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The LA Bar Hit List: Where To Drink Right Now

PHOTO: Tessa Neuestadt

In order to help you figure which new restaurants are actually worth going to, we created the Hit List, our guide to recently opened LA restaurants that are actually worth your time and energy. That’s right, we actually get off our asses and go try these places - just because a place is new and has pretty pictures, does not mean you should be spending your money there.

And now, we’re doing the same for bars. LA isn't especially skilled at cranking out good new bars at a consistent pace, so we admittedly ended up drinking at some pretty lousy ones. But we also found some great ones. From rooftop patios in Hollywood to outdoor Airstream bars in the Arts District, here are the 13 new bars where you should be drinking in LA.

1o/26 Additions: Good Housekeeping, Tabula Rasa, Brack Shop Tavern, Loreley

the spots


Good Housekeeping might take a little extra effort to get to, but trust us - it’s worth it. Located in the back patio of Highland Park’s Cafe Birdie, the tiny free-standing spot is (thankfully) not trying to be another speakeasy we don’t need. It’s just a cool bar you either know about or you don’t. The cocktail list is small but excellent (get The Farmer’s Market Fix), and if you’re sticking around for dinner at Cafe Birdie (highly recommended), you can bring your drink with you inside.


Tabula Rasa

Thai Town
5125 Hollywood Blvd

It’s not often we get excited about a wine bar, but Tabula Rasa has given us good reason to. The new spot on Hollywood Blvd. in Thai Town has a stripped-down, almost industrial feel to it, with a laid-back crowd to match. The wine list is short but solid, and they have great beer as well. The best surprise of all? The tiny snacks menu. There’s simply no reason that Cubano needs to be so good.


Brack Shop Tavern

525 W 7th Street

Downtown bars tend to fall into two general categories: rowdy, post-work sports bars and high-end cocktail joints with dress codes. There’s a time and place for each of those, but other times, you just want something in between. Enter Brack Shop Tavern - an upscale-ish sports bar with a cool vibe, great cocktails, and an outstanding beer list. There’s also a pretty hefty food menu as well, with the Welsh Rare-Bit (essentially melted cheese on bread) being the after-work comfort food we don’t deserve but will gladly eat.


Is this the most needed bar in Los Angeles? Very possible. La Brea has certainly come into its own in the last few years, but the fact remains - there are almost no places to grab a drink. Say hello to Loreley, the outdoor German beer garden on the Weho/Hollywood border that is fairly no-frills, but has a great patio and a solid beer list, and isn’t a total production trying to get into on the weekend either. But you’ve been warned - the crowds are coming.



Arts District
428 S Hewitt St.

If all bars could be more like Resident, the world would be a better place. That might be high praise for this new Arts District bar, but it doesn’t take long to understand all the things this place gets right. For one, it’s almost entirely outdoors. Second, the outside bar exists in an Airstream and the cocktails and beer list are fantastic. Third and most importantly, you simply want to hang out here. The atmosphere is fun and laid back, and there are even water misters for all your day-drinking needs.


Mama Shelter

6500 Selma Ave

One of the best new rooftop patios in the city? Check. Good drinks, foosball tables, and a movie screen playing old Hollywood classics? Check, check, and check. The weekend crowds here can definitely get intense, so plan ahead and get a table. Or just stick to weeknights when the vibe is calm, bar seats are available, and that after-work rum drink is hitting all the right spots.


The Lincoln

2536 Lincoln Blvd.

Despite all the gentrification going down in Venice these days, its main thoroughfare (Lincoln Blvd.) remains a little sad on the eyes. With never-ending traffic and enough muffler shops for every car in LA, The Lincoln hopes to not only help change that, but to give this part of Venice the kind of bar they were dying for. Weekend lines can get long, but the crowd remains low-key. There are also Top Gun-themed cocktails. Get involved.



6141 Franklin Ave

MiniBar feels like a membership-only bar at a 1960’s airport. The mood is subdued, the cocktails are strong, and you might go home with a pilot. OK, there probably aren’t any pilots at MiniBar right now, but the crowd is definitely good-looking and much more tolerable than what you’d find elsewhere in Hollywood. Located on the ground floor of the way-cooler-than-you-think Best Western on Franklin, another bonus is being directly across the lobby from Cafe 101 for when the late night munchies hit.


Nighthawk Breakfast Bar

417 Washington Blvd

Nighthawk opened up in Hollywood earlier this year with breakfast-themed cocktails and a cool atmosphere, but quickly closed up shop due to a leasing issue. And we were left wondering if we’d ever get that boozy cereal milk again. Update: You can. The breakfast bar is back open now, this time in Venice, and better than ever. All the breakfast cocktails are still there, and they even have a full weekend brunch now too. And the Venice crowd keeps things even more low-key.



Beverly Hills
184 N. Canon Deive

The idea of grabbing drinks in Beverly Hills is something we wouldn’t wish upon on even our worst enemies. But sometimes, it just has to happen. Maybe you’re catching a show later at the Wallis Center or your mom’s best friend who you kind of remember from childhood wants to see you and this is the only place she feels safe. Either way, it’s happening and Citizen is finally here to help. There’s certainly a large restaurant component to Citizen, but the move is to go directly to their bar area, which has a fun energy and fantastic cocktails.



Highland Park
5630 N Figueroa St

All things cool seem to be congregating on Highland Park's York Blvd these days, but down on Figueroa, things have progressed a bit slower. Enter ETA - a small, relatively bare-bones bar making some of the best new cocktails we’ve had in awhile. With titles like Meet Me In Montauk and Nevada In The Middle Of Summer, they’ve got the name game down too. But seriously, get the In The Middle Of Summer - it’s spicy and wonderful. This is your ultimate nightcap bar.



Arts District
300 S Santa Fe Ave

You know that truly gigantic, three-block long white apartment building you see every time you’re down at Smorgasburg? That’s One Santa Fe, and it’s home to a new cocktail bar you'll want to start going to immediately. This area of the Arts District is admittedly not the easiest to get to, but Westbound’s cocktails are worth it. The Art Deco-ish interior that makes it seem like you’re in a luxury train car to Tahoe, and free popcorn never hurt anybody.



819 S Flower St

Give us a light-up, technicolor dance floor and we’re already in line. Give us a light-up, technicolor dance floor and intergalactic-themed cocktails, and we might never leave. Honeycut has been one of DTLA’s best places to get your groove on for awhile, but its new weekday concept, The Deep End, is giving us all the David Bowie vibes we could ever want. The music is great, the crowd is fun, and YOU’RE DRINKING ALCOHOL FROM OUTER SPACE.

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