The 20 Most Fun Bars In LA Right Now guide image


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.


Apt 200

Imagine the stars of LA's #fashiontok assembled to pound vodka sodas and wear micro sunglasses indoors—that’s Apt 200. This West Hollywood bar and nightclub smells like a mix of Le Labo's Santal 33 and dancefloor sweat. To get in, you’ll almost certainly have to wait in line, and maybe even claim to know the DJ. But once you clear the bouncer, the windowless room feels like a reckless, invite-only after-party. If you want to be where people appreciate leopard-print pants and brand ambassadorship, this is the place.

Upstairs Bar at The Ace is our favorite Downtown rooftop pool bar. Assuming you enjoy well-made cocktails and outdoor decks where you can watch the sun melt over the DTLA skyline, it'll be your favorite, too. The crowd stays fairly calm here, despite the massive, industrial rooftop setting that typically translates to rowdiness. (No one is going to throw you into the pool with your cell phone in your pocket, for example.) On the weekends, DJs play everything from bass-heavy amapiano mixes to '90s pop tracks. And there’s never a cover.

Powered by local DJs, whiskey highballs, and a wall-to-wall vinyl collection, Gold Line is by far the best listening bar in LA. The music at this Highland Park spot blasts at house-party volume seven days a week, with genres ranging from jazz to obscure Japanese funk from the ‘80s. But even if you aren’t someone who gets giddy about vintage LPs, you can still drop in for a fun night out. Bring a date and grab a seat at the long wooden bar, or pack into a leather couch near the disco ball with friends and let the groovy Detroit techno mixes do the rest.

Take a historic piece of real estate on the Sunset Strip, plop in a bar and some leather booths, turn down the lights, and people are going to show up. That's the story of Bar Next Door, a West Hollywood cocktail spot in the former home of Marilyn Monroe’s talent agency. The menu splits between classic drinks and flashier options named after nearby landmarks like Chateau Marmont and The Viper Room. Despite feeling a little put-on at times, the Old Hollywood theme works. Or, at least the martinis work.

If you haven’t heard, the smashburger celebs behind Love Hour opened a bar in Koreatown. It’s right next to their walk-up window in the old Beer Belly space, which has a photo booth that your moderately narcissistic friend will enjoy and a great patio for everyone else. Weekends at Love Hour can get busy—expect a bumping playlist, multiple birthday parties, and a flow of people coming through with burgers and bottles until midnight. The bar also hosts a natural wine party called Half Full every month with a lineup of DJs who know how to get people dancing. Afterward, keep the party going at Normandie Club or another great Koreatown bar nearby.

Honey's is a clubby queer bar at Star Love (a colorful cocktail spot in East Hollywood) with events happening practically every night: karaoke Wednesdays, upbeat house DJ sets, comedy nights, even queer night markets. There's a wraparound bar up front and a room where people dance in the back. Even if you come on a weekday, it’ll feel like a big night out. While Honey's is a lesbian-focused space, it feels welcoming to everyone. They serve $10 well drinks Wednesday through Saturday from 7pm-8pm, and they’re usually strong enough that you’d only need one or two before hopping on stage to perform your choreographed dance to “Fergalicious.”

Text ten friends if they want to go to a 1970s-themed Italian disco and chances are you’ll have ten friends show up at your door. So it’s not surprising that Let’s Go Disco is already one of the most talked about LA bars—and we’re here to tell you it delivers on its promise of kitschy, retro debauchery. Attached to De La Nonna in the Arts District (the door is to the right when you enter), the space has circular booths, neon lighting, stucco arches, and of course, spinning disco balls. Head over early to beat the lines—that way you can drink sesame-leaf-infused gin martinis in a low-key listening atmosphere and be ready to dance when the DJs start at 9pm.

After nearly a decade, there's a lesbian bar in LA again. Say hello to The Ruby Fruit, a welcoming, jubilant queer space in a Silver Lake strip mall. The natural wine bar already feels like a tentpole of the community. Inside, there’s a tiny wrap-around bar and a handful of tables, but the party spills out onto the sidewalk on a regular basis. Come for a night that feels like an impromptu block party of married couples, neighbors, bandmates, and everyone in between.

Snoozy wine bars on the Westside are almost as common as white Teslas on the Westside. But natural wine bars where you can groove to vinyl DJ sets? That's where Offhand comes in. This corner spot on Santa Monica Blvd feels like a mellow party, with a DJ spinning records in the corner from 9pm to midnight on weekends. Grab dinner nearby before you come to sit on bright orange stools along the bar for the night. Just make sure to check their Instagram beforehand to see if they'll be hosting a pop-up—they've done everything from pizza nights with LaSorted to a plant-based night market with vendors from Vegan Playground.

From bubblegum pop dance parties to comedy nights, there’s always something fun happening at The Virgil in Silver Lake. This 1920s-themed bar with paisley wallpaper and vintage wood furniture functions as part dive bar and part music venue during the week. But on weekends, you’ll find two dance floors full of people until 2 am. Whether you’re looking for a good weeknight date spot or a crowded Saturday night party place, their Instagram has all the details on upcoming events.

This aperitivo bar in Eagle Rock has a chaotic energy we find endearing, like a block party packed under a single roof. There are 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.

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 hosts disco parties, DJ sets (mostly on Fridays and Saturdays), and dancing on the patio. In the event that your best choreography includes a frantic Cupid shuffle, you can save everyone from witnessing your wiggles by opting for a seat on the rattan sofas and leather chairs. Cocktails cost around $20 and are made with things like coconut charcoal vodka and gin infused with Earl Grey tea, and the bartenders here are happy to explain what each of those things actually tastes like. There are no bar snacks available, but if you get hungry, you could try walking in at Majordomo next door.

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. 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 on the back patio. 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, order some food. The snacks menu is currently overseen by Moderno Cocina Libre, which means all the tortillas are made in-house and the chicharron is some of the best we’ve ever had. 

When 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 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 their hearts out. 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. Gold Diggers is part-bar, part-club, and part-boutique hotel—so depending on how your night goes, you could theoretically stay the night.

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 takes place inside the garage, which has a long bar, a spinning disco ball, and a DJ spinning vinyl records. Most people come to drink IPAs and snack on scallop crudo during the day, but on Friday and Saturday nights, the dance floor is flooded with people until 1am.

Pinky’s mimics a Miami nightclub—turquoise walls, disco balls rotating at the speed of light, and a fun variety of DJs, pure glamor. The caveat is that it's a cocktail bar located in Los Feliz. 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.  

This Latin nightclub is a full-out party almost every night of the week. Representatives from every age group come to Club Bahia to let loose, and most of them stick around until the early morning. On Mondays and Thursdays, the Echo Park spot hosts a Western-themed hoe-down called Stud Country where you can live out your LGBTQIA+ cowboy fantasy. On weekends, DJs spin a range of salsa, cumbia, merengue, and punta songs—plus everything in between. They’re open until 4am every Friday and Saturday, host family movie nights, and are a short walk from Dodger Stadium for any post-game gatherings.

This 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 then stumble out of four hours later with “Defying Gravity” stuck in your head. TSG’s is unlike any other bar in the city and if you want to get in on its unabashed revelry, we recommend arriving before or around 10pm (or prepare to wait in line outside). You might just leave with a video of Evan Rachel Wood belting Alanis Morissette on your phone.

Entering Bar Flores is like stepping into your childhood treehouse–except with really great sangria. The cocktail bar above Lowboy in Echo Park has a gorgeous patio in the back where you can drink strong daiquiris, great mezcal, and the aforementioned sangria. 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 an excellent bar. One mystery remains: What is in the air? It smells better than an Aesop showroom in here.

El Cid wins the award for that place we always forget about then visit once and judge ourselves for not visiting 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 palace. 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 also have an indoor theater with nightly shows ranging from jam bands to queer cabarets.

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photo credit: Ben Bassu

The 20 Most Fun Bars In LA Right Now guide image