LA's cocktail scene has reached a point where great drinks aren't surprising to find. Simply put, a trendy bar or restaurant simply cannot expect to have people ordering up unless the drinks reach a certain standard. That Manhattan or Negroni had better be stirred, and those furiously shaken drinks better poured into find glassware. Large-format ice cubes are the norm, not the exception. Of course, if drinks aren't your thing, there are also some fantastic new craft beer bars in town. Here now, presenting the hottest places in Los Angeles to enjoy great cocktails.Read More
Where to Drink Cocktails in Los Angeles, January 2015
These are the places you want to drink cocktails right now in the city of Angels. Stirred, shaken, served up.
Perhaps the strongest cocktail production from 1933, this gorgeously renovated space from Bobby Green takes the best of antiques and put them into a space very similar to something in New Orleans or perhaps Brooklyn's Maison Premiere. And the drinks range from artisanal spirits and old-school European aperitifs to American cocktail classics served in cute jars. Don't skip the patio either.
Melrose Umbrella Co
With cocktails by Zach Patterson and a helping hand from Julian Cox, this stunning lounge in the heart of Melrose feature antique design elements from Matt Winter. Using housemade syrups, tonics, and tinctures, the program is just as artisanal as the look itself.
With a stellar mezcal and tequila program, this expansive vegan Mexican eatery in West Hollywood shouldn't need a great cocktail menu. But it does, and the boozy horchata made with almond milk and mezcal, or the more refined La Ciudad, composed of tequila, dry vermouth, amaro, and orange bitters for a stirred drink that stands up to tortas.
Julian Cox and Josh Goldman have a place to call their own, right smack in Santa Monica. Though a little hidden from the main drag, the seaside saloon as a superb Peruvian-inspired menu from Paiche alum Richie Lopez, but the drink selection is why you're here. Try the fantastic cobbler for something extra approachable.
This diminutive new cocktail lounge evokes the golden era of mid-century bars, when ladies and gentlemen would sip on classic drinks. Barman Alex Strauss puts together a tight, and well-curated selection of creative cocktails that will be sure to be the ideal starting point, or finishing spot, right in the heart of Hollywood's Cahuenga corridor.
The Nice Guy
The h.wood group is going legit (sort of), with a wise-guy kind of eatery right in West Hollywood in the former Mezze space. Barman Brian Stewart makes some fancy drinks like the Smoking Gun, made with bourbon and vermouth in a Scotch-sprayed glass. Don't worry, the real gangsters aren't here, just the cool kids who can actually land a reservation to get in.
The Chestnut Club
Santa Monica really needed an adult place to grab a drink and have a great time without having to battle lists or wolf down some food. The Chestnut Club is the perfect answer, founded by Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix, who bring a top-notch bar program (and rather ridiculously awesome spirit list) to a grown-up lounge that feels right any time of the week. The excellent tunes certainly doesn't hurt either.
Ludo Lefebvre wasn't going to make some kick ass Parisian-style corner bistro without making sure you were going to sit around drinking just wine. He's signed on bartender Danielle Motor to create a classic collection of cocktails that will go perfectly with steak frites and omelettes.
This mezcal and tequila heavy bar has approachable drinks that won't want you grasping for a margarita.