Best Of Bars & Clubs
Best Bar That Doubles as a Liquor Store
With a punk rock–filled jukebox, a photo booth and vintage arcade games like Ms. Pac-Man, this downtown dive bar may well be one of the best in Los Angeles. But what makes the Golden Gopher truly remarkable is its special liquor license, which was grandfathered in from 1905 and still...
Best Bar for Day Drinking
The Drawing Room
The Drawing Room is easily the best bar in Los Feliz, and an impeccable spot for drinking on the clock. If you've ever been inside, you know what we're talking about: When you're here, you'll linger. You'll commit to a goal, and that goal is getting soused. The staff will...
Best Santa Monica Bar
There is no shortage of chandeliers, taxidermied wildlife and comfortable lounge spots from which to view a Turner Classic Movie at Basement Tavern, an intimate, subterranean bar below Main Street's The Victorian event space. A selective list of craft beer and cocktails, written colorfully on a chalkboard-painted wall, is improved...
Best Little Tokyo Bar
Three hundred whiskies and 100 beers, 40 of them Japanese craft brews. Spirits and cocktails, sakes and wines. Asian-inspired foods such as Kobe beef hot dogs and wasabi fries. All this, inside an 1896 building adorned with a two-story-tall sign that declares "CHOP SUEY" in red neon. Far Bar, the...
Best Silver Lake Bar
Cha Cha Lounge
If you're saying, "But I went on a Friday and it was full of girls/guys who wouldn't talk to me," or "I had to wait in line, so it sucks," then you're going to Cha Cha Lounge on the wrong nights (or you're just not that cool). During the week,...
Best Jazz Club
The Baked Potato
In decades past, jazz fanatic Clint Eastwood hung at Studio City jazz spot the Baked Potato. Oh, and Police guitarist Andy Summers gigged there following the supergroup’s breakup, Slash played in jam sessions there after Guns N’ Roses, and in recent years Joe Bonamassa has slipped in for sets before...
Best Country Venue
Echo Country Outpost
Whether it's a hillbilly hootenanny, a hick happenin' or just a plain old sweaty throwdown, the Echo Country Outpost has been putting together the most uniquely countrified events in Los Angeles for the past few years. They've had all kinds of Nashville rejects, punked-up shit-kickers, even Kim Deal doing quiet...
Best High-End Happy Hour
Chaya Beverly Hills
You only think you want to drink in Beverly Hills. Other than a few stylish exceptions, we've all too often found the place crawling with old people, nouveau riche tourists and women only too happy to show off the work they've had done. So it's a rare treat to stumble...
Best Gay Bar
When nightlife superpower SBE became involved with the Abbey, some wondered if it would get too swankified or "straightened" out. But with its heightened profile, the WeHo restaurant, nightclub and bar remains an advocate for gay causes, all while offering giddy times and great food. Menu items like the "Chik-for-Gay"...
Best Blues and BBQ
Big Mama's Rib Shack
The word "shack" in Big Mama's Rib Shack is a misnomer; this is more like Big Mama's living room, and she has an endless supply of hospitality to match. This blues spot, a Las Vegas refugee, became the last outpost of a 50-plus-year-old institution a few years ago. But what...
Best Whiskey Bar
Last year's winner of Best Beer Bar, the Daily Pint deserves another mention for its impressive whiskey selection. The watering hole offers more than 300 Scottish single malts (billed as "the largest and rarest selection of single malts west of the Mississippi") and bottles from nine different countries. Curator Chris...
Best South Bay Bar
There are tons of South Bay bars but few that offer the perfect "rock & roll–meets–biker dude–meets Jack Kerouac wannabe" experience. Gasser Lounge has a laid-back environment, classic vinyl records on the walls and a fully stocked bar. For Los Angeles Kings fans, it's heaven: The bar shows Kings games...
Best Echo Park Bar
Seeing that it's walking distance from the stadium, the best place to be before or after a Dodgers game is the Gold Room with a shot of tequila in your hand. And you won't have to sell your soul to enjoy that devil's water; a shot-and-a-beer combo is an unmatched...
Best Blues Party
Pete Anderson's Club 652@Burbank Moose Lodge Mondays
Pete Anderson's Club 652@Burbank Moose Lodge Mondays goes down weekly at 8 p.m. (except when Pete's on tour) and runs as precisely as a Swiss clock. The acclaimed, Detroit-born guitarist and his always–first rate combo provide a luxurious, rich mess of all original blues. The music is exhilarating in its...
Best Noir Bar
Stalwart watering hole HMS Bounty, located in the 1920s Gaylord apartment building, is also a restaurant, but its throwback saloon status is second to none. It features dark interiors, faux-nautical decor and tuck-and-roll booths with plaques informing you that the spot has played host to Winston Churchill, William Randolph Hearst...
Best Culver City Bar
Tucked in an alley behind the Bank of America on Culver Boulevard lies Seventy 7, a small, candlelit lounge that makes you feel as if you're in an underground club far, far away from these parts. The bar's trendy yet oddly seductive ambience makes all concept of time fly out...
Best Bar Behind a Bookcase
Sidebar at Covell
You know how people use “literally” when they mean “figuratively,” and how it pisses you off? If you also balk at the use of “speakeasy” when the speaker means “bar,” then Sidebar at Covell is the place for you. Because when you enter Covell, you walk to the back and...
Best Bar for Beer Tasting
38 Degrees Ale House
If you are overwhelmed by choices when confronted with a textbook-sized craft beer menu, whose tap handles are so vast in number that you suddenly feel nearsighted, the tasting pours at 38 Degrees Ale House in Alhambra are for you. All 38 draft selections are available in a 4.5-ounce pour,...
Best Gay-Themed Daytime Party
SummerTramp is self-described as "a magical Brigadoon of decadence and delight" and a "pansexual DTLA waterpark extravaganza" that requires its attendees to "get fucking skinny." And one trip to this summer day party proves all that to be so, so true. This isn't that classic water park from The Way,...
Best Strip Club
The Gold Diggers
Yes, The Gold Diggers is a dank, black cave with well drinks that will set your mouth on fire and a beer selection that is bested by 7-Eleven. It's also cash-only, and for a spell its sound system was a boom box. But hear us out: All your favorite dives...
Best Dance Club
Ten years ago, when Avalon Hollywood burst onto the scene, a bespoke nightclub engineered for the electronic dance music revolution was rare here. Now, of course, L.A. clubland has been overrun with EDM venues, and it's hard to think of a Hollywood club that doesn't book superstar EDM jocks. But...
Great Britain is so in right now — think the royal baby, Mumford & Sons and Duchess Kate’s always perfect blowouts. So why not a British-themed nightclub? Hooray Henry’s is the latest “it” spot from the guys behind Bootsy Bellows, who include John Terzian, Brian Toll, Markus Molinari and David...
Best Drag Club
Located below Casita del Campo restaurant in Silver Lake, Cavern Club is where you'll find dynamic drag shows that go beyond the usual lip syncs and laughs. It's a place for sequined sisters to shine. The basement space offers an intimate atmosphere and campy, mostly comic cabaret from the best...
Best Basement Dance Party
Del Monte Speakeasy
Located below the Townhouse in Venice, Del Monte Speakeasy is an intimate, burlesque-inspired bar and music venue that feels like a throwback to Prohibition days, when people went out, got loose and danced their asses off in dimly lit underground joints. Del Monte's musical programming is selected by Carlos Niño...
Best After-Hours Spot
A proposal to extend alcohol-selling hours past 2 a.m. was shot down this year, sadly. But L.A. is nonetheless moving toward a world-class club scene on the level of New York and Miami, and over the past year we've gained a few viable after-hours spots, Sound Nightclub chief among them...
Best San Fernando Valley Bar
Oyster House Saloon
The Oyster House Saloon's back patio is a very down-home, charming scene, dimly lit with Jameson-bottle lamps, as well as comfy benches enclosed within faux brick walls and open-sky beamed ceilings. Inside and out, the Studio City seafood spot has an eclectic mix of customers — including plenty of rock...
Best Koreatown Bar
Dwit Gol Mok
You may not stumble upon Dwit Gol Mok (DGM to the locals) easily, and that's by design. The behind-the-scenes bar technically is located on Wilshire Boulevard, but the entrance is around the corner, on Berendo, through a parking lot and an open courtyard, then up a few stairs. Inside you'll...
Best Cheap Craft Beer
Stone Brewery Company Store
It's more than a store but less than a bar. Conveniently located adjacent to the Del Mar station on the Gold Line, the Stone Brewery Company Store offers the opportunity to taste Stone and Arrogant Bastard beers in reasonably priced 2-, 4- or 8-ounce pours. Once you figure out which...
Best Pint by the Beach
Venice Ale House
Most beachside-bar real estate revolves around location in lieu of quality — a harrowing fact of life to the coastal craft beer lover. Where others have rested on the laurels of a nice locale, Venice Ale House unites a superb local beer selection with an ocean view. Plunk yourself onto...
Best Club for People Who Don't Like Clubs
What's not to like about long-running soul dance party Funky Sole? Held at the Echo on Saturday nights, it features a cute crowd there to dance, not pose or prance, as well as raw soul and funk, spun by some of the best vinyl DJs in town. They include Music...
Best Bar Games
Three pool tables. Two pinball machines. Darts. Foosball. Shuffleboard. Ms. Pac-Man. Galaga. Air hockey. Pop-a-Shot. Sports Harbour in Marina del Rey is like a rec center with a liquor license. (Or perhaps a Dave & Buster's without all the stuff that makes Dave & Buster's the worst.) When you're not...
Best West Hollywood Bar
The Roger Room
The Roger Room probably isn't what pops to mind when you think of a WeHo bar. There's no velvet rope, no half-dressed hotties, no hordes of beautiful people texting that they'd rather be somewhere else. Instead, it is nearly the perfect place to drink. Behind that barely marked doorway —...
Best Karaoke Bar
Palm Tree L.A
A menacing tower on Wilshire Boulevard might be one of the last places where most people would expect to party. But once you get past the burly security guards on the ground floor of this Koreatown spot, ascend nine stories and then pass another set of security guards, you'll find...
Best Venice Bar
Classic Venice dive Hinano Cafe was beloved by locals long before gentrification swept through the area. Just steps from the Venice Pier, the peak summer season is predictably busy, but it's more manageable during other seasons. A visit in the late afternoon — or, for that matter, early morning for...
Best Neighborhood Bar
Were you to blindfold a Midwesterner, fly him cross-country, and remove his blindfold to reveal St. Nick's, he likely would swear he was on his hometown block, at his neighborhood bar. And that's a good thing! California may have perfected healthy living, the farm-to-table restaurant and the yoga studio, but...
Best Cocktail Lounge
Dreams Café Hollywood
The '70s are back in full force at the hidden bar in the back of Dreams Café Hollywood, located at the Dunes Inn on Sunset Boulevard. There, you can take in vintage Coors and Bud Light beer signs, super-comfy leather lounge chairs, a big old TV and classic rock on...
Best Long Beach Bar
When it comes to a great, unpretentious spot in Long Beach, the Acapulco Inn can't be beat. Featuring not just cheap happy hour specials but also cool and random arcade games (prepare to meet your death, video deer) and two pool tables, the spot is spacious enough to offer some...
Best '80s Music Bar
New Wave Restaurant & Bar
Miss the days of Rubik's cubes, Donkey Kong and John Hughes movies? Yearn for the bygone era of Flock of Seagulls and Morrissey-esque solipsism? If you wish the '80s were permanently back, then welcome to New Wave Restaurant & Bar, which transports the hopelessly nostalgic back in time to the...
Best Dive Bar
OK, so Smog Cutter has been hipsterized a bit, what with all the karaoke and facial hair. But it's still the real deal, part of a circuit of area dive bars, including Gold Diggers and Monte Carlo, run by Thais. If you like your female bartenders mean and surly (the...
Best Blues Club
World Famous Barnyard
The aptly named World Famous Barnyard is about as low-down and lively a blues venue as you'll find anywhere in the nation. Featuring live blues, soul, old-school jazz and R&B, this bring-your-own-booze celebration situation happens every Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. at 97th and Main in South Central...
Best Miracle Mile Bar
For those days when you need a cultural excuse to day-drink, we present Stark Bar, geographically located between the antiquities and modern art exhibits at LACMA. Most museums give you the bare (but overpriced) minimum when it comes to food and drink, but here you'll get an expertly mixed cocktail...
Best Respite From the Grove
The bars at the Original Farmers Market
Everyone knows that feeling when you snap at the Grove. You just blew the rent at Nordstrom, and the slow-walking tourists begin to feel as if they're caging you in. You need a calm oasis, and a beer. Thankfully, the bars at the Original Farmers Market provide both. Hop onto...
Best Champagne Bar
Pop Champagne & Dessert Bar
Here's a reason to toast: Scientists say drinking three glasses of Champagne per week helps stave off brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. So head to Pop Champagne & Dessert Bar and start exploring its extensive menu of bubblies, ranging from $10-per-glass proseccos and frizzante to $450-per-bottle vintage...
Best Unintentionally Goonies-Themed Bar
Redwood Bar and Grill
There are so many reasons to love the shit out of the Redwood Bar and Grill — from the endless stream of nightly punk acts, to the whiskey-sodden dark wood, to the nearly perfect happy hour. But let's be honest, this place is pretty much the only Goonies-themed bar in...
Best Happy Hour
Restaurateurs Brandon Boudet and Warner Ebbink couldn't save Tom Bergin's, but they may have successfully rescued the happy hour at another of their champion warhorses, Dominick's, a Westside fixture and famously low-key celebrity hideout. Dom's has inaugurated the Five O'Clock Meeting, held 5 to 7 p.m. on weeknights. It's an...
Best Mosh Pit
When you see a great hardcore band there's always tons of energy, and this is particularly true at the Vex Arts performance space. The stuffy, sweaty room is home to the most raging slam dancing, stage-diving and dog piles in Los Angeles County. Legendary East L.A. precursor the Vex dated...
Best Wine Shop That's Also a Bar
Colorado Wine Company
A bright spot on an otherwise sleepy stretch of Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock, Colorado Wine Company has long stood out for its cheeky, unpretentious approach to the guzzling of the grape. (The annual white-trash wine tasting, which pairs things like tater tots and pinot noir, is always a sellout.)...