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 sad, shadowy side alley with plastic furniture in it. You deserve better. Here are the 26 best patios in LA, ranked according to aesthetic appeal, functionality, and their ability to get you as much glorious California sun as possible.
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 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.
You come to ERB for the burger and the beer and the never-ending wine list, but you absolutely stay for that back patio. The Arts District bar/restaurant has long wooden communal tables for when the crew is rolling deep, and small tables off to the side for when it’s date night. With trees covering the patio and the requisite string lights hanging above your head, there isn’t a better place to be drinking outdoors in DTLA.
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.
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?
Have you been to Hollywood lately? There are construction cranes on every block. And those cranes are building hotels - a lot of hotels. Mama Shelter is one of them. This boutique spot feels like a Real World house, and their casual rooftop patio is the icing on the cake. Part restaurant, part sofa-bed lounge, part get-yourself-drunk-on-a-Sunday HQ, this patio is where our summer weekends begin and end.
Seemingly overnight, Highland Park’s York Blvd. went from sleepy neighborhood thoroughfare to a major restaurant row. And while Block Party might not be a full-fledged dining establishment, it has one of our favorite patios in the city. The expansive back space has a full-sized shuffleboard court, a retro hot dog stand, and all the tables in the world to enjoy the tremendous craft beer stock.
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.
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.
Bacari is a local mini-chain known for its excellent drink deals and solid small plates. But this location is special because of its patio, tucked away from the salons and Coachella-preparation thrift shops on West 3rd Street. Walking in feels like you’ve entered a portal into a European forest. There are trees growing every which way, and giant lanterns hanging from the ceiling, which add to the feeling that you’ve stumbled into a big-budget production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, except there are dishes like lamb-stuffed eggplant and ricotta and beet gnocchi (for under $10) instead of oversized fairies.
In a town of excellent patios, Chateau Marmont’s is by far the most excellently Hollywood. It feels like a movie set, is full of people who never take their sunglasses off, and even though we should hate it, we definitely don’t. There’s almost always an Olsen twin present (both if you’re lucky), and the food is much better than it needs to be at a celebrity “hot spot,” but we go here mainly because we like to pretend that we’re the type of people who can get away with wearing sunglasses all the time, too.
Rappahonnock is a fantastic oyster and seafood bar in the Row DTLA development. The massive complex (it used to be the old American Apparel factories) has more outdoor space than it knows what to do with, and this all-day restaurant has the best location in the whole place. Right at the main entrance, with an unobstructed view of a giant tree that looks like it came from the set of Avatar, Rappahannock makes you feel like you’re eating lunch or dinner on a studio backlot, not in the middle of Downtown.
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 food isn’t going to change your life, but that’s not why you’re here.
Firehouse is the ground-floor restaurant of a boutique hotel in the Arts District, and if that sounds like a snooze to you, think again. The whole place used to be an actual fire station, and from the second you walk though its giant red doors, that’s apparent. But with added string lighting, exposed brick walls, and a true indoor/outdoor feel, this giant side patio is also incredibly comfortable, and is exactly where we’re taking every date this summer.
Apotheke is an olde-timey cocktail bar in Chinatown, and while its apothecary-themed drinks are reason enough to come here, it’s their sprawling back patio that’ll make you stay. With its own circular bar, tons of chairs and tables, and a view of old industrial buildings that’s much cooler than it sounds, the patio should be the first place you head when walking into Apotheke.
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.
What All Time’s patio lacks in size and jaw-dropping uniqueness, it makes up for in sheer comfort. It’s the kind of place you can sit and hang out with friends all night - and then return tomorrow to do it again. This all-day cafe is a great place to post up in the late morning, eat an excellent breakfast sandwich, and get some work done by yourself. But at night, All Time transforms into one of our favorite spots to eat in Los Angeles. Get the focaccia, cavatelli, and the rib eye - and plenty of wine as well.
While Nobu down the street has the exclusivity factor covered, Malibu Farm Pier Cafe is all about accessibility - with views of the Pacific Ocean that are almost as good. Located at the end of the Malibu Pier, you can have a delicious lunch for under $20, completely surrounded by water, surfers, and tourists who don’t know how good of a deal this is.
Cliff’s Edge has been on a bit of a roller coaster ride the last few years. Update: they’re doing just fine. The food is still solid, the cocktails are great, and no amount of chef changes and menu swaps will ever take away from the incredible back patio. If you don’t want to eat dinner in a space that feels like a Jurassic Park luxury suite, we have nothing in common.
Though its ’70s heyday is long gone, Topanga Canyon still has enough roadside stops and generally weird things to make it worthy of a day trip. Just be sure one of those stops is at Inn of The Seventh Ray for lunch. The upscale restaurant has a patio straight out of a Narnia fever dream, and you want all of it.
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.
Yes, C&O’s is cheesy as f*ck and no, we don’t care. The family-run Italian joint steps from the Marina del Rey beach has a familiar menu that never disappoints and an outdoor patio that feels like a backdrop to a Woody Allen movie. The waiters just sang “That’s Amore!” to you and your parents, and will do it again in an hour. Welcome to heaven.
EP & LP pretty much went right from being open to being packed at all times. This place is a nighttime go-to for LA go-hards (and try-hards, too), and the rooftop patio has some of the best views in West Hollywood. The second floor is a full-scale restaurant serving decent Asian fusion, but our move is always the top floor (if we can get in).
Another vegetarian option on Abbot Kinney kind of feels like overkill at this point, but when you have a back patio like Plant does, there’s always room for one more. The enormous space is great all day, but the real magic happens when the sun goes down and the twinkling tree lights turn it all into the meatless Ferngully of your dreams.
Big Dean's Ocean Front Cafe
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.
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.”