Food & Drink

The Best Bars to Hit if You're Single in LA

LA is a weird place to date. The city is so gigantic that it’s hard to meet people in organic ways, and the fact that dating apps are terrible doesn’t really help. The good news is that we’ve got this cheat sheet full of great bars for meeting other single people, and making actual human interactions. The bad news is, you’ll have to do the whole “be charming and meet people” thing yourself. Regardless, all of these spots are set up with cozy booths, great vibes, and -- whether they're classy cocktail bars or dark dives -- an inexplicable atmosphere of sexiness that gives closing time a definite double meaning.

Club Tee Gee

Atwater Village

Recently renovated neighborhood staple with different moods on each side of the bar
It’s not often that a beloved 70+ year-old dive bar can get a major facelift without infuriating everybody, but Club Tee Gee has managed to do just that. The Short Stop team has helped to bring fresh new life and energy to the bar, and in doing so, they’ve created a terrific singles spot. This is thanks in no small part to the fact that they secured the space next door and turned it into a dance floor. Like The Virgil, you can enjoy the chill ambience of a booth on one side, or you can turn it up to 11 and dance yourself clean on the other.

The Bungalow

Santa Monica

Feel like you’re at a huge house party at the most bustling bar in SaMo
This beachfront staple maintains a buzzy vibe, steps away from the ocean. Always swarming with an influx of west side bros and ladies dressed to impress, it’s the perfect place to meet other singles, thanks to a multi-room setup that includes indoor & outdoor seating, and plenty of activities (like ping pong and seats by a fire pit). The lines to get in can be long, but turn that negative into a positive: if the person in front or behind you is someone you want to chat with, they're sort of held hostage with you for the duration. Then again, if you’re being chatted up by a total weirdo, said positive turns back into a negative pretty quickly.

Blind Barber

Highland Park

Not-so-secret speakeasy hidden behind a barbershop
Though the secret entrance thing is starting to become a bit overdone, it’s impossible not to enjoy yourself as you’re stepping through the back door of a barbershop and into a swanky, ‘70s-style watering hole. DJs will provide you with some fun tunes to dance with your new friend, and once you’ve found somebody, there’s no shortage of booths to plop down at and get to know each other better. Plus, with a barbershop in the front, you have no excuse to not be rocking your best ‘do.

Madame Siam


Moody, carnival-themed club that’s literally underground
From the secret entrance, to the jaw-dropping design, to the live music, Madame Siam strikes every one of the notes that has made the Houston brothers (the dudes behind Harvard & Stone, No Vacancy, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, and Break Room 86) the kings of LA nightlife. The dim, red lights cast a naturally sexy glow across the whole bar, and the magic performances and burlesque shows don’t hurt the mood either. Plus, the free (!) carnival games in the back are an unstoppable ice breaker; it’s always fun to challenge someone you’ve been eyeing up to a game of ring toss.

The Friend

Silver Lake

A lively bar that’s home to an always-packed dance floor
If you’ve ever been to The Friend on a weeknight, you’ve walked into the bright pink building and had to fight your way through a horde of makeouts just to get to the bar; a nice window into what your night has in store, right? Though the space itself isn’t actually that small, it can feel that way due to how many people pack themselves onto the dance floor. Grab yourself (and hopefully your new friend) some of The Friend’s $10 boilermakers, and let the DJs do the rest.

Seven Grand


DTLA staple with an extensive whiskey collection and lots of pool tables
There are plenty of intimate nooks and crannies in this beloved DTLA ode-to-whiskey, and the pool tables offer opportunities for some friendly competition with newfound friends. Seven Grand also hides the sorta-secret Japanese whiskey bar The Jackalope in the back, if you want to change locations without really changing locations.

The Short Stop

Echo Park

A pre (and post) Dodger game haunt that always fills the dance floor
This dimly lit Echo Park favorite has a dingy dance floor with vibrant music, meaning whatever happens on the dance floor hopefully won’t stay there for long. If you live life for a theme party, The Short Stop has your back -- practically every weekend they’ve got some sort of retro night. Be it soul, funk, or disco, you’ll have plenty of fun with your new fling on the dance floor. Need that last bastion of alone time before you’re swept away by the dark red make-out-right-now lighting? Hit the photo booth.

dirty laundry
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

Dirty Laundry


An underground, prohibition-themed speakeasy with a great whiskey list
Once called one of the sexiest bars in LA, it’s only natural Dirty Laundry makes the cut for the city’s best singles bars. Bartenders serve up infused spirits, equipped with housemade syrups and garnishes for young professionals looking for something fancy to sip on. Meanwhile, DJs provide both current and throwback tunes to keep single folk bumpin’ and grindin’ all night long. There’s also the even-more-hidden Valentino room, which offers its own private bar and plush seating for those looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of the typically cramped dance floor -- and y’know, get some alone time.

Good Times at Davey Wayne’s


A ‘70s-themed Hollywood hang with live music and a great patio
The name alone is the first sign you’ll enjoy yourself, and the totally decked-out '70s-themed ambiance helps make that anything-goes vibe a reality. Designed like a well-worn living room, Good Times exudes a casual, house party-like atmosphere thanks to its darkly lit hallways and comfy couches, as well as the dance floor busting out old-school hits. The back patio, which has another bar in case the main bar is too packed, is spacious and perfect for striking up conversation.

harvard and stone
Sarah Norris/Thrillist

Harvard & Stone

Thai Town

Live music and actually good DJs come together with inventive cocktails
This always-hopping two-story bar from the Houston brothers evokes the World War II era, with factory-like details and suspender-clad bartenders serving up an innovative, always-changing cocktail list. There’s a separate R&D bar in the back, too -- the perfect place to strike up conversation with a new "friend" before moving over to the main room to watch a band or, even better, a suggestive, sexy burlesque show.  

no vacancy
Jeff Miller/Thrillist

No Vacancy


‘20s brothel-themed bar with a huge patio and strong cocktail program
Allegedly a former bordello, this huge bar’s entrance -- which involves a bed, naturally -- provides an instant conversation starter with whomever you’ve been eyeing. Once you’re inside, the bar's got plenty more for you two to discuss, including live jazz music and burlesque performers on the weekends, as well as showcases from rock bands and the occasional tightrope-walker. Seriously.

Danielle Bernabe/Courtesy of Sassafras



Stunningly designed saloon with New Orleans vibes
This Southern-inspired saloon has a unique drink list, barrel-aged cocktails, and a drink wheel that you can spin if you’re not sure what to get. Spontaneous dancing to the bands playing on the overhanging balcony (which can range from swing, to blues, to brass, to basically anything else) is hard to avoid. The intimate, rustic fireplaces and wicker chair-laden setup on the front porch are also perfect for a quieter, getting-to-know-you-and-your-tonsils “conversation.”

The Well


Dim lights and red booths in a Hollywood dive
A longtime local favorite for singles thanks to low-key lighting, an excellent vodka selection, and spacious (dark) leather booths, which surround the elevated square bar in the center -- making scanning the room for other single people extra easy. The menu is packed with fun bites (like potstickers, tacos, and jalapeño mac & cheese), and we all know the real key to somebody’s heart is through their stomach. Plus, with the Palladium across the street, maybe you and your new friend can go catch a show.

The Woods


Woodsy decorations in a strip mall dive
This true neighborhood haunt attracts locals with its Friday social night -- a weekly promotion that through its "don't leave single" tagline ostensibly lays the groundwork for bar-goers looking to... err, find their soulmate. If that’s not enough, happy hour at The Woods lasts until 10pm every night, which means you’ve got no excuse not to buy a (cheap) drink for the cutie you’ve been eyeing -- or, if you happen to be said cutie, it means even more free drinks.

The Blind Donkey


A whiskey bar from the team behind The Surly Goat and Verdugo Bar
This low-key spot is a prime destination for Pasadena singles based on the right combination of mood lighting, feel-good tunes at a volume that’s conducive to conversation, and huge whiskey selection. Additionally, you and your date-ish-person can also loosen up over a game of chess, shuffleboard, or checkers.

The Virgil

East Hollywood

Pick your poison at a bar that’s half club, half mellow
Welcome to the Virgil, an East Hollywood madhouse for those looking to dance. It may seem like a hot mess on the weekends, because it is, but that just means a whole load of single people getting down on the dance floor. Featured DJs provide the tunes, which range from retro-funk to current electro-rock -- however, if you’re not up for meeting someone on the dance floor (or once you do) you can mosey over to the other side of the bar, which has ample seating, a mellower atmosphere, and no lack of dark corners.

4100 Bar

Silver Lake

A dimly lit local favorite that’s perfect for any occasion
By far one of our favorite bars in the city, 4100’s bangin’ jukebox, stiff drinks, and circular bar setup give singles all the right commodities to have enough liquid courage to talk to the hottie across the way. Who knows -- if things go really well, maybe you’ll get to pop into the photo booth for an intimate moment. If things go REALLY well, you can visit Rich on the BBQ outside for some for some incredibly tasty hot links.

Hinano Cafe


A classic Venice dive, with an elite LA burger
Though it’s probably most famous for being one of Jim Morrison’s favorite establishments (he once carved his initials into the bar) this beloved, beachside dive is also Venice’s favorite last-call bar, giving less-than-sober singles a perfect late-night spot to slurrily converse while grabbing one of the bar's delicious burgers -- which are some of the best burgers in LA, in fact. You can also get there early (as in, before last call) to take advantage of the pool tables and jukebox, as well as the occasional live bands on the weekend.

The Venice Whaler


Gastropubby vibes on the beach
A Venice staple since 1944, The Whaler remains an iconic boardwalk hangout. The ocean views, stiff drinks, and legendary fish tacos (praise be that chipotle crema) helped make it one of our favorite beachside bars in LA -- and the fact that there’s karaoke means meeting people is as easy as crooning “Moon River.” Close quarters and a pleasant patio help foster an atmosphere of intimacy as well, and the solid brunch menu means that if all goes according to plan, you can even go back for breakfast the next day.

Bar Lubitsch

West Hollywood

You’ll feel like you’re in Russia while you dance your face off
This multiple-roomed, Russian-themed lounge makes it possible to have various kinds of no-shame nights in the same place. starting with getting down in the dim, red-lit ambiance of the dancy Red Room before moving towards a more relaxed, boothy vibe in the up-front Bar Room. There's also a patio, and the bar as a whole has over 200 choices of vodka from around the world, allowing you and your new acquaintance to go on a little adventure without ever actually leaving WeHo.

Laurel Hardware

West Hollywood

A beautifully designed barstaurant hidden behind an old hardware store sign
This chic barstaurant’s got layers to its hookup scene: from the moment you walk into the inviting dining room, you feel like you’re being sized-up by the over-eager patrons up front. Heading towards the back, the wrap-around lines for the bathroom are perfect for striking up awkward conversation, and the back patio is the spot to hit once you’ve actually connected with someone. It doesn’t end there, either -- if things go particularly well, Laurel’s also one of WeHo’s favorite places to be for morning-after brunch.

Pearl’s Rooftop

West Hollywood

A relaxed West Hollywood rooftop with great food
This charming upscale bar-lounge rests on top of Rock & Reilly’s, and is one of our favorite Sunset strip hotspots as well as one of the city’s best rooftop bars, located in the heart of West Hollywood. It’s perfect for singles thanks to its romantic ambiance, which resembles that of an enchanted garden complete with an ivy-clad pergola, wicker chairs, and a fireplace that can get extra cozy on cold nights.

The Den on Sunset

West Hollywood

Always-packed, always-dancey Sunset Strip spot with themed events
The Den’s cozy beer garden, equipped with an elongated fireplace in the center, gives you year-round opportunity to make casual conversation. The bar also throws themed events regularly, with free food and discount cocktails aimed at getting people to know each other -- in other words, the perfect opportunity for single mingling.

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Wilder Shaw is a regular Thrillist contributor who has stories about some of these bars on his podcast “He Loves Me Not.” Check in on his taco intake on Instagram and Twitter.
Taylor Casey is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles who admittedly spends too much time (and money) at The Den. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @taylordcasey to find out when she'll be there next.