The Best Bars In West Hollywood
The 15 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 the best bars for all your drinking needs.
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.
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 their excellent craft 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.
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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.
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 none of those words mean anything to you, just know that Surly has great drinks, a fairly relaxed space, shuffleboard, and a side patio ideal for hanging out with friends and actually being able to hear them.
Las Perlas West Hollywood
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 some of the best we’ve ever had.
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 (the Dirty Sue martini is legendary), and it never gets so crowded that you want to die.
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.
Rainbow Bar & Grill
The Rainbow is probably the only bar in LA that blasts Slayer and Megadeath every night of the week. Overrun by rock ‘n roll heads, actors, and their groupies since the ‘70s, you never know what’ll happen or who you might see at the Rainbow. What we can guarantee is loud music (often live), people who are there to listen to it, and big, cheesy pizzas that will silence the whiny friend in the group who wanted to go to On The Rox instead. If you’re looking to drink stiff and smoke without judgment in leather pants, this historic Sunset Strip fixture is the place to do it.
Employees Only is arguably the most recognizable bar brand 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 drink in the city. 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 $16, but if you’re in the mood to drink interesting, yet 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.
The Abbey Food & Bar
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.
Saddle Ranch Chop House
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.
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.
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.