Being good at your job is only half the battle in LA. Getting out of your apartment, meeting people at bars, and schmoozing with co-workers you secretly loathe is the other (far more difficult) half. Also, sometimes (most of the time) you just need a really strong drink after work. And while plenty of bars offer fancy cocktails and cheap happy hours in this town, not all are great for working your way up the industry ladder. Here are the 12 best places to do just that.
Check out more ways to save your job (and your soul) in the rest of our LA Assistant’s Survival Guide here.
We can’t get behind Mexican food without real meat or cheese, but there’s no denying this very sceney and very vegan restaurant in West Hollywood is exactly where you want to be drinking after work. Why? For one, the cocktails are fantastic. The house margarita cures all misery and who doesn’t want a boozy popsicle when it’s 7pm and still 81 degrees out? But most importantly, the patio is one of the best in LA and large enough that you and that senior editor you’re trying to impress can have some peace and quiet amongst the blogger apocalypse.
Fat Dog is that place you go to when a girl you barely remember from high school messages you that she’s in the CAA mailroom this summer and wants to pick your brain. Its prime Fairfax location means it’s probably convenient for anyone you’re meeting, there’s free parking in the basement, and a daily 4pm-7pm happy hour that gets you $3 beer, $4 house wine, and $5 well drinks. Plus, it’s not some overwhelming scene that’ll trap you on a patio for three hours. Grab a drink, give your made-up advice, and get home to your couch as soon as possible.
Paley is the ground floor restaurant in the massive Columbia Square complex in Hollywood, and built entirely for people to work their way up the entertainment ladder. The space is large and attractive (in a Beverly Hills hotel restaurant kind of way) and the food is solid. But that’s irrelevant - you’re there because other people who are far more important than you are there. Also, their daily happy hour from 2:30-6pm with half-off all drinks is a shockingly great deal.
If you don’t know what Chateau Marmont is by now, you probably shouldn’t have bought that one-way ticket to LA in the first place. The landmark hotel on the Sunset Strip has pretty much been the epicenter of all things Hollywood networking since the 1920’s, and its restaurant is a full-on celebrity convention. The food is fine and the cocktails down at the bar are as expensive as the parking ticket you’re getting right now, but it doesn’t matter. That’s Amy Adams right there and that feels good.
Laurel Tavern opened as a casual neighborhood bar/restaurant on Ventura in Studio City and has quickly morphed into the de facto after-work drink spot for everyone who works in the Valley (so, most of the industry). This isn’t where you go with your boss to impress them with your restaurant-finding skills - this is where you go after a long day with your coworkers or for a meeting with that assistant from a competing network that you don’t want to end up lasting two hours. Get the burger.
Is this hidden spot on Fairfax entirely overpriced, fairly mediocre, and a production from start to finish? Yes. But it’s also full of somewhat important fashion/lifestyle/that sort of thing people and you didn’t move all the way from Indianapolis to hide in your bedroom. So get out there, jump into that scene, and be your best networking self on their excellent back patio.
At the end of the day, rooftops always impress. And when you need some place that gives you solid cocktails and a view that will keep the Co-Head of Casting happy at all times, EP&LP is your spot. The massive space along La Cienega can admittedly become a tornado of Euro-bros on weekends, but weeknights are far more calm (and you can actually get in). Drinks aren’t cheap here, but no one cares because the sun is setting and the smog is doing that thing where it turns the Hollywood hills purple for like 45 minutes. Don’t be tempted by the downstairs restaurant either, it’s middling at best.
Tower Bar is a West Hollywood classic, and where you take your boss every time she suspiciously asks to grab a drink with you after work. The 90-year-old restaurant and bar will no doubt be filled with intimidating, high-powered executives, but welcome to the real Hollywood. The cocktails are great and the bar snacks always do their job. We usually recommend the build-your-own ice cream sundae situation, but DO NOT EAT AN ICE CREAM SUNDAE IN FRONT OF YOUR BOSS.
Zinque is the most West Hollywood restaurant in West Hollywood. Come any night of the week and you’ll find a very pretty patio full of very pretty people not eating any of the food that’s in front of them. But if you use Zinque to drink some wine on a Wednesday and play successful mind games with a co-worker you know will be going for the same job as you in three months, then you’ll walk away happy enough. If you do get hungry, the Le Bowl salad is fine and doesn’t have any carbs in it. We promise.
It’s only Tuesday, but you’ve already hit a major wall. Round up the people in your department you hate the least and get to Idle Hour. The North Hollywood bar is one of the best in the Valley, with a casual atmosphere, great beer selection, and a cool crowd who appreciates the importance of getting a little drunk on a weeknight. Also, you’re literally drinking inside a gigantic wooden barrel.
Simmzy’s is great for after-work drinks simply because of how large it is. Also, it’s a five-minute drive from whatever major Burbank studio you’ve been slaving away in all day. The beach-themed restaurant/bar has a weekday happy hour from 4pm-7pm, surprisingly good food, and a laid-back atmosphere that you can actually unwind in.
Catcher In The Rye is one of those rare places you could take your boss for a quick dinner, your coworkers for happy hour drinks, or to have a weird meeting with your mom’s best friend’s son who’s in LA this summer and wants to pick your brain. This bar that looks like a library has excellently-named cocktails (“Tequila Mockingbird” deserves a Pulitzer), solid bar bites, and board games on the tables if you and your coworkers run out of things to bitch about.