In the great tradition of the midnight countdown, L.A. has no shortage of ways to celebrate the end of the year, especially if you're looking to indulge heartily in beer, cocktails or a glass of bubbly. We've complied a list of some of the best options for those looking to get in their final drinks of 2012. For those with coinage to drop, options includes open bars, craft beers and hand-crafted cocktails. For those eyeing a somewhat cheaper buzz, check out out recommendations for wallet-friendly dives.
And, please, remember to drink responsibly — AAA offers a free tow home if you can't drive, while the L.A. Metro system (bus and rail) will run for free the entire night — no excuses for driving under the influence this year.
8. Sunny Spot
At Roy Choi's Caribbean-inflected a $50 ticket will get you all a VIP you-can-eat-and-drink ticket (a great selection of exotic cocktails at your disposal), access to a special Rum Room, and a set by DJ Backdraft. 822 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey; 310-448-8884.
If you don't mind getting a bit of a late start (open bar starts at 10:30 p.m.) you can enjoy all the Latin-inspired drinks you want at West L.A.'s Picca and Mo-Chica downtown, including a ripping good version of the classic Pisco Sour. A $40 ticket will get you full bar access, a DJ spinning some spicy beats, and optional bar bites from the kitchen of chef Ricardo Zarate. Mo-Chica: 514 W. 7th St., L.A.; 213-622-3744. Picca: 9575 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; 310-277-0133.
6. City Tavern
At this Culver City beer bar the party starts at 10 PM, when they'll have an all-you-can-drink beer garden with 22 draft beers (many from local brewers), selected beer bottles, wine and champagne included. Tickets are $58 with dinner tickets or $68 without dinner — a pag of party favors, a live DJ, and a champagne midnight toast are also included. 9739 Culver Blvd., Culver City; 310-838-9739.
At the former Venice pop-up, bartender Daniel Nelson is heading up the drink program, meaning you can sample re-imagined Southern creations like a champagne cocktails made with Peychaud's bitters and praline liquor. A $45 pre-order ticket will get you 2 hours of open bar (10 p.m.- midnight), otherwise tickets are $50 at the door. 1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; 310-392-2425.
Will this classic East Hollywood Tiki bar be packed to the gills on December 31st? Definitely. But if you come early enough to snag a barstool in the tiny space, you'll have access to cheap super-potent concoctions served in tropical glasses and one of the friendliest bar crowds in Los Angeles to keep you company. 4427 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Feliz; 323-669-9381.
3. Mandrake Bar
$5 beer-and-shot combos, and surprisingly tasty classic cocktails — including a sidecar, negroni, and mint julep — make this semi-hidden bar a cult favorite, with a young, hip, and friendly crowd to boot. Midnight celebrations include live music, and movies screened on a blank wall in the back room. 2692 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; 310-837-3297.
If cheap pitchers of beer and lots of hot wings sounds like a good way to wait for midnight, then Hollywood's Ye Rustic Inn might suit your style. On NYE, this popular sports bar turns into a lively spot to watch the Times Square ball drop with affordable drinks and walkable access to the Metro Red Line. 1831 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; 323-662-5757.
1. La Cuevita
This revamped dive bar in Highland Park is offering happy hour from 7 – 10 p.m. and $5 Buffalo Trace whiskey all night. Walk next door for some tacos then come back in time to sip another glass of tequila or mezcal before the clock strikes midnight. 5922 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park; 323-255-6871.
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