There are dives, and then they are cocktail bars — beautiful rooms where conversation and merriment seem to blend like gin and Campari in a Negroni. These places shine just the right light, play beats in the background, and take care in overall aesthetics. Most of these bars can't get away with serving swill either — they have respectable cocktail programs put together by passionate bartenders who elevate the establishment to a cut above the average neighborhood bar. Below, Eater presents that best looking bars in which one can look great, too.
1) The Edison: The original showstopper of a bar and lounge, this massive underground extravaganza has so many nooks and crannies, as well as a sweeping view upon entry, that it's impossible not to be impressed by it.
2) The Varnish: This den of a cocktail bar happens to make the finest stirred and shaken drinks in the city. The Prohibition speakeasy feels alive and well here.
3) The Prince: The glam of the mid century clashes with the more modern Korean refinements brought to this elegant room in Koreatown. Still a used as a Hollywood film location from time to time, though there's Korean fried chicken on the menu now.
4) Bar Centro: Jose Andres' molecular-inspired drinks go well together with Philippe Starck's mish-mash, whimsical design at the SLS Hotel.
5) Skybar: Not always easy to gain entry, but this perch overlooking the rest of LA from the foothills of the Hollywood mountains makes for a great place to enjoy a cocktail.
6) Perch: This newcomer in Downtown quite literally has an aerie looming over Pershing Square. The open patio feels both fun and refined.
7) The Standard Downtown: The mod digs and appointments aren't the distraction here - it's mostly the excitable crowd from every strip of life that gathers for a jolly good time on the rooftop of this boutique hotel. Drinks are a bit more 'standard'-issue though.
8) Bar Marmont: A classic Hollywood hangout, with loud music and regal appointments all around, it's easy to forget the glam and get immersed in the great environs.
9) The Spare Room: With two bowling lanes somehow carved into this long lounge at the Roosevelt, The Spare Room's many lounge areas provide great people watching at this arresting space.
10) Bar Chloe: A bit more lowkey, which is ideal for Santa Monica, where drinks and conversation come by easily on comfy chairs and a charming room.
11) Sassafras: Taking the whole old-time Southern theme to its ideal, the weathered and old pieces at this Hollywood lounge has all the small details to delight the imbiber.
12) Oldfield's: A bit like the Varnish, but more open and brightly lit in comparison, Oldfield's gives Westsiders a proud place to drink excellent cocktails without having to drive to Hollywood or Downtown.
13) Seven Grand: One of the original major cocktail bars in L.A., the whiskey program and "man-cave" appointments at this Downtown spot veers on a little over-the-top on the weekends with the college crowd, but during the week, jazz bands and a more relaxed mood take over.
14) Broadway Bar: If Cruella DeVille had an ideal drinking den, it would be Broadway Bar, a bit like a feminine version of Seven Grand with sweeping views and varied sightlines all around.
15) Musso & Frank: The perfect place to get a strong, classic drink and feel like a character in Mad Men. In fact, Mad Men had one of their wrap parties here. The bartenders are effortlessly amazing.
16) Pour Vous: This Parisian-lounge newcomer has great drinks in a fun space that blasts modern, electronic tunes and features burlesque dancers on the weekend. Definitely worth visiting for those looking to get transported out of L.A.
17) The Association: This dark, sexy room feels a bit like NYC's Tribeca or London, but it's a great place to gather with friends and toast to the good life.
18) 1886: An unexpected success, this bar behind a restaurant in South Pasadena pits great drinks from creative bartenders in a room straight out of the Prohibition (or before it).
19) Bar Covell: This dimly lit wine bar makes it easy to strike up conversation or relax with friends, the wall-kitsch and swirl of glasses providing just the right visual stimulation.
20) Harvard & Stone: Rosie the Riveter would've loved a place like this to unwind, with loud rock bands and risque dancers putting on shows in the catwalks. Drinks at both the front and back R&D bar are probably better than any other lounge of this size.
21) WP24: The ultimate city view in LA, WP24's lounge leaves one breathless from the 24th floor of the Ritz Carlton hotel.
22) SHOREbar: With a clean, beach-club feel straight out of Cape Cod, SHOREbar makes great drinks in a relaxed, "locals bar" type feel just a few steps from the ocean.
23) Roger Room: There's a circus theme at this West Hollywood sliver of a bar that packs in revelers nightly, with colorful accents and tight-fitting booths along the wall. The cocktails are also some of the best in the city.
·All Cocktail Week 2012 Coverage [~ELA~]