The 14 Best Hotel Bars In LA

Great places to sip cocktails and be mysterious.
The 14 Best Hotel Bars In LA image

photo credit: Douglas Friedman

Even the most abysmal hotel bars provide a place for people to come and go, grab drinks while their rooms get cleaned, or kill time before dinner. But great hotel bars? They’re destinations whether you’re staying overnight or not. They ooze mystery, decadence, and sex appeal. And sometimes, legitimate history, too. And of course, they have excellent cocktails. These are our favorites in LA. 


photo credit: Tower Bar


West Hollywood

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastCelebrity SightingsDrinking Good CocktailsOutdoor/Patio SituationPeople WatchingSee And Be Seen
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Located on the ground floor of Sunset Tower Hotel (which dates back to the 1920s when people like Howard Hughes and Elizabeth Taylor lived there), this Art Deco pool bar is the stuff of Hollywood legend. Martinis are downed like ice water and movie deals are signed over fries. Dinner tables tend to book up in advance, so if you just want to booze, show up at 6 pm. That’s when you’ll usually be able to snag a few open seats by the pool, or if it’s chilly, at the indoor bar with a jazz quartet.

Is Lily’s the coolest bar inside a Best Western in the world? That's a ridiculous question, why would you ask us that? What we can say with certainty is that this is a great place to grab a drink while waiting out the traffic on Franklin. The tiny drinking hole maintains the look and feel of a members-only lounge in the 1960s—there’s a dark, wrap-around bar and a drinks menu filled with every classic cocktail in the book.

We’ll drink martinis pretty much anywhere, but if ocean breezes are involved, count us as regulars. It’s why you’ll usually find us with a drink at The Georgian anytime we’re in Santa Monica. The historic hotel (it dates back to 1933) is right on Ocean Avenue, and after a recent renovation, shines like an Art Deco wonderland. Its horseshoe-shaped lobby bar works especially well for sipping cocktails and judging tourists. For something a bit more exclusive, make a reservation at The Georgian Room, the piano bar in the basement. 

Imagine a dark, cramped, and moody scene. Picture well-dressed people drinking boulevardiers and discussing experimental theater. No, you aren’t on the Lower East Side or Canal Saint-Martin, you’re on the ground floor of Hotel Normandie in Koreatown, one of our favorite cocktail bars in the neighborhood. It’s an excellent first stop before a night out in Ktown. Alternatively, head here after a great dinner date for some strong drinks and late-night booth canoodling. 

$$$$Perfect For:Day Drinking


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Between The Lobby Bar and The Spare Room (which is outfitted with a vintage two-lane bowling alley), the Hollywood Roosevelt might have the best overall collection of hotel bars in the city. Our favorite of the bunch is Tropicana, though. This iconic pool bar is surrounded by palm trees and private mid-century bungalows, all of which will briefly fool you into thinking you skipped town and went to Palm Springs for the weekend. As for drinks, especially during the summer months, order a frozen cocktail. 

Here’s the thing about the Rooftop By JG—it’s located on top of the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills, which means by just breathing here, you’ll probably get charged $20. But it also has one of the most jaw-dropping views in the city. Skip the food and head to the nearly 360-degree space for a few cocktails as the sun sets. It’s our go-to spot when we really want to show off the city to visiting family and friends.

Not that long ago, having “afternoon drinks at the Chateau” was a full-on status symbol. The famously debaucherous West Hollywood patio is more buttoned up these days, only allowing hotel guests to go there with “sporadic availability on certain days” (a.k.a. if you’re famous enough). But if you want to experience the historic hotel as a regular, non-famous person, go at night for a cocktail in the lobby bar. The drinks are strong (they make a particularly good Old Fashioned), and the crowd is all people who look likely to have an Oscar winner's number saved in their phone contacts. Most importantly, you’ll be able to walk right in.

One would assume a neighborhood that overlooks the ocean would have rooftop pool bars on every corner, but downtown Santa Monica proves otherwise. Luckily, Calabra exists. Perched atop the Proper Hotel, this splashy spot has an indoor lounge, a poolside patio, and curved couches that you can rent out for more privacy. The music is loud and people are definitely dressed up, but the atmosphere still feels fun and breezy, and their mezcal-heavy cocktails are what you'll want to be drinking while soaking up that sweet Westside sun. 

The Langham is an absurdly luxurious, 110-year-old hotel that sits amongst the manicured lawns and stately mansions of Pasadena. We’d pay the $10 valet fee to simply roam around the estate, but stopping for a drink at The Tap Room is a good idea, too. The historic bar has a huge chandelier-adorned interior that looks like a suite on the Titanic, plus an outdoor patio overlooking the grounds. If it’s gloomy out though, you'll find us inside by the fireplace sipping scotch.  

Walking across Hotel Bel-Air’s cobblestone bridge feels like being transported to an Italian countryside estate. But it's somehow located in a Bel-Air canyon ten minutes from the 405. A night here is not cheap, so we just like to camp out at the bar and pretend we’re staying all week. The Art Deco space opens daily at 3 pm and features comfy sitting areas, a roaring fireplace (even in the summer), and the opportunity to feel as wealthy as you decide you are in your head.

Drinking at a hotel off the 101 in North Hollywood sounds like the result of losing a bet. But The Front Yard at The Garland proves the exercise can be enticing. Even on sleepy midweek afternoons, the big courtyard space is a mob scene. You’ll find studio workers sipping wine at the bar during lunch and retirees getting day drunk because they can. And on top of all that, the food is solid, too—including a particularly good short rib burger.

The Maybourne has a few spots to pull up for a cocktail, but for something a little dramatic, have a night at the Cigar and Whiskey Bar. This reservation-only bar is hidden on the second floor (you get escorted up a secret back staircase) with over 1,000 cigars in stock and a booklet of whiskies broken down by country. There’s a $100 per person minimum, but considering some premium two-ounce drams can go for up to $600, that won’t be a difficult number to hit. Alternatively, order something off the cocktail list—the honey and ginger-infused Penicillin is excellent. 

It’s widely known that there aren’t many great hotel options in the Los Feliz/Silver Lake/Echo Park area, which makes the Silver Lake Pool & Inn—and its pool bar, Marco Polo—even more of a destination. The two-floored space consists of a full restaurant at street level and a pool area up on the roof. The pool is technically for hotel guests only, but if you go during an off time and ask nicely, you’ll be sitting poolside with an afternoon spritz in no time.

Even with all the flashier Hollywood hotels rooftops like Bar Lis and Desert 5 opening nearby, the best remains Mama Shelter. This spot perched on top of a hotel of the same name has been around since 2016—ancient history in the world of Hollywood rooftops—but still strikes the optimal balance of strong cocktails, great views, and a semi-local crowd that’s down to get weird. On weeknights, the scene is mostly Netflix employees sipping sangria as quickly as possible, but on Saturday afternoons, expect to find The Olympics—where the only sport is drinking frozen slushies and falling asleep on one of the day beds. 

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