The Best Places To Eat & Drink Near LA Live

All the best restaurants and bars within walking distance of LA Live and Arena.
The Best Places To Eat & Drink Near LA Live image

photo credit: Danny Thompson / Flickr

Say what you will about LA Live or the infamously rebranded Arena (you'll always be Staples Center in our hearts), but it might be the only place on Earth where you can watch four different pro sports teams, a Jaden Smith concert, a 4-D movie, and whatever it is that goes on at “Xbox Plaza.” Which is to say, there’s a good chance you will end up here for something. And while there are plenty of absolutely fine establishments on-site, sometimes you want something a little better than a chain restaurant. And for those times, we created this guide. Here are the best places to eat and drink when you’re around LA Live.


photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee


Downtown LA

$$$$Perfect For:Sports!
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Even before it opened downtown, 33 Taps was already one of our favorite sports bars in LA and now, conveniently, there’s a location just across the street from Crypto Arena. It’s the biggest one so far, with fifty TVs and a three-sided jumbotron (in case the fifty TVs weren’t enough screens). Surprisingly good bar food like banh mi fries and cauliflower "wings" get the job done. There’s also a separate arcade room with pinball if you don’t care about the game.

We can’t think of many better ways to pregame a big concert or sporting event than a visit to Level 8. This nightlife megaplex inside the Moxy includes multiple restaurant concepts, an outdoor pool deck, and a bar that doubles as a carousel. It’s Vegas-level silliness, but if that’s what you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed. For a full dinner situation, snag a table at Qué Bárbaro—a solid South American steakhouse with big, shareable plates—but if you just want to get a little pre-event buzz going, head to either Mr. Wanderlust or the carousel pool bar where no reservations are needed. 

photo credit: Jessie Clapp



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This splashy DTLA spot a block north of the Grammy Museum pairs creative riffs on Indian dishes with pulsating house music, delicious Bollywood-inspired cocktails, and lots of dangly chandeliers that wouldn’t be out of place in a Vegas casino. The fusion-y dishes come beautifully plated, but aren’t always as flavorful as they look—we prefer their take on classics, like butter chicken with big, tender pieces of dark meat and roasted lamb shank in salty nihari gravy. Oh, and please use this place as a meetup spot before and after any big events, because the drinks are excellent (order the Slumdog Millionaire gin & tonic).

The moment you walk into Pine & Crane, you'll feel a little better. Maybe it’s because of the high ceilings or the fact that you can feel the breeze from the patio traveling through the open-air dining room. Either way, it’s a pleasant place, and it’s great for when you want to eat an assortment of Taiwanese dishes before or after a big event. This place is also counter-service, so it’s pretty casual, and it doesn’t get too busy at night due to it being mostly known as a breakfast/brunch spot.

Located next door to The Novo, Fixin’s Soul Kitchen serves the best soul food in DTLA. The dining room feels like one big sports bar, but there’s also a side patio for anyone who prefers peace and quiet while eating deep-fried comfort food. Come to this massive corner restaurant for dishes like shrimp and grits, black-eyed peas, and pork chops smothered in roux brown gravy and pickled onions. Be sure to make a reservation for brunch if you don’t want to wait an hour or two for your table.

This bar on the corner of 11th and Hope is the ideal downtown pit stop and meeting point before heading to an event or game. Drinks are strong, service is quick, and there are sliders on the menu if you need them. While there is seating inside, it’s nice to claim a high-top on the corner patio and feel like an urban city person for a couple of rounds before walking over to the game or show. From the moment you close out your check, you’ll be at the gates of Crypto Arena in eight minutes flat.

photo credit: Mastro's Ocean Club

$$$$Perfect For:Special Occasions


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It would be difficult to dine at Mastro’s without spending at least $100 per person, but the glitzy downtown location is perfect for a pre-show splurge. They have a huge menu of premium cut steaks and seafood platters that could please just about anyone, and you can enjoy them in a grand ballroom right across the street from LA Live. Even if you don’t have a reservation, you can easily grab a table in the walk-in-only bar area right up front. And be sure to end your meal with a couple of bites of their infamously gooey butter cake.

This casual rooftop at The Wayfarer hotel isn’t the most glamorous terrace in DTLA, but it does work well for a last-minute group meal. Perched on the 24th floor, it's got skyline views, comfy booths, and a tiny pool that’s basically just for looks. Most people come here to drink tropical cocktails, and while we don’t usually follow the crowd, the bright-colored drinks here are quite good. We’re also fans of the solid all-day menu, which involves some small share plates, raw dishes, and a few entrees like a thick bacon cheeseburger and steak frites.

With locations everywhere from the Bahamas to Dubai, Katsuya has become the universal symbol of “see and be seen” sushi. But despite its somewhat smothering presence throughout LA, it's still a solid choice for sushi enthusiasts—especially if you’re looking for a nice, sit-down dinner just a few steps away from the Microsoft Theater. The massive restaurant has plenty of space for groups, but you should definitely book a reservation ahead of time for event nights.

Sonoritas, an upscale taqueria with DTLA and Sawtelle locations, does two things well: serve some of the best flour tortillas in town, then use them to wrap excellent burritos filled with things like grilled salmon, shrimp, and even grilled filet mignon if you’re feeling fancy. The tacos here are good, too, but not all are created equal. The Sonoran-style asada is best, just make sure to get them on the imported flour tortillas over the corn ones. If you’re here before an event, grab a table in their spacious dining room and sip a hibiscus margarita before heading across the street to LA Live.

Open since 1924, and probably serving USC’s hungry students for almost just as long, The Original Pantry Cafe is a DTLA landmark. While it’s no longer open 24/7, you can still eat here during breakfast and lunch most days of the week. It’s also very tiny, and the wait for a table can be long on Sunday mornings. The good news is, once you're finally inside, you'll eat diner food with just the right mix of salt, grease, and sugar to calm your nerves.

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