20 Bars Where You Can Meet People
For as social of a city as LA claims to be, nights out don't always feature much socializing. Bars tend to be cliquey, loud, sectioned-off, and generally not conducive to talking to anyone other than the people you already know. But if you choose the right places, you'll see there's a world of strangers waiting for you. Whether you’re single or simply sick of drinking beers at All Seasons with the same four friends every weekend, LA has some great drinking establishments where you might be able to mix it up with people who aren't yet familiar with your overused party tricks. (As well as places to line dance, do karaoke, or play shuffleboard with randos.) Here are the bars where you can make that happen.
All restaurants on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. Bars Where You Can Meet New People is presented by Bumble For Friends, a friendship app from Bumble that connects you with people nearby that share similar interests and friendship goals. Whether you’re new to an area or just looking to expand your social circle, Bumble For Friends is the easiest way to make new friends and find community. You can download the new Bumble For Friends app here.
This very good Brazilian steakhouse in Loz Feliz also works as a day-drinking spot or a late-night dive. Sure, you'll be doing a disservice to your stomach if you leave without eating pão de queijo or chicken heart skewers, but you can certainly come here just for a fun, caipirinha-sponsored night out. Hang at the bar by yourself and drink an excellent cachaça espresso martini or dance to a bossanova DJ set on a Wednesday. Either way, you'll be in an open-air room full of people ready to pretend they care about your photography project.
If you're ready to try and date like it's 1995 and the word "app" has no meaning, head to this Echo Park wine bar on a Friday or Saturday night. During the week, El Prado stays pretty mellow. Everything changes once the weekend rolls around: you'll find a DJ spinning records and a loud, fun crowd. It won't be weird (if you don't make it weird) to introduce yourself to a group of strangers. Just crack a joke about the hot dog rotisserie behind the bar—whoever thought of selling franks with natural wine clearly wants people talking about it.
photo credit: Jessie Clapp
This Chinatown wine bar from the team behind Psychic Wines is mostly for Angelenos in their 20s and anyone who can pull off spray-painted jeans. On weeknights, the neighborhood hangout never gets too packed. But on weekends, the sidewalk out front turns into a see-and-be-seen scenario where people stand around with glasses of gamay until midnight. Whether you’re a self-described wine expert or don’t quite know how liquid can be described as “chewy,” the friendly staff will help you find something exciting and affordable on their condensed list (most glasses cost around $14).
This cocktail bar attached to De La Nonna in the Arts District has all the ‘70s glamor and retro debauchery you could ever need. Think circular booths, neon lighting, stucco arches, and of course, spinning disco balls. While the dancing really gets going after 9pm when the DJs start, you're better off arriving early to beat the lines. That way you'll experience a more low-key listening atmosphere, too. Mingle with strangers and then ponder why it took you this long to get into Italian disco music.
photo credit: Jessie Clapp
Considering The Ruby Fruit is LA’s first lesbian bar in about a decade, it’s no surprise that the place already feels like a much-needed tentpole for the city's queer community. This tiny natural wine spot in Silver Lake is the perfect place to meet someone new right now, since the crowd spills out onto the sidewalk (and even the parking lot) most nights. Expect couples, neighbors, and bandmates 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, order some loaded, raclette-topped fries off of the snack menu.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
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.
At Alma’s, you wouldn't be wrong to imagine you're the main character of a film noir set in the Pacific Northwest. The Virgil Village cider den is dark and moody with vintage wooden blinds that make 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 taste things until you find one you love. Even the patrons here want to talk about cider, so don’t be surprised if you’re juggling three different side conversations at once.
photo credit: Mark Evans
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. Club Tee Gee can be 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
After going dark for a few years, this reopened iconic dive bar at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland remains unpretentious, kind of grimy, 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 chat. If you really want to make some quick friends, swing by after seeing a show at the Hollywood Bowl, when the place fills up with fellow concertgoers riding the same high as you.
This candlelit speakeasy behind a barbershop in Culver City is a good place to have an actual conversation with someone. 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 Wednesday to Saturday, plus a grilled cheese sandwich for you to snack on until things wind down.
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. 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 to said bar for a “No Scrubs” duet.
photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee
The Little Friend in Venice has a cool crowd, solid cocktails, and a shot-and-a-beer special for $10. (It's the sibling to Silver Lake’s The Friend.) On weekends, you’ll find DJs playing everything from funk to ’90s hip-hop to Ariana Grande—but no matter what’s on, the floor will be filled with people getting drunk and dancing with strangers. Get here early if you don’t want to wait in line.
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.
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.
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.
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.