The Best Bars In Downtown LA

The variety of DTLA bars is as eclectic as it gets. Here’s where to go.
The Best Bars In Downtown LA  image

photo credit: AAmp Studios

Downtown’s bar scene isn’t so much of a scene as it is a mishmash of places you’d never expect to find on the same block. We're talking breweries filled with retired hacky sack players, sceney rooftops you might overhear someone say, “Well, ever since I slept with Timothée Chalamet…," and divey pubs serving $6 tater tots to finance types waiting out rush hour traffic. This guide spans that entire spectrum. Here are the 16 places where you should be drinking in downtown LA.


photo credit: Nikko Duren


Downtown LA

$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good Cocktails
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As the name suggests, this basement bar below Seven Grand is vaguely Mexico City-themed. So expect a small room full of regulars drinking carajillos and aged mezcal while Mexican alt-rock blasts in the background. It’s a great birthday drinking spot, considering the huge pool table and arcade games, like Donkey Kong en Español. But the best part is that most drinks on the cocktail menu hover around $12, plus there’s a good Happy Hour. Come for a weeknight cocktail with a coworker who is almost your friend or a late-night drink after a show at The Regent.

photo credit: Peking Tavern

Maybe you’re familiar with the old Peking Tavern location: a sexy, nondescript DTLA basement that required you to walk down a random flight of stairs off Spring Street. Ooo, mysterious. Well, it’s now located on the ground floor of a Little Tokyo apartment complex. And while it's objectively not sexy to drink next to a leasing office, Peking Tavern remains a great place to go when you want cocktails and snacks under one roof. The drinks feature Chinese ingredients in clever ways, like a chrysanthemum-infused martini that glows the color of jade and a smooth, tart hibiscus punch with baijiu. Pair those with the chili-dusted popcorn chicken and crispy scallion beef rolls, and consider your night sorted.

There’s only one bar in DTLA where you can dance all night to bangers from ‘70s Milan, and it’s called Let’s Go! Disco. This over-the-top Arts District bar attached to De La Nonna looks like the club in Saturday Night Fever—imagine pink neon lights, multiple disco balls, and a packed dance floor. The after-work crowd starts to trickle in around 7pm, but the DJ doesn’t really get going until after 9pm. Come by early to sip a sesame-leaf-infused gin martini in a circular booth and work on your best John Travolta impression. In our experience, there tends to be a line to get in on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Stay in line and you'll be rewarded with a dance floor that’ll restore your faith in LA nightlife.

Similar to screaming babies and iPads, arcade games keep adults entertained for hours. EightyTwo in the Arts District has vintage pinball machines ranging from PacMan to lesser known classics like Ice Cold Beer (this one really gets drunk people going). The bar serves beer, wine, and cocktails, which you can drink on the spacious outdoor patio to avoid the sound of pinball reverberating through your skull.

With its poolside lounge chairs and plush benches under a galaxy of twinkle lights, Broken Shaker is exactly what you might picture when the words “Los Angeles rooftop bar” pop into your head. Located at the very top of the Freehand Hotel in Downtown LA, this is one of the few downtown spots with unobstructed views of the city skyline. And despite the hoards of people posing in front of the pool, this rooftop bar still manages to remain relatively low-key. It offers all the requisite things you need for a proper day at the pool, like strong drinks, fried food, and enough animal floaties to populate Noah’s Ark.

We’re always skeptical of cocktail bars expanding to LA from other cities, so we were wary when NYC-based Death & Co. opened in the Arts District. But the drinks are so good here, the transplant thing doesn't matter. This is a dark, upscale cocktail spot takes reservations ahead of time. If you're hoping to walk in, though, there’s a bar to get some warm-up drinks while you wait for your table. The menu is fairly giant, so talk to your server about what you like and they’ll point you in the right direction. 

The Wolves is a fancy cocktail bar where bartenders use fire, smoke, and spray bottles to make drinks. The wood-and-leather-covered space is dark and romantic, and they don’t allow any standing room, so expect to put your name down and wait if you come at a busier time. If you get excited about specialty cocktail menus involving milk clarification and date bourbon, make this your new spot. As for food, expect some very French dishes like escargot, pommes frites, and ratatouille on the menu for when you get hungry.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp



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Baar Baar is more of a restaurant than a bar, but you should come to this modern Indian spot for dressed-up cocktails that taste as good as they look (we can't say the same for all the food here, unfortunately). Sit at the shiny bar, order a plate of dahi puri, and sip creative Bollywood-inspired cocktails like the bright yellow Slumdog Millionaire with turmeric-infused gin, fizzy tonic, and tart passion fruit juice. We'd like to drink four of these on a beach.

Meet the best big group bar downtown. Rhythm Room is located in the basement of an office building at the corner of Spring and 6th, and has a massive space filled with activities to keep you and your friends entertained: pool tables, ping pong tables, shuffleboard, darts, board games, and a live jazz band. Also, there’s an entirely separate bar area with good cocktails and a crowd looking to mix things up.


Open since 2015, Precinct’s arrival in downtown signaled a few things. For one, it once again solidified DTLA as a legitimate gay nightlife destination. Secondly, it allowed us to put events like “Springtime Beef Ball” and “Bear Bust” into our Google calendars. Mostly though, it gave LA a place to dance and get a little weird. Precinct is so large, with so many different crowds, you can have whatever kind of night you came looking for. Want to catch a drag show? Post up all night on the patio? Debut your death drop on the dance floor? It’s all possible at Precinct.

Seven Grand has been open for over decade, essentially giving it landmark status in the downtown nightlife scene. But you’ll still be hard-pressed to find better whiskey drinks in the city. The massive space feels like a Canadian hunting lodge for billionaires (prepare for aggressive taxidermy). Check out Bar Jackalope in the back too. They specialize in Japanese whiskey and have a secret cigar patio ideal for drinking the night away.

Part bar, part restaurant, full outdoor patio greatness, ERB has quickly established itself as one of the more reliable places to grab a drink in the Arts District. There never seems to be a line, the cocktails are tremendous, and their laid-back patio is one of our favorite places to sit around and drink cocktails with friends. Get the burger and the biscuits while you’re here.

Resident’s entire setup is outdoor and the bar itself is an airstream, which makes it feel like you’re getting hammered at your cousin's house in Boulder (the cousin who’s still trying to figure it out, you know the one). The vibe is low-key, the drinks are good, there’s always a food truck, and the attached music venue has a great lineup.

If you already know about The Escondite, you probably don’t want anyone else to find out about it. Because this somewhat hidden bar on the Little Tokyo/AD border has everything going for it—live music, no cover, great crowds, good cocktails, solid bar food, and a little patio. Just don’t tell anyone.

Angel City Brewery isn’t brewing the best beer Downtown, but it definitely has the best space. Its massive taproom and attached brewery in the heart of the Arts District is spectacular, with tons of communal tables, corn hole, and a front patio where you’ll always find a food truck. They close at 2am on weekends, but Angel City will always be one of our favorite day drinking spots in town. Just get there early, because weekend lines here are no joke.

You’ve done the Angel City thing a few too many times and are looking for a change of scenery. Go to Arts District Brewing. There’s a massive bar, tons of open seating, and an entire wall dedicated to Skee-Ball.

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