Bar Hopping in LA-LA Land: The Southland's Best Watering Holes

Angelenos love their drinks, as the recent rise in "mixologists" proves. For nowadays in Los Angeles, bartenders are not just bartenders – at least not in the chic and trendy places where people flock to see and be seen. No, there you are taken care of by a special mixologist, the person who has gone to the farmer's market to buy fresh ingredients (think mint for mojitos, blackberries to muddle while creating a top-shelf tequila cocktail) and then devotes the time and effort to build a cocktail to remember. There are the hot nightclub bars, where reserving a table, a single bottle of good vodka and some mixers can set you back $500; and the cool pool scenes at places like The Viceroy or The Roosevelt Hotel, where a cabana stocked with drinks will cost at least that much for an afternoon frolic. The choices are endless, from dive bars where people croon karaoke tunes to spots like the High Rooftop Lounge at the Hotel Erwin in Venice, where gorgeous views and a dazzling, multicolored sunset close out just about every day. Visit wine bars or brew pubs, or take the ultimate plunge and head to Beverly Hills, where you can choose unique experiences: go to the 10 Pound Bar at the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel, where a single dram of ultra top-shelf whisky can ding your credit card over $2000, or hit Nic's Beverly Hills, and climb into the frozen VodBox to try unique vodkas while shivering – and laughing with delight.

Messhall Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Messhall Kitchen


Looking for a great place to hang out in Los Feliz? Then Messhall Kitchen can't be beat. Located in the domed building that once housed The Brown Derby restaurant and later The Derby nightclub, the structure is now a protected Historical...  Read More

Augustine Wine Bar
Photo courtesy of Augustine Wine Bar


If a fascination with fine wine rules your life, then Augustine Wine Bar is your must-visit spot in Southern California. This San Fernando Valley hotspot is always packed with locals who love vino – and for good reason. For the Augustine's...  Read More

Barrel Down
Photo courtesy of Barrel Down photo by Marie Buck


Downtown L.A.'s newest beer hall really brings it, with over 40 craft beers on tap and one of the longest bars in town. That's a slate-topped expanse where hops lovers can belly right up; but never fear, Barrel Down also offers plenty of...  Read More

Nic's Beverly Hills
Photo courtesy of 10 Pound


Nic's Beverly Hills is a cool-cat spot on Canon Drive, just steps from the shops on Rodeo Drive. That's why the beautiful people seem to always be in here, sipping on one of Larry Nicola's luscious martinis and nibbling on his famous...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Firefly


You'll feel just a tad smarter as you down one of Firefly's craft cocktails while relaxing in this sophisticated watering hole's library-like setting. Velvet sofas welcome you in the main room that's chockablock with books, but the well-heeled...  Read More

10 Pound
Photo courtesy of £10 (10 Pound) at the Montage Hotel


At 10 Pound in the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, serious drinking is taking place. By that we mean imbibing by those with very deep pockets, at this intimate bar located high atop the hotel, where The Macallan whisky from Speyside, Scotland,...  Read More

Redondo Beach
Tony's on the Pier
Photo courtesy of Tony's on the Pier/Jessica Sherman


In business and family owned since 1952, Tony's on the Pier in Redondo Beach has been a landmark watering hole literally for generations. It's got incredible views of the ocean from the main floor and there's a wonderful vantage point from the...  Read More

The Bowery
Photo courtesy of The Bowery


The Bowery is a little bit of New York City in the heart of Hollywood (literally, it's located at Sunset and Vine), a tiny place that changed the mood of Los Angeles a decade ago. Acknowledged as the first bona fide gastropub in Los Angeles, the...  Read More

Next Door Lounge
Photo courtesy of Next Door Lounge


Next Door Lounge is a classic Hollywood speakeasy, hearkening back to the Roaring Twenties when booze was illegal and drinking was just a bit sinful. There's a doorman on duty, so whisper a secret password (don't worry, he'll tell you what it...  Read More

High Rooftop Lounge
Photo courtesy of High Rooftop Lounge


The High Rooftop Lounge in Venice's Hotel Erwin has the best L.A. city views you can find anywhere, hands down. Look one way and you see Catalina Island, the South Bay and LAX; look another and there's Santa Monica Pier, Malibu and the Getty...  Read More


Meet Jenny Peters

Jenny Peters – aka Jet Set Jen – is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist, editor and party columnist specializing in travel, entertainment, film, food, wine, fashion and the other good...  More About Jenny