25 Bars Where You Can Actually Meet People guide image


25 Bars Where You Can Actually Meet People

LA isn’t exactly the easiest city to meet new people. But these bars will help.

For as social a city as LA claims to be, you don’t exactly do a lot of socializing on a night out. Too many bars in town tend to be cliquey, loud, sectioned-off, and generally not conducive to talking to anyone other than who you showed up with.

But whether you’re single and ready to mingle, or simply sick of staring at your same friends every weekend, the art of actually meeting people in a bar is far from dead. From karaoke to line dancing to full-scale shuffleboard battles, LA has some great bars where you might actually be able to mix it up with some strangers. Here are the best places to make that happen.


The Let's Go! Disco And Cocktail Club review image

The Let's Go! Disco & Cocktail Club


710 E 4th Pl, Los Angeles
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Attached to De La Nonna in the Arts District, this colorful cocktail bar has all the ‘70s glamor and retro debauchery you could ever need. The space is adorned with circular booths, neon lighting, stucco arches, and of course, spinning disco balls. While the dancing really gets going after 9pm when the DJs start, head over earlier to beat the lines and experience a more low-key listening atmosphere. You’ll mingle with strangers, sip tremendous cocktails at the bar, and then ponder why it took you this long to get into Italian disco music.

Considering it’s LA’s first lesbian bar in about a decade, it’s no surprise that The Ruby Fruit already feels like a much-needed tentpole for the queer community. This tiny natural wine spot in Silver Lake is also the perfect place to meet someone new right now, since the stylish crowd spills out onto the sidewalk and even the parking lot most nights. The impromptu block party is full of couples, neighbors, bandmates, and everyone in between—all sipping chilled red wine like it’s tap water. If you manage to snag a seat at the wrap-around bar or one of the tables inside, be sure to take advantage of their excellent snack menu.

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photo credit: Jakob Layman

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Capri Club

Capri Club is in the middle of Eagle Rock Boulevard, a long stretch of NELA sprinkled with neighborhood hangouts for tattooed parents and their designer babies. If you consider old school vinyl shops your preferred dating locale, come here and strike up a conversation with the person wearing bootcut jeans sitting next to you. This perennially packed aperitivo bar only has a few small booths and patio tables, but if you stand around long enough, you’ll eventually find a spot to sip an espresso martini while making plans to meet up at Club Tee Gee around 1am.

Zebulon is first and foremost a music venue. But after the ticketed events at this Frogtown event space end, the giant bar opens up for late-night DJ sets and lots of dancing. Weekend parties here usually go from about 10pm to 2am, and the crowd is mostly made up of 20-somethings who probably don’t know who Molly Ringwald is. Zebulon is the kind of massive, crowded spot where you and a group of friends can go for a guaranteed scene, without going to a full-on nightclub. In addition to fairly-priced well drinks and draft beer from local brewers, you can grab pizza and french fries at the bar before the kitchen closes at 11pm.

Benny Boy’s patio is filled with long wooden benches, umbrellas, and several different fire pits—basically the necessary components for striking up conversation with strangers. The Lincoln Heights spot is equal parts brewery, cider house, and neighborhood beer garden, but really just feels like a grown-up overnight camp. The dry-style ciders brewed on site are flavorful and crisp, and beers range from red ales to IPAs to high-ABV Belgian blondes. Be sure to keep a close eye on their weekly schedule as exciting food pop-ups and collaborations happen throughout the week. 

Alma’s is the kind of bar you walk into and immediately become the main character of a film noir set in the Pacific Northwest. The Virgil Village cider den is dark and moody with a tiny wrap-around bar and vintage wooden blinds that makes it feel like it’s drizzling outside. If your only knowledge of cider is that Strongbow you drank in 2013, then the menu is probably going to be overwhelming. Don’t stress—the knowledgeable bartenders will happily talk through various sections of the menu and let you sip and taste until you find something you love. In fact, even the patrons here want to talk about cider, so don’t be surprised if you’re juggling three different side conversations at once. 

On any given evening, you’re bound to make at least one new friend at El Cid. This Silver Lake restaurant and bar hosts live music shows, Flamenco performances, and dance parties almost every night of the week. Whether you come to see your favorite Canadian rock band or a drag performance you didn’t have to record on your DVR, chances are you’ll meet someone with a  common interest on the dance floor. If you’re not in the mood to party, El Cid’s hidden patio just off Sunset Blvd is a great place to sip cocktails, snack on tapas, and seduce a stranger with sultry eye contact.

Echo Park’s Bar Flores feels like a rowdy dive bar trapped in a trendy cocktail bar’s body. The second-floor space is tastefully covered in light wood and serves refreshing drinks, but the stereo blasts Bachata mixes and the packed room feels like a big party in a tiny apartment. The idyllic back patio is covered in potted plants and cascading flower bushes, but there’s still a chance someone at the table across from you might scream-sing a few lines from “Lucky” by Brittney Spears without warning.. If you’re feeling bold, claim a stool near the window overlooking Sunset Blvd and strike up a conversation with whoever glances in your direction.

Club Tee Gee is a fun bar in Eagle Rock where disco dance parties, comedy shows, karaoke nights, and live country bands collide. So the next time you want to get a little weird, this is exactly where you need to be. Most of the events are free, and the crowd is a mix of people who will actually dance under the spinning disco ball inside. Club Tee Gee can get very loud and super cramped on weekends, but thankfully they’ve got a covered patio in the back where you can get some air and cool off. The party won’t stop until 2am on any given night, and chances are, you’ll meet someone who’s hosting an afterparty at their apartment.

photo credit: Chloe Jayne Bell @chloejaynebell

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Power House

After going dark for a few years, this reopened iconic dive bar at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland remains unpretentious, kind of grimey, and still serves perfectly satisfactory well drinks. Despite its location, tourists never seem to find their way in, resulting in reasonable prices, bartenders who don’t hate you by default, and a crowd filled with locals who are always down to chit-chat. If you really want to make some quick friends, swing by after seeing a show at the Hollywood Bowl, when the whole place fills up with fellow concertgoers riding the same high as you. 

This candlelit speakeasy tucked behind a barbershop in Culver City is a good place to have an actual conversation with someone you find attractive. As the subtle R&B playlist hums in the background, you can whisper something sexy to the person sitting across from you in a red leather booth. Even on busy nights when guest DJs set the party off, Blind Barber still feels like a sophisticated party for people who have some concept of personal space. They’ve also got a bunch of Happy Hour specials that run Tuesday to Saturday, plus a menu of deluxe grilled cheese sandwiches for you to snack on until the party’s over.

Tramp Stamp Granny’s is a piano bar right in the middle of the Hollywood strip clubs and T-shirt shops, and there’s nowhere better to sing until you’re hoarse with a bunch of strangers. It gets rowdy here, but no one is face-planting on the bar. Instead, if the bartender likes your voice, she might hand you a microphone and pull you over said bar for a “No Scrubs” duet.

The sibling to Silver Lake’s The Friend, The Little Friend is a great Venice spot with a cool crowd, solid cocktails, and a shot-and-a-beer special for $10. On weekends, you’ll find DJs playing everything from funk to ’90s hip-hop to Ariana Grande—but no matter what’s on, the dance floor will be filled with people getting drunk and dancing with strangers. It gets crowded quickly, so get here early if you don’t want to wait in line.

This burlesque bar on Hollywood Blvd. is an LA institution and perhaps the only strip club in the country where waiting an hour to get in is time well spent. Once inside, you’ll find a mixed crowd from every walk of life, absurdly talented dancers, and a welcoming energy that simply can’t be replicated. Whatever your opinions are about strip clubs, toss them out. A night at Jumbo’s is special and one that always ends with several new friends. 

Harvard & Stone comes from the same family as Davey Wayne’s, No Vacancy, and Breakroom 86. But if visions of secret entrances and flapper girls twirling from the ceiling are flowing through your head right now, take a pause. Harvard & Stone is surprisingly low-key, and easy to get into. That said, it’s also fun as hell. Expect live music most nights of the week, late-night DJs, and a makeshift dance floor that gets rowdy in a hurry. The crowd is always cool, casual, good-looking, and definitely ready to mix it up.

Welcome to the golden boy of the Downtown gay scene. Precinct is a massive, warehouse-y bar in Bunker Hill and probably the most popular gay bar in the entire city right now. Though lines can get bad (especially on the big drag show nights), the crowd is far more laid-back than what you usually find in Weho. In short, people are here to party. Combine that with relatively cheap mixed drinks and great music and you’ll have some new friends in no time.

This Silver Lake beer garden is not only one of our favorite patios in the city, it’s one of the best places to sit down, have a couple of steins, and actually talk to the people sitting next to you. The Bavarian theme isn’t exactly what you’d call subtle, but it’s the right kind of environment for mixing it up with strangers.

A large chunk of LA gay bars have a well-deserved reputation for being expensive, tourist-clogged hell traps. Akbar is the antithesis of all of that. The Eastside gem is a place people go to grab a cheap drink and actually hear themselves talk. Monday night’s lip-syncing competition “Learn The Words, Bitch” is everything you’ve ever wanted.

Chinatown’s Melody Lounge is the best place to meet kind strangers (and chatty bartenders) wearing small beanies, high socks, and penny loafers. The space is somewhere between a dive bar and a sparse cocktail lounge, but someone is spinning vinyl records in the corner here every night of the week. Paper lanterns bathe the room in a sultry red glow while 20-somethings mingle at their bar stools, with cold beers in-hand. On weekends, expect to do a lot of dancing while a mix of tropical house, Latin trap, future beats, soul, funk (or whatever else the DJs feel like playing) thumps the walls.

Barbecues are an excellent place to meet people. But your Weho studio balcony can barely fit you and your cat, let alone a whole party. So use Resident in the Arts District as your personal outdoor barbecue—without the actual barbecue. You order drinks from an Airstream trailer, and then head into the back, where there are long benches to sit next to friendly, laid-back strangers at the fire pits. The attached music venue is a good place to dance with that person whose haircut you were skeptical of at first, but now you’re realizing is kinda cute.

Amidst a sea of dime-a-dozen bro bars, The Gas Lite stands as one of the only remaining spots in Santa Monica where people truly don’t give a sh*t. And the name of the game at this local dive bar is karaoke. And dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. When you factor in the cheap drinks and a crowd that definitely wants to get to know each other, you’ve got a great night on the Westside.

This bar in Venice is a much-needed addition to an area that oddly struggles with worthwhile places to grab a drink. Though the interior is pretty trendy, the overall atmosphere at The Lincoln is casual and friendly. There’s an excellent front patio with plenty of room to get the conversations flowing, and a waitstaff that always makes sure you have a drink in hand. Which, by the way, will be Top Gun-themed.

As a default, games bring people together. Add strong beer and some hot dogs, and you have a day party. Block Party in Highland Park is perfect for craft beer drinkers, but it’s that cruise ship-scale shuffleboard on the back patio that takes this Eastside spot to the next level. Everyone here is always having a good time, and you will be too.

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Harlowe Bar



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Harlowe is proof that all it really takes to fill up a bar with people under 30 is a place to dance and a playlist where Usher comes on every fifth song. This is an empty restaurant until 9:30 every night, but an hour later, there will be someone from The Bachelor making out with a UTA intern in the middle of the dance floor. It’s just the right level of messy: if you’re looking to meet someone, you’ll be able to, without having to go somewhere that leaves you with shoes so sticky that you just have to throw them out. Get here before 10pm if you don’t want to wait in line.

Part dance party and part karaoke bar, The Stache gets rowdy on weekends. This mustache-themed spot in Long Beach doesn't have a designated dance floor per se, but show up after midnight on a Saturday, and people will have created one between the tables. If that sounds like a lot, stop by midweek and you’ll find a more relaxed crowd there to play some board games, watch the Dodgers, and drink Moscow mules with housemade ginger beer. The same team runs the attached drunchies-friendly restaurant Sideburns, so you'll never be too far from a bacon cheeseburger, Chicago-style hot dog, or a plate of gooey poutine.

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