Los Angeles, California.
To paraphrase the song lyric, California knows how to… make drinks.
Across Los Angeles, the city is benefiting from a golden era of masterful cocktail bars, each with its own signature spin on what it means to serve the best possible drinks.
Here’s a look at just a few of Los Angeles’s top drinking destinations.
A cocktail at Spare Room, Los Angeles.
The Spare Room
It’s not every bar that features high-end drinks alongside actual bowling lanes, but the Spare Room offers some of the city’s prettiest drinks in an intimate, wood-paneled room. Expect garnishes like edible glitter and confectionary stars but don’t let the playful touches fool you. Under the direction of Yael Vengroff, drinks are sophisticated and satisfying, such as the Dark Star, featuring Blackstrap rum, Cynar, sweet vermouth, strawberries and absinthe.
The Slipper Clutch, Los Angeles.
The Slipper Clutch
Punk rock vibes are hidden behind a door at the back of Bar Clacson in downtown L.A.
Linger over shots while eyeing slinky regulars in tight jeans and Vans play arcade games and listening to rock music. The ambiance is just one part of the draw, the bar features some of the city’s best bar deals. A glowing sign by the bar advertises $10 highballs and $5 shots (eat your heart out, New York), $1 chips, and $0.50 pinball games.
A wall behind the bar features handwritten lyrics to a Dead Kennedys song, which are too explicit to quote here, but real fans will recognize right away.
Harvard & Stone
The front room occasionally features live music and a laid-back crowd around a long bar in the center of the room.
Head to the small room in the very back, the so-called R&D Bar, where every single night, the bar has a brand new drinks list someone designed that very day. The ingredients are fresh, and the drink names are cheeky. One recent Seinfeld-inspired menu in June, by the very talented bar director Aaron Polsky offered the Acupuncture Class (reposado mezcal, tamarind, lemon and orange) and the Thin Layer of Gaberdine (whiskey, coffee amaro, amaro Abano, sweet vermouth).
Bibo Ergo Sum
Decadent drinks against an elegant backdrop. Bibo Ergo Sum, a sexy new bar in West Beverly, is a mix of classic style and contemporary tastes.
Among the city’s top choices for dates, the sexy bar features fittingly gorgeous drinks, such as the Carte Blanche, a clarified banana daiquiri, and the Palermo Blush, a bracing mix of gin, Campari, brandy and whipped orange and ginger.
Broken Shaker at the Freehand, Los Angeles.
Broken Shaker at the Freehand
What’s a visit to L.A. without a stop at a rooftop bar?
One of the busiest rooftops in the city, with good reason, is at Broken Shaker, on the roof of the Freehand hotel.
Open all day and into the night, this is a rooftop that transforms from a laid-back co-working space into a lively evening hangout. Crowds tumble in just at the post-work magic hour, in time for dramatic sunsets and gorgeous drinks.
Bar director Christine Wiseman and her team are getting well-deserved accolades for a menu that features a wide range of tropical-inflected, highly memorable drinks.