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The LA Day Drinking Guide

PHOTO: Alicia Cho

Day drinking is one of the cornerstones that LA is built upon. And how could it not be? Anything below 65 degrees is basically The Day After Tomorrow. But just because a place serves mimosas and has a patio, doesn’t mean it’s deserving of your entire Saturday afternoon. Here are the 21 places that are.

The spots

7.8
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Cha Cha Chicken is a tiny Jamaican 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.

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Come Friday and Saturday night, Idle Hour is one of the most popular places to drink in the Valley. But if crowds and standing on your toes to get the bartender’s attention aren’t things you feel like dealing with, go during the day for a far more relaxed experience. Expect half the crowds, a big back patio with a giant bulldog statue smoking a pipe, and a Southern-ish brunch menu that’s exactly what your hangover needs. Get the Texas French toast.

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It’s hard to keep up with all the new rooftops downtown. We’ll make it easy for you - go to Nomad Rooftop. The sprawling space has a full restaurant and bar area, plenty of lounge chairs by the pool, and a big stone face that looks like it’s on loan from the Indiana Jones ride. But mostly, we love it here because the crowd is low-key and unaffected, the servers actually pay attention to you, and you can’t find better cocktails at a pool downtown. The tequila and poblano pepper-infused Dewin’ is our favorite drink.

Apotheke

Chinatown
1746 N Spring St
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Apotheke is an apothecary-themed cocktail bar in Chinatown, and while it’s definitely more of a night-time kind of place, the secret is to go on Sundays when they open around 2pm. That’s when you’ll get the big back patio all to yourself. We could probably do without the bartenders being in white lab coats, but there’s no denying that their medicine-themed cocktails taste a lot better than the Alka Seltzer you took this morning.

Highland Park Brewery has been one of our favorite breweries in LA for a while now, and their new location in Chinatown is the kind of space where you’ll want to sit and hang out all day. It’s located across the street from the LA State Historic Park, so their front patio feels downright serene, and the big industrial interior can handle any size group you roll in with. Their bar snacks menu is solid (get the cheese curds or tacos) for when the inevitable wave of hunger hits.

El Tejano

North Hollywood
11122 Magnolia Blvd.

Anyone who doesn’t like playing cornhole on a sunny afternoon is either lying to themselves or is A.I. and simply wasn’t programmed with this detail. El Tejano is a massive Texas-themed bar in North Hollywood, and while their Tex-Mex food leaves a lot to be desired, there are very few places in the Valley where we’d rather get a little rowdy on a Saturday afternoon. There are two different bars (one inside and one on the back patio), well-shaded areas to sit and relax, a beer pong table, and of course, some glorious corn hole.

Red Lion Tavern

Silver Lake
2366 Glendale Blvd
7.6
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If you want to day drink like a professional, you go to Red Lion. This German beer garden in Silver Lake is a classic. Come pay your respects on their back patio with multiple strings of beer (and probably, at some point, a sausage platter).

Photo: Jakob Laymane

Beer Belly

Koreatown
532 S Western Ave
7.3
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For as vast as Ktown’s drinking scene is, the neighborhood is lacking in the day-drinking department. But at least there’s Beer Belly, a tiny little spot along Western with a great front patio for drinking away a lazy Saturday afternoon. Don’t come here looking for a rowdy throwdown - this is where you go to drink great craft beer, eat some bar food, pet a bunch of dogs on the patio, and realize this is the life you want always.

Photo: Holly Liss
6.9
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Sunny Spot certainly doesn’t have the best brunch in Venice, and we certainly do not care. Because somehow this place rides the line between being calm and peaceful, but also always on the verge of complete mimosa mayhem. This is where you come with a few friends for a quick brunch and end up sitting around drinking for four hours until you have to Uber home and pick your car up tomorrow. Why? For $18, you get bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, and rum punch without a time cutoff. See you on Monday.

Photo: Alicia Cho

Mama Shelter

Hollywood
6500 Selma Ave
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Day drinking in Hollywood used to mean an afternoon of 2-for-1 shot specials at all those tourist bars with blow-up palm trees out front along Hollywood Blvd. Not anymore. Mama Shelter was among the first openings in Hollywood’s latest hotel boom, and while the entire boutique hotel itself is pretty cool, it’s that rooftop patio you need to focus on. Part bar, part restaurant, part place to sit on big comfy couch things and stare out over Hollywood, Mama Shelter can get a little hectic on the weekends, but if you’re playing hooky they’re open all day during the week as well.

Marix

West Hollywood
1108 N Flores St
6.4
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Marix’s Tex-Mex menu is entirely mediocre. Marix’s margaritas, however, are anything but. Come here any day of the week and you will find that excellent open-air patio completely packed and fully intent on getting a little wild. But what you’re really here for is the Happy Hour: every day of the week, from 3 to 7pm, all large margaritas are $6 and pitchers are $19. Stay safe.

Edendale

Silver Lake
2838 Rowena Ave
7.3
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There was a time when even the thought of going to Edendale on a weekend was met with immediate heartburn simply because of how long you knew you’d be waiting for a table. Luckily, those days are gone, and Edendale has turned into a fantastic neighborhood brunch spot with a front patio ideal for mimosa-ing your way through the weekend. The fire station-turned-restaurant still has a great, low-key atmosphere and food that’s always solid.

Photo: Benji Dell
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Block Party proves that if you give the people good beer and a good place to drink it in, they will come. This place is in the middle of 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 - with long wooden tables, cruiseship-sized bocce ball courts, and a retro hot dog stand. And if you’re not a hot dog person, you can order in any outside food you want. In which case, we’d need to have a talk.

Photo: Block Party / Facebook
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Santa Monica has no shortage of hotel rooftops overlooking the ocean, but the majority of them are simply not fun. Hotel Erwin is different. Come early enough in the day and you’ll experience great views, a fairly mellow atmosphere, and excellent Bloody Marys. Just know this place can become a bit of a bro-apocalypse as the night goes on.

Photo: Alicia Cho
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We could (and probably will, at some point soon) give you a whole guide to downtown breweries. But here we’ll just cut to the chase - go to Arts District Brewing. The beer is fine, but you’re here because the space is massive, there’s an entire row of skee ball in the back, and if you get hungry, they have a solid selection of chicken sandwiches, burgers, and the always important loaded tots. If you’re rolling deep this weekend and worried you won’t find a place that everybody will be happy with, A.D. Brewing is the answer to your problems.

To anyone who’s never done it, the idea of day drinking at The Abbey is questionable at best. But the secret is that daytime is actually the greatest time to drink at the most famous gay bar in LA. The scene can get wild later in the afternoon, but this is when the crowd is actually local, with far less to prove than the weekend warriors who descend upon the place at night.

Photo: Benji Dell
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Serving as The Roosevelt Hotel’s pool bar, Tropicana is the closest you’ll find inside LA city limits to a long weekend in Palm Springs. Here you’ll find cool people, strong drinks, and never-ending pool action in a setting that feels like a sexy 1960’s Burt Reynolds night soap. Warning - the cocktails can get pricey here.

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The dream is drinking all day and 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 pot guy sublets in Venice now. And that’s why The Whaler is so essential. The two-story bar right on the boardwalk has solid bar food, cheap drinks, and a fun crowd that doesn’t fear a slightly sloppy afternoon.

Photo: Alicia Cho

Resident

Arts District
428 S Hewitt St.
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Resident is one of those places that was seemingly built specifically for day drinking. The almost entirely-outdoors bar in the Arts District has a great patio that never gets too crowded, a bar inside an Airstream, and a food truck on the premise for when the munchies hit. Easily the best part is the water misters that delicately spray over all the tables when that summer heat really kicks in.

Tart

Beverly Grove
115 S Fairfax Ave
6.8
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Love it or hate it, there’s no denying Tart is still one of the best places to drink all day and not care how drunk you get even though you have an 8am meeting tomorrow. You’ll come for the food and probably enjoy it a little more than you thought, and then promptly clear your table for the parade of massive alcoholic bunch bowls that will send you into outer space. And by outer space, we mean the pool, which gets you 50% off your meal if you jump in with your clothes on.

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