Finding a good drink in LA is easy; a great one is a bit harder to find. From bespoke libations made with market-fresh ingredients to the revival of the classic cocktail worthy of Don Draper, cocktail bars in L.A. are making undeniably incredible drinks. Whether you’re drinking in Culver City, DTLA or Santa Monica, there are exceptional spots to consume all across town. In no particular order, here are 20 of the best cocktail bars in LA to raise a glass.
Bonus: Drink recommendations added per location
1. The Spare Room
http://www.spareroomhollywood.com | 1700 Lamy Ln, Monroe
Inspired by an old-fashioned gaming parlor and lounge, the Spare Room at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel is a great place to visit with a crowd. The ambiance is laid back and festive, and all cocktails go for $16.
Drink to try: Highway to Bell – Aperol, Red Bull. Yellow Chartreuse, lemon, black pepper and sparkling wine.
2. Big Bar
https://www.alcovecafe.com/bigbar | 1927 Hillhurst Ave
Alcove Café’s new undertaking, this craft cocktail bar, is big on natural ingredients, homemade syrups and weird concoctions. With indoor and outdoor seating, this very fancy big bar is dim-lit and inviting. There’s a happy hour every evening, Monday to Friday.
Drink to try: Peace Tree Tea – Reposado tequila, dry gin, amaro, pine needle tea, porcini mushroom tincture.
3. The Normandie Club
https://www.thenormandieclub.com | 3612 W 6th St
Visit Koreatown to find this trendy craft cocktail bar in the Hotel Normandie. Classic and modern drinks come together with splendid presentations and attentive, personal service. This bar is community-driven and has a huge local fan base.
Drink to try: Bamboo Julep – Amontillado Sherry, vermouth, orange and angostura bitters.
https://www.geneverla.com | 3123 Beverly Blvd
At the heart of Filipinotown, this chic lounge is comfy but shines with a unique grandeur. Intimate and luxurious, Genever is already a classic. This is a women-owned and operated bar, and you can tell. Everything is perfect!
Drink to try: Star Me Kitten – Floraison gin, spiced red wine cordial, citrus, tonic, lavender bitters.
5. The Roger Room
http://www.therogerroom.com | 370 N La Cienega Blvd
You’ll find this retro-temple with a circus flair at La Cienega Boulevard, where nothing is what it seems; it’s better! Fun and unpretentious, the ambiance here is relaxed, but the cocktails are seriously good.
Drink to try: Everybody Loves Rose – Amass Gin, rosemary honey, kumquat liqueur, lemon and orange.
6. Broken Shaker
https://www.brokenshaker.com | 416 W 8th St
The mixologist team on this rooftop pool deck is la crème de la crème. These are some of the most creative bar professionals in the industry and elevate the bar’s cocktails menu to unforeseen heights.
Drink to try: Seaweed Papi – Roku gin, iichiko, kombu-infused Martini Bianco and yuzu bitters.
7. Death & Co.
https://www.deathandcompany.com/dcdtla | 818 East 3rd Street
There’s nothing grim about this obscure bar. The cocktails here are impressive but wait until you try the food! The authentic Death & Co. opened in NY a few years ago, but their LA bar is just as thrilling.
Drink to try: Tiger’s Jaw – El Tesoro Reposado Tequila, Linie Aquavit, garam masala, mango and lime.
8. Bar Flores
1542 Sunset Blvd
Bright and lively, Bar Flores’ patio is friendly and very Angeleno. A gem on Sunset Boulevard, this is your go-to bar for a margarita, one of the finest in LA, but there’s much more than Tequila drinks here.
Drink to try: Flores Old Fashioned – Knob Creek Rye, Flores’s house mole, bitters, orange oils.
9. Tonga Hut
http://tongahut.com/index.html | 12808 Victory Blvd.
254 N. Palm Canyon Dr
With locations in North Hollywood and Palm Springs, the Tonga Hut is a tribute to the colorful tiki cocktails of the 50s. Creativity is non-stop here, and the tropical decor is perfect for special occasions.
Drink to try: Nui Nui – Amber rum, orange juice, cinnamon and Don’s spice.
10. Tiki Ti
http://tiki-ti.com | 4427 W Sunset Blvd
Feel your feet buried in the warm sand on a beach somewhere. That’s the energy in Tiki Ti, one of LA’s most authentic Tiki bars. Opened in 1961, this bar is still going strong.
Drink to try: “151” Rum Swizzle – 151 rum, passion fruit, lime cinnamon and dark Jamaican rum.
11. Harvard & Stone
http://harvardandstone.com | 5221 Hollywood Blvd
This neighborhood bar in Thai Town, LA, offers an original cocktail menu every night. Weekends are all about live music and a burlesque show. Upscale and slick, Harvard & Stone is a unique experience.
Drink to try: Big Black Mirror – Avion Tequila, gin, chili pepper, Sichuan peppercorn, saffron and lime.
https://www.thunderboltla.com | 1263 W Temple St
Between Filipinotown and Echo Park, the American south inspires this handsome bar with a stylish, minimalistic decor that contrasts significantly with the colorful food coming from the small kitchen. The cocktails here are in a category of their own.
Drink to try: Liquid Picnic – London Dry Gin, citron, tomato, rosemary and black pepper.
https://www.littlefattyla.com/accomplice | 3811 Grand View Blvd
You’ll find Accomplice in Mar Vista neighborhood and complements the Chinese restaurant Little Fatty with colorful drinks of Asian inspiration. There’s a great selection of Japanese whiskey here as well!
Drink to try: Pulp Friction – Tequila, passion fruit, ancho, habanero, cinnamon, agave and lime.
14. The Abbey
https://www.theabbeyweho.com | 692 N Robertson Blvd
One of LA’s most famous gay-friendly cocktail bars is also a fantastic restaurant. You’ll find The Abbey at West Hollywood and often features exotic male dancers. Of course, you’re here for the drinks.
Drink to try: Peach Mojito – Bacardi Peach, lime, mint, syrup and sugar cane.
15. Employees Only
https://www.employeesonlyla.com | 7953 Santa Monica Blvd
The New York classic has taken West Hollywood by storm with great food and award-winning cocktails. With a high-end feel but a young crowd, Employees Only is more than your after-office dive bar. It’s a culinary adventure.
Drink to try: Amelia – Tito’s vodka, St. Germain, blackberries, lemon and mint.
16. Here and Now
300 S Santa Fe Ave
This beautiful, dim-lit bar in Santa Fe Avenue is stylish and has a timeless decor reminiscent of the speakeasy golden era. The cocktails are as modern and artsy as the bar itself!
Drink to try: Late at Night – East India Solera Sherry, Amontillado, chamomile soda and walnut.
17. The Dresden Restaurant & Lounge
https://www.thedresden.com | 1760 N. Vermont Ave
The family-owned bar and restaurant has been around since 1954 and offers a classic, long-tablecloth fine-dining experience and a show. Some cocktail recipes have remained unchanged since the 60s! The food’s incredible, too.
Drink to try: The Dresden’s Blood & Sand – Rum, house tropical mix and citrus.
18. The Varnish
https://www.thevarnishbar.com | 118 E 6th St
With one of the sexiest music shows in town supporting a new generation of local artists, the Varnish is an exciting experience. One of The Varnish’s highlights is the “Bartender’s Choice” that lets you enjoy a custom drink made just for you.
Drink to try: Bourbon Blunder – Bourbon, ginger, pineapple, lime and soda.
19. The Raymond 1886
http://www.theraymond.com | 1250 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena
Pasadena’s favorite craft cocktail bar, this historical bar, is named after the old Raymond Hotel, which shut down during the Great Depression. American cuisine and beautiful drinks guarantee a wonderful time.
Drink to try: Fall For Me – Bacardi 8, Camus Elegance, maple pear syrup and hot water.
20. The Mermaid
https://www.themermaidla.com | 428 E 2nd St
This fun, neighborhood diver bar at Little Tokyo is all about tropical flavors. Tiki drinks and other colorful libations match the exotic decor, and the service is top notch. The mermaid has weekly events, so don’t be a stranger.
Drink to try: Jolly Roger – Tequila Blanco, hibiscus syrup, lime, grapefruit.