Los Angeles also has all sorts of great niche drinkeries for specific interests, so here are our picks for best happy hours, as well as best whiskey bar, best cocktail lounge, best champagne bar, best karaoke, and more.
See also: Top 10 Bars In Downtown L.A.
Best Happy Hour: Dominick's
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 intimate offering whose hallmarks include $4 "Littles" -- vodka or gin martinis, Manhattans, Champagne cocktails and Tequila Daisies -- all served straight up by engaging barkeeps and fashioned with brand spirits a notch or two above the usual well-drink swill. While diminutive in name, these cocktails are still shaken and poured generously, and they pack a decent punch. You can even order a large rice ball, or two large meatballs, or a plate of bruschetta with the cocktail, and the bar tab will be only about $8. It's a retro reimagining of happy hour, with a nostalgic price tag to boot. 8715 Beverly Blvd., W. Hlywd. (310) 652-2335, dominicksrestaurant.com. --Jeffrey Burbank
Best Whiskey Bar: Daily Pint
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 Uhde, a former plumber from Georgia, is the ultimate non-snob. He and owner Phil McGovern pride themselves on a list that offers something for everyone, from broke newbies to big-spending connoisseurs. Notable bottles include a standout 16-year Hirsch Reserve and a 1946 Macallan that'll run you $800 for an ounce. The Daily Pint also offers a tasting club, where members can try rare bottles and learn the basics of whiskey drinking. This is the place to get your whiskey in Los Angeles. 2310 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 450-7631, thedailypint.net. --JJ Strong
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 the jukebox-turned-karaoke machine. There's a full selection of bottled beer and cocktails, along with a more limited wine list. The dark lounge has a denlike feel -- there are seats for 40 -- and the dim lighting makes things especially cozy. The Dreams Café showcases live bands and stand-up comedy shows from time to time, so stop by and experience retro Hollywood. 5625 W. Sunset Blvd., Hlywd. (323)465-2233, dunesla.com/dining. --Roger Marten
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 Palm Tree L.A. And it's glorious. Inside are bright strobe lights, a friendly staff and an excellent drink selection -- everything you need to make yourself a rock star for the evening. Most rooms comfortably fit eight to 10 people, while the biggest can hold more than 30. The song-selection book is one of the deepest in the city, with 12-inch binders filled with hundreds of tracks in English, Korean and Japanese. So whether you're jonesing to channel your inner Axl Rose, Katy Perry or K-pop sensation, Palm Tree L.A. is the spot to kick out the jams. 3240 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown. (213) 381-3388, lsyid.com. --Daniel Kohn
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 Champagne. Pop also serves a wide range of food and desserts, including its soufflé du jour. There's happy hour nightly from 5 to 7 p.m., as well as other specials aimed at bubbly bargain hunters: Tuesday, for instance, is Industry Night (happy hour prices for locals), while select bottles are 20 percent off on Wednesdays. (For more specials, check the website.) The purple-and-mirrored interior puts everyone in a good light at night, and adds an, um, pop of fun during the day. 33 E. Union St., Pasadena. (626) 795-1295, popchampagnebar.com. --Lisa Horowitz
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 onto a place like Chaya Beverly Hills, located just off a ritzy stretch of Robertson but otherwise gloriously unpretentious. Don't get us wrong, this is Beverly Hills, all right -- the ambience is heavenly, with just the right, mellow conversational buzz, attentive service and lighting soft enough to make a Real Housewife look young again. But all night long, every night, the drinks are just $7 and the food menu is surprisingly affordable, with sushi rolls ranging from $6 to $8 and a host of generously sized bar "bites" from $5 to $12. (We recommend the avocado, lime and cilantro hummus -- yum.) The staff doesn't condescend, even if they know you're just visiting; they're as spot-on as the place itself. 8741 Alden Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 859-8833, thechaya.com. --Sarah Fenske
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 help you, nay, push you like you've never been pushed before. Other perks? The hands-down best jukebox in L.A. 1800 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz. (323) 665-0135. --Paul T. Bradley
See also: Top 10 Bars In Downtown L.A.
Like us on Facebook at LAWeeklyMusic.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!