LAGuide

The 20 Most Fun Bars In LA Right Now

Call them what you want. Happening. Cool. Busy. Vibing.

Transparently, we could not agree on a title for this bar guide. “The Coolest Bars In LA?” No, what does “cool” mean, anyway? “LA’s Hottest Bars For Hot People Who Just Want To Have Fun?” Obviously, that didn’t get very far in the editorial process. Plainly speaking, use this list of LA bars the next time you’re looking for an exceptionally good time.


THE SPOTS

photo credit: Capri Club

Capri Club review image

Capri Club

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This aperitivo bar in Eagle Rock has the buzz of a block party packed under a single roof. The wood-paneled interior is lined with big red booths where people sip espresso martinis, white Negronis, and 50/50s. Groups of 20-somethings line the sidewalk patio, spilling further and further into the street as the night goes on. Drinking here is a casual experience, but since it’s walk-in only, you (and anyone else who shows up after 7pm) will probably have to stand guard until a seat opens. The slight chaos is part of why we like Capri Club, so swing around to the far end of the bar, order a drink, and form an alliance with whoever appears to be closing out.

If you want music and a crowd, but also a laid-back space that makes it easy to have a conversation, head to Apotheke in Chinatown. This cocktail lounge has disco parties, DJ sets (mostly on Fridays and Saturdays), and plenty of space on its patio for dancing. But even if your best dance move is a frantic attempt at the Cupid shuffle, they also have rattan sofas and leather seats for you to hang out. Cocktails cost around $20 and are made with things like coconut charcoal vodka and gin infused with Earl Grey tea, but the bartenders here are happy to explain what each of those things actually tastes like. There are no bar snacks here, but if you get hungry, you could try walking in at Majordomo right next door.

Even in broad daylight, Oy Bar is so dark you need to pause to let your eyes adjust as you step inside. This Studio City bar might be new, but the dimly-lit, slightly dingy atmosphere it exudes is exactly what we want in a Valley dive. Formally called The Bar At Oyster House (hence the new name), this neighborhood drinking hole is now run by the Jeff’s Table crew with a menu full of bar bites worth braving the 101 at rush hour to eat. There are a couple craft beers on tap and cocktails are simple but effective. This is the kind of place to come after a rough day of work when you need a stiff drink and to be left alone—if that’s what you prefer.

When Clark Street took over Coffee Shop 101, they left the iconic diner on Franklin completely intact. Phew. Guess what? Lily's Bar—just down the hallway from the diner at the same Best Western—got the same treatment. Formerly MiniBar, the tiny cocktail den maintains the look and feel of a membership-only airport lounge in the 1960s—there’s a dark, wrap-around bar, a drinks menu filled with every classic cocktail in the book, and the ever-present possibility that you might go home with a pilot. OK, there are probably zero pilots at Lily’s, but it’s fun to dream. If you’re looking for a sexy (but not too sexy) midweek drink date spot, keep Lily’s in your back pocket. 

We love a themed bar. Why aren't more bars themed? Tell us what to wear! We'll have an amazing time. Self-described as "a little bit country, a little bit of rock-and-roll," Desert 5 is a Pioneertown-inspired rooftop bar in Hollywood that is committed to the bit. There are glowing neon signs, cocktail glasses shaped like cacti and boots, and a stage where some band you've never heard of plays their heart and soul out while rocking cowboy hats. It's Hollywood theatrics, of course. Not an actual dive bar in the desert, but something shiny and fun. It gets crowded here on weeknights, so probably come then. Weekends are packed, packed, packed.

The Least-Awful Rooftop Bars In LA guide image

LA Guide

The Least-Awful Rooftop Bars In LA

For a Hollywood rooftop, Bar Lis does a decent job of hiding the fact that you’re less than a mile from TMZ tour buses and men dressed as Captain America. This French Riviera-themed lounge is appropriately chic and, depending on the night, can feel pleasantly intimate or totally packed. Expect the weekend crowd to be a mix of micro-influencers, out-of-towners, and 20-something-year-olds looking to bop around to ABBA remixes and deep house tracks. Cocktails here are quite good, with a canapés menu that includes a creamy smoked salmon dip that we eagerly scooped up with homemade chips. If sipping gin tonics to blaring nu-disco is not for you, stop by on Tuesdays for the more laidback jazz night and enjoy great city views.

Anyone who has spent time drinking Downtown knows about Las Perlas, the Oaxacan cantina with over 450 agave spirits that’s been going strong since 2010. There’s now a second location in West Hollywood that’s every bit as fun. With a good-sized bar area and back patio, this is the kind of place that works just as well for rowdy groups on the weekend as it does for casual mid-week drinks with a coworker. The cocktails are fantastic (we love the strong kick from the Spiced Daisy), there’s a daily Happy Hour from 5-8pm, and live music on Friday nights. Whatever you do though, be sure to order some food, which is currently overseen by Moderno Cocina Libre in the patio. The tortillas are all made in-house, and the chicharron is some of the best we’ve ever had. 

The moment you step onto the jam-packed dance floor at Gold Diggers, you’ll feel like an extra in an early 2000s Ciara music video. This dark, divey dance hall in East Hollywood hosts free DJ sets and ticketed live performances almost every night of the week. And it’s one of the few places in LA where the people actually dance. Gold Diggers is part-bar, part-club, and part-boutique hotel—so depending on how your night goes, you could theoretically stay the night. Bring a group the next time you decide to unleash that new shirt you bought, and prepare to sweat it out while dancing to funk and soul jams under a crystal chandelier. 

Homage, a microbrewery and restaurant in the middle of industrial Chinatown, is made for people who love beer but also want to dance. There’s a pleasant patio out front where you might spot a couple of toddlers with their tattooed parents. But the real scene is inside the garage, which has a long bar counter, a spinning disco ball, and a DJ spinning vinyl records behind a monochromatic booth. Most people come here to sip housemade IPAs and snack on scallop crudo during the day, but on Friday and Saturday nights, the dance floor is packed until 1am.

It wasn’t that long ago that Glassell Park was a quiet, residential neighborhood next to Highland Park. And while the area certainly maintains its family-oriented roots, this tiny Eastside neighborhood is undeniably coming alive. Case in point—The Grant. With a sleek, art deco-ish interior and craft cocktails made with ingredients like Furlani vermouth and Burmese tonic, this place wouldn’t be out of place on the ground floor of The Roosevelt. That said, instead of chaotic valet lines and lost club kids, you’ll find a low-key crowd consisting of first date nightcaps, neighborly hangouts, and parents squeezing in one last round before the babysitter calls. 

Run by the family behind Silver Lake’s El Cochinito and Café Tropical, Bolita is a beautiful cocktail bar that feels like a Cuban vacation. Located in the old Smog Cutter space in Virgil Village (This Side of Hoover just dropped a fantastic post explaining it all), this cozy bar is filled with mirrors, small snacks like bocadito sandwiches and plantain chips, and specialty cocktails. Grab a table inside while sipping on cocktails made with lemon verbena-infused vodka, Thai basil, turmeric syrup, and hibiscus bitters, or a spot at the bar and dance to bossa nova music. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to wear your cutest bell-bottoms, this is the place.

Checker Hall is a cavernous bar in Highland Park that was once a Masonic Lodge. It’s huge, but is somehow always filled with just the right amount of people, and there’s always room for more. The big booths are full of after-dinner dates, the couches are packed in with friend groups lounging around like they live here, and the triangular bar is full of concert-goers trying to get in a few drinks before seeing a show next door. One of our favorite pop-ups, Little Fish, is also doing a residency here through the end of May. The fried fish sandwich specialist pops up every Thursday-Monday starting at 6pm, with a full menu–including brand new items like halibut crudo, fried squash blossoms, and crab dip.

Pinky’s feels like a Miami nightclub but in Los Feliz—because between the sleek turquoise walls, disco balls rotating at the speed of light, and a fun variety of DJs, this cocktail bar on Vermont Avenue is absolute pure glamor. Every night, you’ll find jazz, “funk and no junk,” and Brazilian disco parties going until the wee hours of the morning. Wear something slinky and channel your best Elvira.  


Not to be confused with the Virgil Village wine bar with a similar name, Melody Lounge in Chinatown serves an extensive list of craft beers and spins records every night of the week. Paper lanterns bathe the room in a sultry red glow while DJs play whatever mix of tropical house, Latin trap, future beats, soul, or funk they feel like that night. It’s laidback and fun in an effortless way, the way everyone wishes they could be.


On weekends, this Latin nightclub becomes an all-out party—an Eastside in-the-know hangout spot where representatives from every age group come together to dance until the early morning. There’s a range of salsa, cumbia, merengue, and punta songs—plus everything in between - blasting over the speakers, a welcomed escape from whatever auto-shuffle TikTok Viral Hits playlist so many other places seem to play lately. They’re open until 4am every Friday and Saturday, host family movie nights, and are a short walking distance away from Dodger Stadium.

Tramp Stamp Granny’s reopened last summer and immediately reclaimed its spot as one of the most objectively fun places to drink in the city. The rowdy piano on Cahuenga in Hollywood is the kind of place you poke your head into because you hear people singing The Killers in unison and stumble out four hours with “Defying Gravity” stuck in your head and a video of Evan Rachel Wood belting Alanis Morissette on your phone. TSG’s is unlike any other bar in the city and if you want to get in on its unabashed revelry, we recommend getting there no later than 10pm or prepare to wait in line outside.


This neighborhood bar and queer space in Silver Lake is the kind of spot West Hollywood could never have. There are cheap drinks, a welcoming dance floor, no lines, and a waitstaff that didn’t bring a stack of commercial headshots with them to work tonight. The crowd is laid back, but everyone there is down to drink, dance, rinse, and repeat. If the Weho thing isn’t your energy right now, Akbar is your remedy. There’s no cover charge right now, even on Sunday afternoons during their al fresco Pride series featuring DJs, drag queens, and more.


If you’ve ever seen a show at The Largo on La Cienega, you’ve probably wandered around and found a somewhat hidden bar off to the side that looks like a basement drinking den somewhere deep in Paris. That’s Roger Room, home to our favorite craft cocktails in West Hollywood is better than ever. The space is small and dark, with a crowd that never gets too sceney - perfect for a nightcap with a friend or an after-dinner drink with a date that’s going great.

Located above Low Boy in Echo Park, entering Bar Flores is like stepping into your childhood treehouse – except with really great sangria. There’s a gorgeous patio in the back, the drinks are strong and taste great (the sangria should win some international award), and we have no clue what’s in the air, but it smells better than an Aesop showroom in here. Sure, you’re dealing with the usual Echo Park crowd of NPR shirts and sunglasses coordinated with tote bags, but all things considered, this is a truly excellent bar.

El Cid wins the award for that place you always forget about (particularly after a year-long quarantine), but then visit once and judge yourself for not coming more. The Silver Lake bar isn’t much more than a door frame along Sunset, but walk down the stairs and you’ll pop out into a hidden drinking oasis. The cocktails are cheap, the crowd is cool, and the two-tiered patio is the ideal casual hangout spot whether it’s on a rowdy Friday night or for Sunday drag brunch. They’ve also reopened their indoor theater with nightly entertainment ranging from jam bands to queer cabarets.

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