Nightlife in LA feels really weird at first when you get here. You have to think about parking, designated drivers, and that perfect moment between Uber surges. In New York, you take a train or hail a cab and drink to your hearts delight. But once you figure out the best way to hitch a ride, there’s a huge variety of bars to keep you happy all night long.
If you miss the fine cocktail culture of New York, you might want to try No Vacancy. A Hollywood speakeasy within an old Victorian home, you’ll get delicious drinks and something you’d never find in a cool New York bar... space. Yes, this speakeasy isn’t a walled up basement with a few leather chairs strewn around, this bar is in a roomy house with a full beautiful courtyard. The cocktails are delicious with a little more of an old Hollywood vibe than the Prohibition nature of NY speakeasies.
Maybe you’re more of a dive connoisseur. Well, LA might have the advantage on New York in this category. It’s hard to keep dives alive in NYC when nearly every building is being sold and turned into a luxury condo tower or a Chase bank. LA has the benefit of ample square footage, so you can find a decent dive in any neighborhood.
For an old school, no frills, dark (literally “Am I talking to a person or a coat rack?” dark) head to Los Feliz’s Ye Rustic Inn. It’s been open since 1971 and once inside, you’d think it was still 1971 except for the employees’ lack of bell bottoms. You can get beers and wings and they open at 9am on the weekends, in case you wanted to get an early start.
If you’re in the Valley, try Chimney Sweep in Sherman Oaks. Inside a strip mall, the bar has more of a "old aunt’s basement" feel rather than a dirty, dingy dive. With a fireplace and a simple bar menu, you'll enjoy the extra space LA's dives have to offer.
Los Angeles will never be New York and that’s what makes the city great. It’s a city at a different pace with way more space, but still has the little gems that make city visits exciting. So, find what you love from New York while embracing LA’s quirky charms. It should be easy with the constant sunshine.