You already know about LA’s weather. Aside from the occasional mega-drought or June Gloom swoon, it’s basically perfect 12 months out of the year. And the obvious result of that is a patio scene that no other city in the country can even come close to matching.
But how do you make sense of it all? For every game-changing outdoor space, there’s a weird side alley with plastic furniture in it. You deserve better. Here are the 25 best patios in LA, ranked according to aesthetic appeal, functionality, and your ability to soak in as much glorious California ideal as possible.
Say hello to the best daytime patio in Los Angeles. This outdoor cafe/bike shop in Frogtown has been open for a few years now, but their sprawling, graffitied patio has only gotten better with age. There are long, shaded picnic tables filled with friends drinking beer and pitching pilot scripts, families fueling up on breakfast sandwiches or burgers before biking down the river, and solo laptop warriors there to soak up rays, listen to records, and maybe get a little work done. You don’t need to worry about reservations (because they don’t take them), and outside of a few peak hours on the weekends, you’ll always be able to find an open table or two. Maybe you’re planning a day date or hoping to show out-of-towners a version of LA they don’t see on reality TV. Either way, nothing beats a sunny morning or afternoon at Spoke Bicycle Cafe.
When we first walked onto Cha Cha Cha’s rooftop patio, something shifted inside of us. And no, it wasn’t lunch - it was the unmistakable feeling that this city was beginning to return to its former self. Massive palm groves hide secret alcoves of tables, a separate stand-alone bar for late afternoon revelry, and views of the Downtown skyline from nearly every vantage point. Cha Cha Cha makes LA look like a million bucks, and with a delicious Mexican menu filled with things like tuna tostadas, tacos, and mezcal negronis, it’s an ideal dinner spot for just about any occasion in the book.
Located on a quiet side street a few blocks from Hollywood and Highland, this upscale pizzeria feels a world away from the chaotic neighborhood it resides in. While we’d come here regardless for the excellent Neapolitan pizza (the place has been cranking out pies in Italy since 1870), the incredible back patio is the reason we’ll stay and hang out all night. With red brick walls, string lighting, a full fireplace, and enough trees to qualify as a miniature forest, this sprawling space has all the features you want in a great patio, but it’s the glass window that peers into the pizza kitchen that takes it to a whole different level.
The patio at Michael’s is the best on the Westside. Eating here feels like taking a journey in the jungle, but with white tablecloths and without all the bugs. The atmosphere is great, half the crowd has been coming here since they opened 35 years ago, and it’s the kind of place where the owner makes the rounds before holding court at his regular table. The California farm-fresh food isn’t going to change your life, the burger, roasted chicken, pork chop, and vegetable sides are tasty and fresh.
Do any research on restaurants in Malibu and you’ll find most places telling you they have ocean views and beachfront patios. They aren’t lying. But there’s only one place where you’re allowed to eat in Malibu with your feet in the actual sand, and that place is Paradise Cove. Sure, its gigantic bar food menu isn’t exactly memorable and the pricey parking lot might make your blood boil on a busy weekend, but the joy of watching your parents and other out-of-town friends realize they’re eating chilaquiles or BBQ quesadillas on a private beach on the Malibu Coast is worth the hassle. No matter the hour, be sure to order a pina colada.
LA has no shortage of fantastic craft breweries, but the reality is, most of them are either Downtown or in the South Bay. All Season Brewing, however, is smack dab in the center of the city. The cavernous new brewery is located in a former car service station at La Brea and Wilshire, and sports a massive wrap-around front patio, a row of skeeball machines in the back, and a Chica’s Taco window for when you need to soak up some of the alcohol. Most people here are drinking beer, but if that’s not your vibe, don’t worry - there’s a full cocktail list (including some on draft), and $5 well shots as well.
It’s not every day you’re going to be able to convince yourself (or anyone else) to drive up into the Burbank hills for brunch or a fancy dinner, but when it involves The Castaway, anything is possible. Yes, price points can get a little high here ($100 a head if you really want to get after it), but the meat-heavy menu is good (the charcuterie and cheese bar is a particular bright spot) and the views from the patio simply can’t be beat. So grab another glass of red, huddle up next to an outdoor fire pit, and gaze out over the San Fernando Valley, which until this moment, you never realized was so beautiful.
Ddong Ggo might be the smokiest patio in Los Angeles, but that’s also why it’s one of the best. This huge Korean spot serves bar food like kimchi seafood pancakes and honey-fried chicken to fired-up crowds in its outdoor dining room. You’ll see those dishes on every table, along with multiple towers of Hite beer and several overflowing ashtrays. You might not spend the whole night here, but it’s a great place to kick off a rowdy, booze-fueled adventure.
Whether you’re visiting LA and want to see CAA agents screaming into their cell phones, or have lived here for years and find screaming CAA agents cathartic, Tower Bar is a must-visit. Located in the heart of The Strip, this iconic industry spot is a rare hallowed ground where celebrities, fresh-faced newbies, and their anxiety-riddled representation all commingle and get as drunk as possible, together. The outdoor patio by the pool is a certifiable scene, so be sure to bring your biggest pair of sunglasses and sharpen up that side-eye. You’ve got some eavesdropping to do.
We’ve relied on the Arts District patio at Hauser & Wirth any time we need a breath of fresh air, a mezcal cocktail with a frog gummy sitting atop a nasturtium, a really nice salad, or even a ribeye. When you step into the expansive courtyard hidden behind warehouses, you’ll be met with chickens waddling around a coop surrounded by herb beds, fruit trees, and murals. There’s a good chance your breath will be taken away, and you might even say something like, “Oh my!” If you’re having a bad day, dinner or drinks at Manuela will probably help turn it around.
If anyone chooses a regular patio over a patio that looks out over the ocean, they are not to be trusted. Which is why, when given the opportunity, you should never pass up an afternoon at Ballast Point. Sure, the atmosphere is one ice luge away from being a Phi Kappa Alpha recruitment party, and you can find Ballast Point beer in any grocery store in LA, but once you get up to the second-floor patio, none of that matters. With panoramic views of Long Beach harbor and the coast, this is what drinking in California is all about.
There’s a reason that Margot is so popular - it’s one of the best places on the Westside to catch a sunset. It’s on the roof of Culver City’s Platform complex, and has excellent views of the adjacent train junction (if you’re into that kind of thing). There’s also a solid menu of crudo and tapas, but you’re really here for the gin and tonics - because they’re fantastic. On weekend nights, the crowd can start to feel a little bit like the line to get into 1Oak, so we recommend coming after work or for lunch.
After essentially being left for dead, a restaurant group swooped in and saved this Hollywood landmark from becoming condos for people who don’t even live there. Now, the massive, 100-year-old Japanese restaurant with the best patio (and people watching) in the Hills is back to its old glory-days status. This is an LA classic you should visit at least once.
We’re not sure why there aren’t more places to eat Southern food outside in LA, but as long as we have Alta, we’re happy. This West Adams spot has a huge outdoor dining room for you to eat your fried chicken and black-eyed pea fritters. The cocktails here are also perfect for outdoor drinking, because they’re sweet and refreshing, with ingredients like butter-washed bourbon and peanuts.
Anybody who frequented this historic queer institution in Silver Lake knows it has always had a great patio. That said, Casita has now tripled that greatness, with two new patios in their parking lot, courtesy of LA’s lenient outdoor dining policies now. All the tables are meticulously spaced out, there are string lights hanging everywhere, and tons of colorful umbrellas for shade. In other words, the ideal atmosphere for drinking one too many birthday margaritas with your friends and eating giant plates of sizzling fajitas.
Walking into the multi-level space on Wilshire feels like you’ve left Santa Monica and flown to the Mendocino coastline, where pine trees outnumber palm trees and all daily obligations immediately evaporate. As far as the food goes, expect a standard array of burrata appetizers, pastas, and big plates of meat that anyone will enjoy. It’s not the most groundbreaking food of all time, but it still tastes good enough, and you’re just happy to be on that patio.
Santa Monica has miles of beaches and yet only one patio that’s truly worth your time - Big Dean’s. This classic sports bar has been around since the 1970s, and though the design has changed throughout the years, the fantastic front and back patios remain better than ever. Big Dean’s is where you go on a lazy Saturday to watch some sports and end up staying all afternoon, drinking beer and eating one of our favorite burgers in Santa Monica.
Between its hidden courtyard surrounded by glass walls, huge trees that bloom next to your table, and what seems to be a Property Brother seated 100 feet away from you, a dinner at Phenakite is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Run by Minh Phan, the chef behind one of our favorite comfort spots, Porridge and Puffs, Phenakite is equal parts theater, pyrotechnics, and excellent experimental food. The nine-course meal changes monthly, and has included dishes like black sesame vichyssoise and swordfish that’s blowtorched tableside, all of which is served on an elegant, almost futuristic patio that feels like a room in Oscar Isaac’s house in Ex Machina.
One of the oldest restaurants in the city, this giant cottage in Atwater Village is where we fantasize Maisie Williams returning to when she’s not on the awards circuit or being amazing at TikTok. They’ve managed to retain that same, vaguely European and deeply celebratory atmosphere with their patio situation outside - a massive gathering involving multiple tents, cobblestone paths, and teacups filled to the brim with gin. Make sure to order what they’re best at - the kind of hearty pub fare that you didn’t know existed in LA, from a funky, creamy cheddar rarebit to two-pound hunks of prime rib.
Not all restaurants can say they served as a set piece in Rush Hour (or feel the need to paint that fact onto the side of their building). But then again, not every restaurant is Foo Chow. Over the last year, they’ve added a beautiful al fresco patio to their courtyard, where you can eat Chinese comfort dishes like sweet and sour fish and wonton soup while in the shadow of their large, jade green building and beneath a million swaying red paper lanterns. It’s the ideal place to bring a book while mysteriously flipping through the pages, or flaunting your sexiest outfit and channeling Maggie Cheung from In The Mood For Love.
Damian is a big, impressive Mexican restaurant in the Arts District run by the chef behind Cosme in NYC and Mexico City’s Pujol. And while the menu, which is filled with dishes like smoked clams with cucumbers, fish tempura tacos, and an extra-smoky pescado a la brasa served with tortillas, have few weak points, perhaps the most impressive element here is the back patio. The design is a mix of concrete walls and jungle-like plant arrangements that’ll make you feel like you’re in a less stressful, non-dystopian version of Maze Runner. Which, compared to the mess in our apartments, actually sounds pretty nice right now.
The days of Topanga Canyon’s LSD-fueled, counter-culture commune might be long gone, but there’s no denying this place is still weird as hell. Driving up from PCH, you’ll pass crystal shops, outdoor Shakespeare amphitheaters, and home-made art installations that have become local landmarks. It’s a fantastic, fascinating day tip and one that’s made even better by having lunch at Cafe 27. The almost entirely outdoor space is built into the side of a hill with a multi-level patio that feels like you’re eating inside the tree-house of your childhood dreams. But instead of warm M&Ms and juice boxes, you’ll refuel on omelettes, sandwiches, and a very good avocado toast.
Say hello to the best patio in Los Angeles. A dinner (or lunch, or brunch) here feels like you’ve left LA and are weekending in Austin. The laid-back space is almost entirely outdoors - save for a semi-indoor bar and a little area where you can smash your face against the glass and watch them make their tortillas. The drinks, tacos, and grilled meats are excellent, and the entire patio is full of people who are doing that rare dinner activity - having a legitimately good time.
If you’re looking to get a little rowdy, this outdoor beer garden in Silver Lake is always one of your best options. The space is large (though it fills up quickly), and people come here to do one thing - drink heavily. What’s one boot of beer when you can have two?
It’s not every day you wake up craving a meal in Palos Verdes, but when you do, go to Mar’sel. Located inside of the beachfront Terranea Resort, Mar’sel has very good (and very expensive) food, but you’re here for the views. When you’re overlooking the Pacific with Catalina Island off in the distance, there’s not much else to say except “More wine spritzer please.”