menu of traditional Korean dishes, all of which taste even better when you wash them down with a Hite. Or six.
E.P. and L.P. (address and info)
Though it's only opened in the past few months, the patio at this not-quite-Beverly-Hills-not-quite-Mid-Wilshire-what-the-hell-should-we-call-this-neighborhood barstaurant has become one of the most envied rooftop decks in the city, with nearly 360-degree views, as well as comfy banquettes and fire pits.
The Attic (address and info)
This recently renovated local favorite is an old Craftsman home that's been repurposed as one of Long Beach's most beloved restaurants -- complete with tons of outdoor seating, which obviously is taken up every weekend by slews of people drinking their superlative, slider-topped Bloody Marys.
Big Bar/Alcove (address and info)
About five years ago, when the beloved brunch spot Alcove Cafe opened a next-door mixology bar, it seemed like almost an afterthought; now, in retrospect, it looks genius, since Alcove already had a monstrous outdoor patio that was going basically unused into the evening, and now stays busy through the night. Los Feliz has a bunch of other contenders (Desert Rose is great for big groups; Best Fish Taco in Ensenada can make you feel like you've been transported to... uh, Ensenada, even amid its occasional comedy nights), but none as reliably great as this standby.
Malibu Seafood (address and info)
Gladstone's or Nobu may offer the best oceanside view, but there's something about waiting in line at Malibu Seafood, ordering the catch of the day (and the clam chowder -- you're definitely getting the clam chowder), sitting on one of its shanty, mural-riddled patios, and listening to the waves crash across PCH that trumps fancy presentation and seaside seating. Guess what. After lunch, just flip a bitch on the 1 and pull over. Boom: ocean. And you've got one of the most locally beloved meals in the city.
The Roof on Wilshire (address and info)
There aren't a ton of options in this stretch of the Wilshire corridor to eat and drink outside, and there are even less with a view -- but even if there were a bunch of choices, the Roof on Wilshire, with its amazing view of the hill, easy-access pool, and generally reliable next-level bar-food menu (from oft-spotted-on-TV-Chef Eric Greenspan) would likely be our pick.
Idle Hour (address and info)
A year or so ago, when this gastropub within a whiskey barrel opened, it was clear that its tree-lined patio was a winner. Now, though, it's also doing lunch, which means you can grab a burger and beer out there in the middle of the day, under the gaze of a gigantic smoking bulldog (!!) that's also available for private parties. Yes, seriously.
The Bungalow (address and info)
Is it sort of fratty, and kind of bougie, and a bit of a shitshow on the weekend? Duh. But The Bungalow at the Fairmont is also a beautifully designed indoor/outdoor space right by the water, with a ton of activities and games.
Edendale (address and info)
The safe bet for Silver Lake was Cliff's Edge, and for good reason: that restaurant's patio is a No. 1 stunner, bar none. But if you're local, it's likely you find yourself far more often at the beloved neighborhood hang Edendale, whose massive outdoor space is essentially the closest thing hipsterville has to a community center.
The Strand House (address and info)
It couldn't be closer to the party-centric atmosphere of some of Manhattan Beach (we're looking at you, Sharkeez), but The Strand House offers top-level food, classy ambience, and -- oh yeah -- two patios with ocean views. Boo ya.
Whaler (address and info)
So many Venice options, from Venice Ale House to Gjusta to Sidewalk Cafe, but the Whaler stands apart for much of the same reason Edendale does across town: if you're local and you're looking for your friends, chances are they're already there. Unless it's the very end of the night, and then they're at James' Beach. So, like, tie between the two?
Palihouse (address and info)
Sure, The Abbey has a hold on Boys Town, and there's no beating Eveleigh if you're on the strip, but bang-for-your-buck-wise, Palihouse is sort of WeHo's unheralded treasure: not only is the essentially all-outdoor restaurant great, but its rooftop drinking deck gets less attention than some of its peers, which means meeting someone there will give the rendezvous the feeling of a romantic secret rather than finding someone in an all-out meat market.
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