Girls night out might get all the attention, but let’s not forget that guys night out is definitely a real thing as well. And just like the girl version, it can be a complete mess to plan. Anyone who thinks guys are somehow less picky than girls is leading a life of lies. There’s always that one guy who doesn’t understand what a shared plate is, Eric announced on the text thread earlier that he isn’t spending more than $30 tonight, and everyone else still looks at asparagus like they’re in kindergarten.
But not to fear, LA is filled with great spots to appease just about everybody in the group. We all dream about never-ending, whiskey-drenched nights of debauchery, but the reality is you’re just looking for a good spot to hang with the dudes and eat some great food. Here are the 15 best restaurants to get that accomplished.
Does Dan Tana’s have the best Italian food in LA? Of course not. That said, you simply aren’t going to find many spots more fun than this Weho classic. Located along Santa Monica Blvd., it’s a flat-out party seven days a week here, but the kind of party your crazy Italian uncle hosts where everybody gets too drunk on red wine and spills the family gossip. You and your friends are going to eat some caesar salad and some chicken parmagiana and at least five sides of spaghetti you didn’t realize you ordered. If you want a quintessential LA experience at a place that hasn’t missed a beat, Dan Tana’s is your spot.
When you’re trying to plan a big group guys dinner in LA, Korean BBQ is very likely going to be suggested. The issue is choosing among the many excellent options we have. So we’ll make it easy - go to Parks. This Ktown institution is slightly pricier than other spots, but you’re paying for quality meats, great service, and a party atmosphere that isn’t a total saki bomb mess either. Definitely get a reservation or be prepared to wait several hours.
Bar Ama is the DTLA oldie-but-goodie that shouldn’t be forgotten. In fact, this place is operating at a higher level than it ever has before. The modern Tex-Mex joint has excellent food - the queso and off-menu puffy tacos are musts - and better cocktails than you’ll find at most places in the area. But most importantly, this place is still packed every night with a great crowd and is ideally located to spend a night out on the town afterwards.
Attention: the English pub/restaurant you used to love to get drunk at is back. And though they no longer have their excellent courtyard on Sunset, the new space at Melrose and Highland is just as fun and casual and full of locals looking to get a little rowdy. The traditional pub menu has been upgraded, the beer and cocktails are strong, and there’s a great patio with lots of room for your group to hang out in all night.
You and the boys are looking to blow it out in style tonight. Head immediately to Chi Spacca. The meat-filled shangri-la at Melrose and Highland isn’t as big and splashy as some of the other steakhouses are town, but that’s exactly what makes it so special. If you’re looking for something truly insane, this is where you go. You’re going to start with the pate and selection of whatever cured meats they throw into your mouth to get your body prepared for what’s to come, and then end with the $90 tomahawk pork chop because this is your castle and everyone else is just visiting.
Craft beer, old-school video games, and Chinese food. If there are more appropriate pillars for a successful night out with the guys, we don’t know them. Button Mash in Echo Park might at first look like an above-average arcade bar, but the difference is in the food menu: dan dan noodles, ginger chicken wings, tofu balls, and one of the best burgers on the Eastside. Reservations are only made for groups of 10 or more, so definitely head over early to snag a table.
Even in all its cheesiness, El Compadre remains one of the best old-school California/Mexican restaurants in the city. The Hollywood location (there’s one in Echo Park too, but it’s lame) gets mobbed on the weekends, so try for a reservation during the week. And then just sit back, enjoy the mariachi band, go to town on your wet burrito, and drink flaming margaritas until you get too drunk to remember to text your girlfriend to tell her you’re crashing at Tim’s tonight.
Tar & Roses is one of those places that no matter what, you know everyone will walk away happy. It’s got a great, central Santa Monica location, a fantastic back patio, and reasonable prices for the area. And while it’s hard to go wrong with anything off their meat-based menu, our move for guys night is to head right to the family-style supper section. What says male bonding better than sharing a whole leg of goat or free-standing rack of ribs in public with your best friends?
Sometimes you just know in your heart nobody’s going out after dinner tonight. In which case, head straight to Bludso’s. This fantastic spot on La Brea not only has some of the best BBQ in town, but its big modern space is also ideal for rolling up with a big group whose head count has fluctuated all week. The Bludso’s Tray for $115 that easily feeds up to seven full-grown adult carnivores is actually an outrageous deal. Happy food coma.
You know that as long as the guys have enough beer to drink, they’ll be happy wherever you end up. Red Lion Tavern is a fantastic German beer garden in Silver Lake and one of the best places to drink outside in the entire city. But no matter how good those steins of beer taste going down, you’re going to need food at some point. Good news - their menu is actually very solid and you’re doing some serious damage to that sausage platter whether you know it yet or not.
Located somewhere between Ktown and the nearest onramp for the 10 Freeway, Guelaguetza might not be close to all the downtown bars you were group chatting about earlier. But find a way to make it happen, because this Oaxacan restaurant on Pico is completely worth the trip. The place is actually massive, with live mariachi music, a million different kinds of mezcal, and the best mole you’ll find in LA.
It’s exciting to imagine your guys night out as some wild throwdown that ends in a four-hour Uber to Vegas at 2am, but the reality is it’s just going to be you and your two closest friends eating until you get tired. When the group is small and you just want something great and reliable, Jon & Vinny’s is always the answer. The modern, affordable Italian restaurant on Fairfax has fantastic pizzas and pastas and any other Italian comfort food you could want.
As if being one of the best Thai restaurants in the city wasn’t already enough, the original West Hollywood location of Night+Market has another gift for you and your friends: beer towers. That’s right, wash down some crunchy rice salad and spicy chicken wings with a tower of Chang beer in a bright dining room that always seems about one spilled drink away from being a full-out party. The Sunset Strip is right outside for afterwards.
Four letters - BYOB. That beautiful acronym alone is enough to get even your most frugal friend off his ass and into public, but at Escuela, you can tell everybody they’re getting some pretty solid Mexican food too. The move at this neighborhood spot is the pork rib tacos, the shrimp tacos, and all the chips and guac the party can handle. Despite being a rather small place, the atmosphere is always festive and there’s a massive round table in the corner that seats up to 13 people.
There’s no lack of red meat outlets on this list, but we would be remiss to not include at least one traditional steakhouse. And while Beverly Hills and Weho are littered with high-end ones that Jeremy Piven is currently eating in, our move is always the LA staple Taylor’s. Located somewhere between downtown and Ktown, Taylor’s has been serving the same meat and potato dishes since the early 1950’s and all of it is fantastic. So go take over one of their large red booths, be served by a waiter who cares about you, and be thankful you decided against La Cienega tonight.