The Best Bars In West Hollywood  guide image


The Best Bars In West Hollywood

The 14 best places to grab a drink in West Hollywood.

For a neighborhood so infamous for its nightlife, most of the bars in West Hollywood are weirdly a drag. They’re overcrowded, overdone, and filled with long lines of people you would never want to spend a Saturday night getting drunk with. But to say the neighborhood is devoid of any bars worth your time is also incorrect. From the Sunset Strip to Santa Monica Blvd., to all the way down the eastern stretches of the city within a city, Weho has every kind of nightlife you could imagine. Here are the best bars for all your drinking needs.


The Roger Room

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 and immediately decided you loved it. That’s Roger Room and the good news is you don’t have to have a ticket to the Largo to drink there. The space is small and dark, and on weeknights, it's filled with a crowd of mostly comedians who just want to be left alone like you. On weeknights, things start getting rowdy at around 9pm. Whether that has to do with the fact that there’s an entire absinthe section on the menu, we will never know.

Taking over the legendary Gold Coast space, Or Bar opened in 2022 and has already become a go-to drinking spot in West Hollywood. Yes, $19 cocktails are egregious even for Weho, but we appreciate that Or Bar is more than just a four-walled room filled with stale Britney remixes and 24-year-olds standing around on Grindr. People here are actually hanging out, and if you can believe it, talking. The place leans loungey, but not in a tacky, bottle-service kind of way. You’ll see plush, comfy banquettes, and a giant, amoeba-shaped chandelier over the bar. It’s retro, kitschy, and gives off the energy of a well-attended dinner party in Palm Springs.

What’s this now? A legitimately laidback neighborhood bar…on the Sunset Strip? If you have trouble believing it—we sure did—head to Bar Next Door to see for yourself. The dime-sized space on the west end of The Strip (over by Soho House) gets crowded on the weekends, which is why we stick mostly to Sunday through Thursday visits. That’s when you’ll find a laidback space filled with coworkers, friends, and solo drinkers all hanging at the bar and sipping fantastic cocktails. The signature drinks are named after local Weho landmarks like the rum-based La Cienega and The Viper Room, which is essentially a suped-up pisco sour. It’s definitely a little cheesy, but no one cares because they’re delicious. We particularly love the Olive Drive that tastes like a floral martini.

We respect any bar that pulls off a punny name, and Hi Tops is the current reigning champ of West Hollywood. Right in the thick of things on Santa Monica Blvd., this high-school-themed bar is big, open, and always crowded—ideal for people to stand around and stare at each other until somebody makes the first move. Tuesday night trivia is very popular, and some people here watch sports unironically. That said, the most surprising aspect of this place is its excellent cocktails. So instead of your usual vodka soda, go for the mezcal-heavy Magic Hour, or The Claw, which is made with gin and cardamom bitters.

To be clear, you’re not coming to Tower Bar on a Saturday night to drink cheap whiskey and go home with somebody who’s crying in the corner. You’re here on a Saturday afternoon dressed in your weekend’s best to mingle with the Hollywood power crowd and pretend you’re one of them for a few hours. You’ll definitely see a celebrity slugging back martinis and you’ll probably order a build-your-own sundae by the pool. Tower Bar is a total classic. The theme isn’t Hollywood, it just is Hollywood.

Surly Goat is easily the best place to drink beer in West Hollywood. This is where you go to drink Pliny the Elder and talk with the bartender about how this one brewery is totally blowing up right now. If those words mean nothing to you, just know that Surly has great drinks, a fairly relaxed space, shuffleboard, and a side patio ideal for hanging out with friends who you can actually hear.

Anyone who’s spent time drinking in Downtown knows about Las Perlas, the fantastic Oaxacan cantina that’s been going strong since 2010 with over 450 agave spirits. 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 being run by Moderno Cocina Libre in the patio. You can’t go wrong with any of the tacos (the tortillas are all made in-house), but the chicharron is particularly great.

Reporting live from Weho’s latest round of bar-switch-a-roos, Schmitty’s is a neighborhood bar operating inside the old GymBar space, now run by the same people as FuBar—which is still closed. Got that? It doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that Schmitty’s is a solid place to grab a drink and hang out on a festive, string-lit patio next to a closed-down Five Guys. The Irish pub aesthetic is cheesy, sure, but no one’s really complaining about that when there’s a four-hour weekday Happy Hour with $5 well cocktails, wine, and beer. 

Jones Hollywood is definitely a restaurant and should be considered as such, but it’s also a fantastic spot to grab a quick drink (or three) before heading home. The bar area is on the smaller side but the cocktail list is great (the Dirty Sue martini is legendary), and it never gets so crowded that you feel suffocated.

From Lance Bass’s massive Heart nightclub to the new location of Gym Bar, queer spaces are finally starting to return to Weho after enduring several devastating closures during the pandemic. Our favorite of the bunch is Stache. The restaurant/bar/performance space has fun programming throughout the week, including bearded lady cabarets, Drag Race viewing parties, and nightly DJs. But if you’re in the mood to day drink on the weekends, it’s all about the Wig & Waffles drag brunch. The menu includes everything from protein pancakes to breakfast burritos, plus $25 bottomless mimosas until 4pm.

Employees Only is one of the most recognizable bar brands in the world, so it was no surprise to us that when they opened on Santa Monica Blvd. in 2018, it was one of the hardest places to find a seat. Fast forward today though, and EO has evolved into a most unexpected thing: an actual neighborhood spot. Sure, a drink here will still set you back about $18, but if you’re in the mood to drink interesting, delicious cocktails without having to wait in line anymore or put on uncomfortable shoes, Employees Only is your spot. 

West Hollywood has a bar for almost any kind of night out. That said, it struggles mightily when it comes to low-key dives where you can always find a seat. Enter Snake Pit, the neighborhood bar on Melrose that’s remarkable mostly for being unremarkable. This is the kind of place where you show up halfway through the night for a quick drink, then end up staying for three hours because you made five new friends. The drinks are cheap, the bartenders will actually talk to you, and their jukebox is one of our favorites in the neighborhood.

Open since 1939, Formosa is one of the oldest bars in the city with more Hollywood history than the elevators at the Roosevelt. And though it had recently fallen on hard times, a massive refurbishment brought it back to its glory days, complete with three separate bars, a dine-in train car, and a sprawling rooftop. Our favorite area, however, is the back room - it’s usually the least crowded, and feels the most like the kind of place you would’ve seen Frank Sinatra fall off his barstool back in the day. When it comes to cocktails, we particularly love the green tea martini with Jameson. And if you get hungry, there’s a Taiwanese bar menu filled with dishes like cold sesame noodles, dan dan mian, and dim sum. 

One could argue that Hamburger Mary’s isn’t technically a bar, but for the amount of heavy drinking that gets done here, we’ll give it a free pass. You could come to Hamburger Mary’s any night of the week and have a great time, but we’d be lying if we said that Sunday drag brunch followed by drag queen bingo wasn’t the ultimate attraction. To put it simply, it’s legendary. And though it’s turned into a bit of a national chain these days, the Weho location is the original and all that glorious gay magic remains.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

photo credit: Benji Dell

The Best Bars In West Hollywood  guide image