The LA Bar Hit List: Where To Drink Right Now guide image


The LA Bar Hit List: Where To Drink Right Now

The best new bars in Los Angeles.

In order to help you figure out which new restaurants are actually worth a visit, we created the Hit List, our guide to LA’s recently opened (and really good) restaurants.

And here, we’re doing the same for bars. Finding a great place to drink in Los Angeles isn't always easy, but instead of wondering where to find the right scene or get a decent cocktail, we’ve done the work for you by highlighting some outstanding options that are fresh on the scene. From natural wine spots to Hollywood rooftops and a dive bar that makes a great burger, these are the best new bars in Los Angeles.

New to the Bar Hit List (2/23): The Ruby Fruit, Baby Gee


Baby Gee

Baby Gee looks like the kind of old-school, divey, watering hole that would be welcome in any neighborhood: vintage checkered floors, a wooden banquette, and stained glass windows to keep it comfortably dim. But it's the small details that really make this charming bar one of the best spots to hang out in Long Beach right now. Some actual thought was obviously put into the reasonably priced cocktail menu—most drinks cost under $15, but still offer interesting twists like a basil sprig in your gin and tonic, or a dash of lemongrass in your whiskey soda. Bar snacks like toasted rosemary focaccia and burrata pizza drizzled with hot honey make you wonder why other bars don't serve better food, and the chill-but-packed bar area feels like the perfect place to possibly meet someone you might one day introduce to your parents.

The fact it’s been over 10 years since LA’s last lesbian bar closed is a discussion for a different day. The good news is that The Ruby Fruit has broken that streak, providing a welcoming, jubilant queer space that already feels like a tentpole of the community. Located in a Silver Lake strip mall, the natural wine bar is small (there’s a tiny wrap-around bar and a handful of tables inside), but the party spills out onto the sidewalk and even the parking lot on a nightly basis, turning a neighborhood bar into an impromptu block party of married couples, neighbors, bandmates, and everyone in between. With only about five wines plus some beer and cider at the moment, the menu is barebones, but if you’re able to snag a table, be sure to take advantage of their excellent snacks menu (get the smoked beets with ricotta and pistachios).

Taking over the legendary Gold Coast space, Or Bar is the latest in an exciting batch of new queer spaces to open in West Hollywood—in fact, it’s our favorite of the bunch. Yes, $18 craft cocktails are egregious even for Weho, but we appreciate the fact that Or Bar is more than just another 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 skews loungey, but not in a tacky, bottle service kind of way. There are plush, comfy banquettes where anyone can sit, gray drapes along the walls, and a giant, amoeba-shaped chandelier hanging over the bar. It’s retro, kitschy, and gives off the energy of a well-attended dinner party in Palm Springs.

Text ten friends if they want to go to a 1970s-themed Italian disco and chances are you’ll have ten friends show up at your door. So it’s not surprising that Let’s Go Disco is already one of the most talked about LA bars—and we’re here to tell you it delivers on its promise of kitschy, retro debauchery. Attached to De La Nonna in the Arts District (the door’s to the right when you enter), the colorful space is adorned with circular booths, neon lighting, stucco arches, and of course, spinning disco balls. While the dancing really gets going after 9pm when the DJs start, head over earlier to beat the lines and experience a more low-key listening atmosphere. You’ll sip tremendous cocktails at the bar—the sesame-leaf-infused gin martini is dangerously smooth—and gawk at all the design elements, then wonder why it took you this long to get into Italian disco music.

The perks of going to Cafe Triste are twofold: you get to drink eclectic natural wines, and you get to do it at Chinatown's neon-lit Mandarin Plaza. This wine bar from the team behind Psychic Wines will likely become the “it” spot for 20-somethings, wine drinkers, and anyone who can pull off spray-painted jeans. On weekends, the sidewalk out front is a packed, see-and-be-seen scenario where people stand around with glasses of gamay till midnight. If you'd rather grab a table, sit inside their moody, low-lit dining room, look around at the paintings on the walls, and snack on comte cheese toast or some country ham. Whether you’re a self-certified expert or don’t quite know how liquid can be described as “chewy,” the friendly staff will help you find something exciting and affordable on their condensed wine list (most glasses cost around $14).

This Chicago-themed bar on Sawtelle goes all in on the classic dive bar aesthetic: red leather booths, year-round Christmas lights, a jukebox, and plenty of games from pool to skeeball. The bar food is classic, too, including a very solid Italian beef sandwich with spicy giardiniera and a snappy hot dog that’s heavy on mustard and relish. You’re not coming to Tiny’s to feel like you’ve discovered the hottest scene in town––you’re coming here to savor timeless pleasures like cold draft beers, slushy cocktails, and big baskets of fries, set in a space roomy enough for groups. Also, the bar has an entire mule menu featuring a tasty whiskey mule concoction that’s $6 during happy hour.

We are so relieved to tell you: Power House is back and nothing has really changed. After going dark for a few years, this bar at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland remains unpretentious, kind of grimey, and still serves perfectly satisfactory well drinks. There are no heavy-handed gimmicks or themes, and despite its location, tourists never seem to find their way in, resulting in reasonable prices and bartenders who don’t hate you by default. That’s what makes it one of our absolute favorite bars in Hollywood, and an essential pit stop before or after the Hollywood Bowl. Like our own children or the humongous La Salsa Man on PCH in Malibu, we would do anything for this endearingly unremarkable bar.

During the day, Steep is a quiet shop in Chinatown serving fantastic teas and Chinese/Taiwanese comfort food in a space that looks and smells like a Muji showroom. But at night, the place transforms into Steep After Dark, a moody, low-lit lounge with tea-infused cocktails that are extremely satisfying and unique. We loved the refreshing chrysanthemum vodka drink made with cucumber and a drop of sesame oil, and the bolder black tea whisky concoction spiked with a housemade Sichuan peppercorn syrup. There’s also a short menu of drinking snacks, and the bartender might send you off with a small cup of high-grade green tea on the house. Steep After Dark is surprisingly mellow for a cocktail bar, making it a sophisticated spot to wind down the night.

What happens when you put a cramped aperitivo bar with a few leather banquettes and a vintage neon sign on a busy block in Eagle Rock? You get Capri Club. When it’s Friday night and you absolutely need to be seen wearing your vintage Jean Paul Gaultier while sipping an espresso martini, this place should be your number one choice. It’s total negroni-fueled fun. But be prepared to swim through a crowd of tipsy people who are already loitering in the narrow walkway to find an open seat. This walk-in only spot thrives on style and chaos, but that’s exactly why we love it.

When Clark Street took over Coffee Shop 101, they left the iconic diner on Franklin completely intact. Guess what? The same treatment has been given to Lily’s Bar—a cozy cocktail spot just down the hallway at the same Best Western. Formerly MiniBar, the tiny drinking den maintains the look and feel of a membership-only airport lounge in the 1960s: there’s a dark, wrap-around bar, a drinks menu filled with every classic cocktail in the book, and the ever-present possibility that you might go home with a pilot. OK, there are probably zero pilots at Lily’s, but it’s fun to dream. If you’re looking for a sexy (but not too sexy) midweek drink date spot, Lily’s is our current go-to around Hollywood.    

Oy Bar is one of the newest places to drink in Studio City, and yet, this dimly-lit dive bar feels like it’s already been around for years. Formerly called The Bar at Oyster House (hence the new name), this neighborhood drinking hole is now run by the Jeff’s Table crew with a menu full of excellent bar bites like a pastrami-stuffed quesadilla and a burger topped with hoisin ketchup and a mountain of cilantro. For drinks, expect well-executed house cocktails like a gin and tonic made with yuzu liqueur, Japanese gin white negronis, and a $9 Old Fashioned that’s only available during the daily Happy Hours (6-7pm and 11-11:30pm). Oy Bar is the kind of place you head after a sh*t day at work for a stiff drink, but it’s also worth noting that around 7:30pm, the energy here picks up—and stays that way until closing.

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The LA Bar Hit List: Where To Drink Right Now guide image