LAGuide

Where To Eat By The Pool In LA

We’re breaking down LA's best options for poolside dining.

We have no clue how many pools currently exist in LA (probably a lot). But we do know how hard it can be to find a great poolside spot where you can sip mojitos, snack on fish tacos, and glare at strangers from behind a pair of mirrored sunglasses. That’s exactly why we made this guide. Whether you’re looking for a wild pool bar that hosts live DJs or a romantic date locale where no one is actually swimming, we've got exactly the scene you'll want to cool off with.

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THE SPOTS

This rooftop Mediterranean spot at the Santa Monica Proper Hotel has the confident swagger of Whitney Houston’s vocal coach. The pool chairs look like modern sculptures, the service staff wears linen uniforms, and the music is a refreshing mix of every genre under the sun. It’s the kind of stylish outdoor spot where you might share an elevator ride with Ryan Gosling, but surprisingly, the food and drinks are also pretty good. At dinner, you’ll find everything from baba ganoush and pita bread to lamb chops and a whole branzino. Plus on weekends, they serve rotating sushi options like spicy tuna rolls and yellowtail.

What happens when a members-only fitness club opens a rooftop restaurant? You get a place like Mother Tongue, serving an upscale menu of diet-friendly dishes for people who have built their personalities around working in Hollywood. Although the restaurant itself is open to the public during dinner service, other amenities like the gym, spa, and rooftop pool are kept exclusively for members. Fortunately, you can still see the glistening pool from Mother Tongue’s sprawling patio, which has its own lounge areas, a full bar, and plenty of pastel-colored booths that you can occupy with a small group. On a recent visit, we had an excellent plate of roasted duck, smoky muhammara, and a satisfying spirulina cavatelli covered in moringa pesto.

Cara is a buzzy hotel restaurant in Los Feliz where we can almost guarantee you’ll see several strangers posing poolside under the palm trees lining their photogenic courtyard. Waiting over an hour for a boring egg white frittata or some soggy pancakes during brunch here is normal. So we’d recommend coming for dinner, ordering a simple pasta and  a cocktail, and enjoying some prime people watching.

Upstairs at The Ace Hotel is one of the wildest nights you can have at a poolside restaurant in LA. During the day it’s mostly a cocktail bar where tech CEOs take meetings by the pool. But around 7pm on Fridays the place feels like you’ve stepped into a mega-mansion in the Hollywood Hills full of TikTok influencers. There’s usually a DJ spinning records in the corner, a few show-offs swimming in the pool, and several people who look like they just walked off a designer runway. If you’re not into that scene, stop by on a weeknight just before the sun sets and drink a martini poolside by yourself.

Sometimes, you just need a calm rooftop dinner spot downtown. Let us introduce you to Cabra. This Peruvian restaurant on top of the Hoxton hotel has several different seating areas where you can scoop ceviche and sip pisco sours with a date or a few friends. The pool is right in the middle of the action, but we’ve never seen anyone dip a single toe in it. But it’s still a great place to wear a blazer, sit near the edge of the water, and take in the great skyline views.

The pool at Broken Shaker is usually full of animal floaties, 24-year-olds wearing neon-colored swimwear, and the occasional dropped iPhone. If you’re looking for a fun place to day drink and swim with some friends who you won’t have to desperately beg to get in the water, make this your spot. It’s located on the rooftop of the Freehand hotel in DTLA, and they serve bar snacks like carne asada fries, fish tacos, and tuna tostadas all day long.

Issima is that lowkey West Hollywood restaurant you can always count on for a solid cocktail and some Mediterranean small plates by the pool. The buzzy back patio usually has a few tables reserved for walk-ins, but we recommend making a reservation ahead of time if you want to guarantee a poolside table. The pleasant, plant-covered space is intimate enough for dinner dates, and spacious enough for birthday groups, but it’s unclear whether anyone actually comes here to get wet.

In addition to an all-day restaurant set inside a greenhouse, the rooftop at The Line Hotel in Koreatown also has a resort-style pool. It’s lined with reclining lounge chairs and big umbrellas where you can order bar snacks and hear live DJ sets on weekends. The breakfast and lunch menus here have a solid mix of omelets, sandwiches, and bowls of granola-topped chia pudding. Most people simply come here for a scenic departure from the chaos that’s always happening down on Wilshire.

Will La Casita’s Mexican snacks blow your mind? Probably not. But you’re not here for that. You’re here because the sun is out, thus, your buns are out, and you're in need of a little refreshment. The scenic pool at Hotel Figueroa is on the ground floor, which means it can get a little noisy with downtown traffic, but there are plenty of beach chairs to spread out on, a DJ on certain weekends, and decent things to eat like sea bass ceviche and chicken tinga tacos. There are cocktails infused with strawberries, passionfruit, and something called "Garden of Eden" syrup. Bring a friend or two, a book you’ll likely never open, and lots of sunscreen. Open Friday through Sunday only. 

Tropicana at the Hollywood Roosevelt is arguably the most iconic pool bar in LA and the closest you’ll get to a weekend in Palm Springs without passing city limits. The massive pool area is surrounded by lush palm trees and private mid century-modern bungalows, making the place look like somewhere Burt Reynolds would have hung out in the 1960s. For cocktails, especially during the sweltering summer months, our go-to is the Spicy G+T with habanero bitters and elderflower tonic, but the bartenders will also make a mean martini if you ask. Which you should—there are few things better than sipping a strong drink with some crispy calamari while your feet dangle in the water. 

Canopy Club is the latest rooftop restaurant in Culver City that no one seems to know about yet. It's on the top floor of the same luxury apartment complex that houses Etta, and it's a great place to eat a shrimp cocktail while sunning in a reclining lounge chair without having to wait in a line first. Canopy Club offers poolside service all day long, but after the sun goes down, you'll find most people dropping in for cocktails and snacks at the bar. This open-air restaurant isn't where you go for a guaranteed scene (at least yet), but it's a fine option for a relatively quiet drink and some healthy-ish dinner bites like a fish sandwich or a grilled chicken bowl.

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