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.
1. The Polo Lounge9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills
2. Hinoki & The Bird10 W Century Dr, Los Angeles
3. Perch448 S Hill, Los Angeles
4. The Lost Knight1538 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
5. Lakeside Cafe16817 Ventura Blvd, Encino
6. Golden Road Brewing5410 W San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles
7. Trails Cafe2333 Fern Dell Dr, Los Angeles
8. Good Times at Davey Wayne's1611 N El Centro Ave, Hollywood
9. Toe Bang3465 W 6th St #110, Los Angeles
10. E.P. & L.P.603 N LA Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood
11. The Attic3441 E Broadway, Long Beach
12. Big Bar1927 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles
13. Malibu Seafood25653 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
14. The Hotel Wilshire6317 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
15. Idle Hour4824 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood
16. The Bungalow101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
17. Edendale2838 Rowena Ave, Los Angeles
18. The Strand House117 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach
19. The Venice Whaler10 Washington Blvd, Venice
20. Palihouse8465 Holloway Dr, West Hollywood
Tucked away in the Beverly Hills Hotel, The Polo Lounge is an iconic restaurant in on Sunset Blvd. with Old Hollywood glitz and glamor. The elegant art-deco theme of the hotel carries through to the restaurant and its pink,floral-heavy patio. With over 75 years of service under its belt, The Polo Lounge remains at capacity on a daily basis, full of Hollywood hotshots and industry movers and shakers. You’re here to see and to be seen, but also to enjoy the classic American dishes that have aided in making the landmark restaurant what it is today.
At Hinoki & The Bird, executive chef Brandon Kida spotlights travel-inspired cuisine at this modern, Californian restaurant. Cosmopolitan dishes -- such as Japanese curry arancini, Jerusalem artichoke soup, and Scottish salmon -- create a global menu with healthful sensibilities.
This bar-centric restaurant from the Must guys is so laden with foliage and lounge chairs, it's like a rooftop version of Disney's Tiki Room; and if that's not enough to get you in there, Perch also has French grub like rabbit rillette with braised plums, candied kumquat & vanilla shallot marmalade; pork confit cassoulet with pork belly & cracklings; and the three-mini-club platter called "Duck, Duck, Goose."
Inspired by British pubs, The Lost Knight is an Echo Park favorite for tons of reasons: a rotating craft beer list that highlights US and UK brews, a live performance space popular with local bands, and an intimate, brick-lined rooftop patio. There's plenty of food, and the pub-style menu features fish and chips, burgers, and extra thick, hand-cut, twice-cooked fries topped with anything from cheddar and blue cheese to tikki masala and Sriracha honey glaze.
The Lakeside Cafe serves food free of antibiotics and hormones in a beautiful, natural setting. The water views while dining will make you forget about traffic for a while.
Golden Road is the perfect place for anyone who loves drinking while playing games, because they've got giant Jenga, ping pong, and more, plus tons of outdoor seats, and some of LA's best local beer that's brewed right there. Enjoy a pint with some of the venue's delectable globally-inspired pub fare.
This secluded lunch spot is nestled comfortably in the trees along one of the many Griffith Park trails. You can expect great sandwiches and tons of vegetarian options.
Straight out of The Brady Bunch set, this 70's living room-themed Hollywood bar is decked out with hammocks, an Airstream Trailer, and a DJ spinning Bee Gees-esque beats. It's hard to tell what's cooler: the epic secret entrance through a refrigerator door or the no-cover. Weekend nights usually draw the biggest lines, but Good Times is open on weekend afternoons, aka the perfect time to kick back on the patio and order up some Tex-Mex street food and craft cocktails.
Toe Bang is an outdoor restaurant serving Korean barbecue. Get the lunch special which will only cost you a cool $10.
It's a bit hard to discern which is which at this two-for-one West Hollywood spot. Downstairs is E.P., an Asian restaurant that combines Thai cooking with Chinese, Fijian, and Vietnamese elements. Meanwhile, L.P. is the upstairs patio bar serving up street food small bites and killer cocktails surrounded by stunning views of the Hollywood Hills.
If you're at this eatery for breakfast -- which you should be -- and in the mood for eggs, The Blue Bayou with blue crab, jack cheese, scallions and served with potatoes is the way to go. The former craftsman house dots the menu with New Orleans, Southern Creole foods to complement the full bar and customizable Bloody Mary.
Big Bar's actually, well, a tiny little bar attached to the massive outdoor patio at the Alcove Cafe. It has a European feel thanks to a room-length, extra-wide marble bar, antique-looking oak cabinets, and custom-made, metal chandeliers.
Malibu Seafood is a roadside seafood shack on the Pacific Coast Highway that's equal parts fish market and patio cafe. Order filets of Chilean sea bass and wild Alaskan salmon to-go, or sit at one of the picnic tables for a feast of clam chowder, deep-fried Fish & Fries, and grilled swordfish. Seafood is the sole focus here, but there is a grilled chicken sandwich (and sides like thick-cut fries, rice pilaf, and a baked potato) for the anti-pescatarians.
Hotel Wilshire's got a modern, cozy interior, and a fantastic rooftop with a pool and a dazzling view of the city.
Originally built as a tap room in 1941, Idle Hour has been refurbished and reopened into a shining example of what every bar shaped like a giant whiskey barrel should be. Cocktails on tap, a top-notch patio out back, and even a separate private party annex that's shaped like a giant, pipe-smoking bulldog (everything is shaped like something!!) take this Vineland drinking destination to the next level.
This sprawling, indoor/outdoor lounge at the Fairmont Santa Monica is rustic, bougie-in-a-good-way, and straight-up charming. The beautifully designed patio is decked out with lanterns and close enough to the beach (aka, right across the street) to catch the ocean breeze. Accouterments like a fire pit and ping pong table make The Bungalow a great place to start the night with a few happy hour drinks.
This bar, restaurant, and event space has a beautiful outdoor patio perfect for chilling in this hipster neighborhood. They serve dinner, late night, and brunch.
The Strand House is a Manhattan Beach-based eatery, drawing crowds of LA's affluent with four floors of patio dining, with a menu from the team behind Grace and Gjelina. The food is veggie- and seafood-centric, there are thin-crust pizzas, charcuterie plates, and protein-heavy entrees like spiced New Zealand lamb rack and prime beef filet that are perfectly complemented by fire-roasted baby root vegetables, a glass of Napa Valley Cabernet, and a stunning view of the sprawling beach down below.
A Venice landmark, this beachside spot has been serving up market-fresh dishes and high-quality craft cocktails since the '40s. Be sure to try the fish tacos, or split some of their small bites or an artisan pizza with your group -- a group you should also convince to join in the Whaler's Monday night karaoke. While you're there, you'll want to head up to the second-floor patio bar for some gorgeous ocean views, particularly at sunset.
Palihouse West Hollywood is a self-described "urban lodge" that falls somewhere between a boutique hotel and a luxury apartment building. The ritzy hotel near the Sunset Strip is meant for extended stays, but its rooftop cocktail lounge is open to anyone. The outdoor space is romantic but under-the-radar, so it's kind of the perfect place for a first date.