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 Boystown to all the way down the Eastern stretches of Santa Monica Blvd., Weho has every kind of nightlife you could imagine. Here the 16 best bars for all your drinking needs.
Surly Goat is easily the best place to drink beer in West Hollywood, if not the whole city. 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 none of those words mean anything to you, just know that Surly has great drinks, a relaxed space, a cool crowd, shuffleboard, and a side patio ideal for hanging out with friends and actually being able to hear them.
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, with a crowd that never gets too sceney. Are these the best cocktails in Weho? Yes. There’s also an entire absinthe section on the menu.
Located right as the true Sunset Strip chaos begins, Pikey is the kind of place you go for a quick beer with a friend and walk out two hours later hammered. There’s nothing subtle about the British pub decor here, but at the end of the day (or night) you don’t care because you simply like being here. The beer and wine list is solid, the crowd is always low key, and if you get hungry, the English-style menu hits all the right the spots after a long night of drinking. Tip: The semi-private back room is a very good place for a birthday party throw-down.
The Abbey needs very little introduction - it’s one of the most recognizable gay bars in the entire country. This place is a true metropolis and you could spend an entire night just wandering around making sure you’ve seen every part of it. Weekends get absolutely ambushed when the horny housewives and bridge and tunnel kids arrive, so our move is always a weeknight. Things are just as fun, but you're actually able to find a space on the dancefloor. Don’t sleep on that Sunday brunch either, it gets weird.
Greetings from the biggest sh*t show in Los Angeles. Saddle Ranch is a massive, touristy, cowboy-themed mess in the heart of the Strip, and living proof that if you aren’t ashamed of your sloppiness, great times are soon to follow. This is the kind of place where you use fireball as a chaser and get thrown off a mechanical bull with your shirt over your head. Their bar food is surprisingly not terrible and that'll come in handy as your night beautifully spins off the rails.
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 for a few hours you’re one of them. 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 whose theme isn’t Hollywood, it just is Hollywood.
Jones Hollywood is definitely a restaurant and should be considered as such, but it’s also an absolutely fantastic spot to grab a quick drink (or three) before heading home. The bar area is on the smaller side, but when the crowd is this attractive, close proximity shouldn’t be a complaint. The cocktail list is great, and it never gets so crowded that you want to die.
The Bayou might seem like just another bar amongst the Santa Monica Blvd. chaos, but rest assured, it’s very special. This New Orleans-themed dive is where egos go to die and misguided shots of vodka go to live their best gay life. The Bayou has not one, but two Happy Hours every single day, including one that goes from 10:30pm-12:30am: $2 beers, $4 wells, $5 you-call-it. If you show up to Boystown a little too sober or need a quick midnight pick-me-up, The Bayou is the party you want to be at.
Over on the far Eastern edge of West Hollywood, Loreley Beer Garden is a fantastic newer drinking spot in a corner of the neighborhood best known for a Ralph's with easy rooftop parking. The space legitimately feels like a German beer tavern, with a back patio you could spend the whole night on. From the rare German beer list to the sausage-laden menu to your waitress with a thick German accent, Loreley is the real deal and hopefully here to stay.
Harlowe is one of those places that creeps awfully close to being a full-on club, but somehow stays on the side of being a bar. The whole place is an homage to old Hollywood, and despite feeling a little put-on at times, the theme works. There are leather booths lining the walls, a big circular wooden bar in the middle, and a cocktail list serving everything from Old Fashioneds to Pimm’s Cups. Weeknights are extremely laid-back, but don't be surprised if you encounter a bit of a wait on weekends.
Boystown is wonderful, but the reality is the edgier gay scene got pushed out to the Eastside (and now DTLA) decades ago. Welcome to FuBar, the last remaining remnant of the underground scene and a weird, gay dystopia that’s likely to scare off any newbies to the neighborhood. But most importantly, it’s just f*cking fun. The music is good, the crowd is largely unaffected, and their Thursday “BFD” night is a very special situation.
Sometimes the night just calls for a bro bar, and when it does, your best Weho option is The Den. The space itself looks like some sort ski chalet for squirrelly co-eds and while it can get rowdy on the weekends, you somehow manage to walk out having had a good time. You’ll probably do a shot of cheap tequila because a stranger at the bar told you to, and possibly save a drunk girl’s sleeve from catching on fire in one of the outdoor fire pits, but that’s all part of the fun. Also, their weekly Happy Hour has $5 well drinks and a slew of other dangerous specials.
Did you know there’s a hidden bar behind The Roxy? Up a flight of stairs and past a silver door sits one of the more infamous drinking holes on the entire Strip: On The Rox. The narrow bar has long been a place for secret performances, private events, and after-parties with celebrities doing illegal things, but nowadays, it’s mostly a great place to grab a drink and see a local band before catching the big show downstairs.
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 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.
By this point, you’ve probably witnessed enough Santa Claus bar crawls to know any “Irish” sports bar is an absolute death trap - save for Rock N Reilly’s. We’re not going to say this Irish-themed sports bar on Sunset is doing anything magnificently different here, but somehow they’ve managed to keep it a place you always want to go back to. The crowd is relaxed, there’s a secret back patio, and it’s just nice to have a place on the Strip where you can pick up a quick beer without having to wait in a line.
Now Boarding is really a case of one bar and two completely different scenes - all dependant on when you drink there. Come on a weeknight and you’ll find a casual drinking crowd enjoying solid cocktails (served out of briefcases) in a retro 1960’s airport setting that isn’t nearly as cheesy as it sounds. Come on a weekend, however, and you’ll be greeted with a mosh pit of attractive people in their mid-20's looking for other people in their mid-20's to take home. Choose your life, live it to the max.