The Patio Power Rankings: Where To Eat & Drink Outside guide image


The Patio Power Rankings: Where To Eat & Drink Outside

The 25 best patios in Los Angeles, ranked.

You already know about LA’s weather. Aside from the occasional mega-drought or stint of June Gloom, it’s nearly perfect 12 months out of the year. And the obvious result of that is a great patio scene.

But how do you make sense of it all? For every game-changing outdoor space, there’s a DIY side alley filled with plastic furniture. 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 sunshine as possible.


photo credit: Jakob Layman

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Everson Royce Bar


1936 E 7th St, Los Angeles
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ERB is one of those mythical places that just gets everything right. This restaurant/bar in the Arts District has fantastic cocktails, a massive wine and beer list, and bar food that’ll change the way you think about bar food—including one of the best burgers in the city. And yet, it’s the massive back patio that keeps us coming back. With a mix of small and big group tables, plus tons of space to stand and mingle, hanging out in this string-lit backyard is an ideal Friday night plan. 

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 the sprawling, colorful 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 listening to records and maybe getting 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.

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We never thought we’d say this, but the most romantic patio in LA might be in Westwood. Violet is a big French restaurant in the Village that serves expensive, fussy dishes that are pretty good across the board if you’re into the finer French things. The trout amandine, for instance, holds plenty of moisture and the almonds on top have the right amount of toast. But the real attraction here is the tucked-away back patio with lots of foliage, brick walls, and tile rooftops—it looks like a secret alleyway from the village where Beauty & The Beast takes place. It's stunning during the daytime, but we like it even better at night, when the strings of bistro lights overhead make the whole space glow.

El Cid is unknown to many, and that’s what makes it so special. Walk through the standalone door frame on Sunset in Silver Lake, step down the steep staircase, and you’ll pop out on a patio you’ll never want to leave. With two separate levels, plenty of seating, and old black-and-white movies projected on the walls, this is the ideal spot to take a table over with friends for brunch or stop in for a quick nightcap and snacks after a date. The dinner-and-a-show setup runs every Saturday and Sunday night, with solid-enough Spanish food that will keep everybody in your group happy. Once the show is over, grab another cocktail from the bar, and take the party outside to one of our favorite patios in the city.

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 lights, a real 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.

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.

Benny Boy Brewing takes everything stereotypically macho —beers, brews, fire pits, and of course, the namesake boy—and throws them together, creating a cool Lincoln Park hangout spot that feels like a grown-up summer camp. Equal parts brewery, cider house, and beer garden, this is the perfect place for big groups to gather ‘round, split beer flights, and contemplate taking an axe throwing class together. The giant patio is filled with wooden benches, tree stumps, and metal buildings, achieving that perfect industrial feel, as if it were auditioning to be a set piece in West Side Story. Plus, pop-ups like La Prieta Mexicana and Big Lou’s BBQ operate most nights.

From the thatched tunnel entrance and the ethereal club music to every server repeatedly reminding you that it’s “Tulum-themed,” there’s a lot going on at Ka’Teen. If you’re looking to get dressed up and have a messy, over-the-top night out in Hollywood, Ka’Teen is where to be. The mostly outdoor space is great for big groups, there’s a $495 bottle of Dom Perignon on the menu (if that’s your energy), and as for the food, the Yucatan-style menu has several bright spots. The ceviches and aguachiles are fresh and citrusy, the mushrooms in mole verde have a rich, spicy kick, and the lamb barbacoa is the perfect thing to put on the table, because everyone can build their own taco. Sure, this place is loud, crowded, and clubby, but it’s also filled with people who want it that way. Make sure you’re one of them before going.

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 spend the 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 upstairs patio, none of that matters. With panoramic views of Long Beach harbor and the coast, this is what drinking in California is all about.

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.

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 art installations that have become local landmarks. It’s a fun day trip that’s made even better with 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 treehouse 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.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

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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 feel a tinge of joy. If you’re having a bad day, dinner or drinks at Manuela will probably help turn it around.

Superba in Venice has always been a nice fallback for chicken-pasta-salad brunches, lunches, and dinners, but the new location on Sunset in Hollywood is an absolute destination. The food is good—they’ve got vegetable-y breakfasts with eggs that let you know they’re fresh and baked goods that remind you why the restaurant’s full name is Superba Food + Bread. And later in the day you’ll find salads, hulking sandwiches, pastas, and meatier things—most of which come with generous sides. But the space! If we didn’t have anything better to do, we’d spend every morning for the rest of our lives on the patio, picking at olives and reading novels where not much happens. There are enough citrus trees and yellow-striped umbrellas to provide the illusion that you’re somewhere in the Mediterranean. 

When you enter Fia from the street, the first thing you’ll see is the patio. It’s gigantic—an incredible space in Santa Monica that’s cozy and romantic, filled with wooden furniture, aggressive string lighting, and enough pine trees to make you feel like you’re on the Mendocino coastline. It's one of the best outdoor spaces on the Westside. The Italian-ish food is just OK (we prefer what's being served inside, at their "sister" restaurant Fia Steak), but the burrata, raw bar, and pastas get the job done. Crowd-pleasing and easy on the eyes, Fia is on our shortlist for high-stakes dates and life celebrations.

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.

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.

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.

The patio at Michael’s is a great way to experience the Westside. Eating here feels like taking a journey in the jungle, if you brought white tablecloths and did away with 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 in Malibu where you can eat with your feet in the actual sand, and that place is Paradise Cove. Sure, the 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 eggs benedict on the Malibu Coast is worth the hassle. No matter the hour, be sure to order a pina colada.

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 area. 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 or round out a rowdy, booze-fueled adventure.

Much like a 2003 romance/drama starring Diane Lane, Bacari Silver Lake is inspired by life in Tuscany. The sprawling courtyard is shaded by a thicket of trees, there are large, rustic tables in every corner, plus plenty of fire pits to keep you warm. It’s farmhouse chic, in the way we wish our shared backyard could be (we’re working on it). The menu is slightly less focused—there are Italian pizzas and burrata caprese, alongside shrimp ceviches, lamb kabob, and Oaxacan pasta. Bring a date who you’d like to see in warm, sensuous lighting, or come for brunch—it happens every weekend and, yes, it’s bottomless.

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? The Bavarian theme isn’t exactly subtle, but it feels genuine. And everyone’s having too good of a time to care about anything else.

De Buena Planta, a plant-based Mexican restaurant on Abbot Kinney, now has a second location in Silver Lake. It’s in a huge 5,000-square-foot space on Sunset Blvd. (in that little strip mall between Same Same Thai and Ceci’s Gastronomia) and packs in a tiki bar, tropical plants, and colorful patio furniture. Respectfully, it feels nothing like the Eastside— a cross between a Malibu Barbie dreamhouse and the set from Jurassic Park: greenery everywhere you look, people are doing shots of rum in the corner, and yes, there’s enough room for you and everyone you know.

Say hello to one of our favorite patios to take tourists. A dinner (or lunch, or brunch) here feels like you’ve left LA and are weekending in Austin. The laidback 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.

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Suggested Reading

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The Secret Patios Of LA

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Where To Drink Outside In Los Angeles guide image

27 great spots for drinks, fresh air, and more drinks.

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When the crew’s rolling deep and you want to head outside, these are the 23 best places to do it.

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