The LA Day Drinking Guide

The 18 best places to drink in LA while the sun is out.
The LA Day Drinking Guide image

photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee

The allure of day drinking is strong. For starters, it breaks up the monotony of the weekend (or weekday, go off). Secondly, you don't have to wait until it's completely dark outside to show off a cute outfit. Most importantly though, day drinking allows you to have fun but still be back home in pajamas sipping Sleepytime tea by 8pm. Here are LA's best spots to drink while the sun is out.


photo credit: Marie Buck

Benny Boy Brewing image

Benny Boy Brewing

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Equal parts brewery, cider house, and beer garden, Benny Boy is the perfect place to wear a crisp white tee and jeans and feel like the best version of your summer self. This Lincoln Heights spot does it all: there’s a giant patio filled with wooden benches and tree stumps that feels like a grown-up overnight camp, food pop-ups happen most nights, and, of course, the beer is flowing. Expect IPAs, ice-cold Mexican lagers, bold farmhouse ales brewed with basil, and more. The space is 21+, but infants in strollers or carriages are welcome.

photo credit: Tower Bar


West Hollywood

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastCelebrity SightingsDrinking Good CocktailsOutdoor/Patio SituationPeople WatchingSee And Be Seen

Spending an afternoon at Tower Bar sipping martinis and watching the celebrity-laden crowd slowly devolve into chaos is an LA rite of passage. Even on quiet days, this classic Sunset Strip spot still promises stressed-out managers sobbing in the corner, the Olsen twins sucking the youth out of anyone who gets too close, and every agent west of Century City throwing their burner phones into the pool out of pure spite and rage. End your power lunch with a  build-your-own sundae to sweeten the experience even more.

Topanga Canyon’s days of hippie communes and off-the-grid living are long gone, but there are still plenty of quirks—and fun shopping— to validate a day trip. Just be sure to swing by  Endless Color while you’re in the area. Part natural wine shop, part retro vinyl store, part pizza parlor, this funky, disco-ball adorned spot is a great place to post up in the middle of the day with a bottle of wine or two and some Neapolitan pies, pretending for a few hours that you live here and have to get back to your sensory deprivation chamber soon. 

Homage, a microbrewery in the middle of industrial Chinatown, is made for people who love beer but also maybe want to dance a little. There’s a pleasant patio out front where you might spot a few toddlers with their tattooed parents. But the real scene is inside the garage, which has a long bar counter, a spinning disco ball, and a DJ spinning vinyl records behind a monochromatic booth. Most people come here to sip housemade IPAs and snack on things like chicken wings and birria brisket tacos during the afternoon, but it’s worth noting that on weekend nights, the dance floor is packed past midnight.

Most people head to Weho’s Santa Monica Blvd. with the full intention of bar-hopping all day, but if you’re looking for a steady jumping-off point, go to Hi Tops. The high-school-themed space is big and open, with a sunny front patio ideal for standing around and waiting for that cute person to make the first move. The craft cocktails are also quite good, so instead of your usual $17 vodka soda, go for the mezcal-heavy Magic Hour, or The Claw, which is made with gin and cardamom bitters.

Located in the tree-filled courtyard of Loreto in Frogtown, this order-at-the-counter mariscos spot feels like you’re boozing it up in a designated pocket park. The daytime-only drinks menu includes margaritas, micheladas, milk punches, and housemade agua frescas that the bartender will happily add tequila to. The food menu is equally as good—think tostadas layered with yellowtail and tobiko mayo, calamari-topped guacamole, and the gooey, griddled Oaxacan cheese tacos. If you’re looking for some Sunday hangover relief, Za Za Za is the preferred medication. 

photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsDate Night


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When it comes to rooftop bars, Hollywood is in the midst of a renaissance. Of all the new options, Grandmaster Records is the best for drinking while the sun is out. The sprawling two-story restaurant on Cahuenga has a little bit of everything—a sleek dining room, an indoor cocktail bar, and a live music venue with its own dance floor—but the roof is where the daytime festivities happen. Open Saturdays and Sundays starting at noon, the large space has a wrap-around bar, plenty of shaded seating, and a solid cocktail menu with an entire section dedicated to spritzes.

If you want to drink with friends and maybe eat some food, but have zero desire to worry about reservations, head to Roadside Tacos. Located along Cahuenga Pass between Universal City and Studio City, the colorful taqueria is walk-in only and everyone orders drinks and food individually at the counter. There is seating inside, but the spacious, string-lit side patio is where you want to be. Here you can push together however many tables you need to fit your group, and whenever you finish your first margarita, you can just walk up to the separate outside bar to order your second.

Located inside a former car service station on La Brea, All Season Brewing’s cavernous space has both indoor and outdoor seating, a row of skeeball machines in the back, and a Chica’s Taco window for when you need to soak up some of the alcohol. Most people here are drinking beer (we love tropical Figure 8 Hazy DIPA), but there are tasty cocktails (including some on draft), and $1 pickle backs can be added to any shot.

If all bars were more like Resident, the world would be a better place—or at least an easier place to drink in. That might be high praise, but it doesn’t take long to understand what this Arts District bar gets right. For one, it’s almost entirely outdoors (there's an excellent live music/dance venue inside). Second, the outside bar is located in an Airstream and the cocktails and beer list are fantastic. Third and most importantly, the whole place feels like you’re hanging out in someone’s cool city backyard. The atmosphere is fun and laid back, and there are even water misters to keep you cool on scorching days.

Spoke Bicycle is part cafe, part bicycle repair shop, and the most Eastside place that’s ever existed. Nobody should come here expecting to rip shots and wild out on the dance floor. You come to Spoke to sit around with your friends and discuss that documentary on fracking you just watched, eat a fantastic veggie burger, and drink lots of wine and beer. Afterward, rent a bike and take a ride down the LA River bike path. We promise it's nicer than it sounds.

Big Dean’s has been in operation since the 1970s and is a flat-out Santa Monica institution. Situated right on the boardwalk below the pier, its touristy location might not inspire much confidence, but Big Dean’s always seems to attract a perfect mix of locals, out-of-towners, and laid-back people who just want to drink by the ocean all day. Try to snag a table on the back patio, and don’t leave without ordering one of the most underrated burgers on the Westside.

On Saturdays and Sundays, this rooftop bar at the Freehand Hotel becomes a full-on mob scene, but maybe that’s exactly the kind of afternoon you’re looking for. The colorful patio has strong cocktails, a solid snacks menu, and a great view of Downtown. You can only get in the pool if you’re staying at the hotel, but let’s be honest, your spray tan isn’t dry enough for that anyway.

Cha Cha Chicken is a tiny Caribbean jerk shack a block from the beach in Santa Monica. While it’s a great place for a quick post-beach lunch, it would be a huge mistake not to take advantage of their BYOB policy. Roll in with as much beer or wine as you’d like (no hard liquor), order some coconut fried chicken and dirty rice, and lounge around in their rainforest-like patio until the Sunday scaries take their toll.

If you want to day drink like a professional, you go to Red Lion. This German beer garden in Silver Lake is a classic, so come pay your respects on their kitschy back patio with multiple steins of beer and probably, at some point, a sausage platter.

Block Party is in the middle of all the action on Highland Park’s York Blvd., and while the front bar area is always a good time, you’re here for that massive back patio. There are long wooden tables ideal for any group, cruise-ship-sized shuffleboard courts, and tons of interesting house cocktails. There's no kitchen here, but you're allowed to order-in any outside food you want.

Serving as The Roosevelt Hotel’s pool bar, Tropicana is a pretty close approximation of a long weekend in Palm Springs. Here you’ll find well-dressed people, strong drinks, and never-ending pool action in a setting that feels like a sexy 1960s Burt Reynolds night soap. The cocktails can get pricey, but that's Hollywood, kid.

For some people in LA, day drinking means throwing cocktails back with friends and then getting a little weird on the beach. The harsh reality is there are very few places where you can actually accomplish that unless your old yoga teacher sublets in Venice now. And that’s why The Whaler is so essential. The two-story bar right on the boardwalk has solid food, cheap drinks, and a fun crowd that doesn’t fear a slightly sloppy afternoon.

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