We don’t need to remind you about LA’s great weather. You might even be reading this with your tiny dog, Pecan, from a floatie in your pool. If you don’t have a pool, you’re probably looking for a place where you can enjoy that weather. And most of LA’s patios are at-capacity hell zones where it takes 20 minutes just to get within eyeshot of the bar.
That’s why we’ve searched the city to find LA’s secret patios - relatively unknown places where you can eat and drink outside. Memorize this list, then work on finding a dog you can name Pecan.
Wedged between two brick buildings and a canopy of string lights, the patio at Far Bar feels more like Williamsburg than Downtown LA, and in this case, we mean that as a compliment. Plus, the modern sports bar has a massive craft beer list with over 30 different kinds of Japanese beer, all of which are $2 off during their daily Happy Hour from 3-7pm. They also play movies here from time to time.
You know of LACMA and The Getty, and you’ve taken pictures inside the Infinity Room at The Broad. But you might not know about the Museum of Jurassic Technology, its bizarre exhibitions like “Dogs of The Soviet Space Program,” and its rooftop patio. After you learn about Russian dogs in space, reflect on the whole experience with a cup of tea on the roof. Complete with gigantic ferns and a fountain, this patio feels like you’re hanging out in a riad in Marrakech, not across the street from a Ross in Culver City.
Stories is a bookstore and cafe in the heart of Echo Park. It’s already special that this is a place where people still go to read and buy books. But on top of that, there’s a shaded back patio removed from the noise of Sunset Blvd, where you can drink coffee, eat sandwiches, and get some work done (there’s wifi too).
This grocery/marketplace/deli is located in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Culver City, and you could easily assume it’s just another house on the block. Order an excellent sandwich from the inside counter and then head outside to the patio. The small space is surrounded by dense trees and a koi pond, so it feels kind of like eating in a forest.
On Fridays and Saturdays (or any night with a semi-popular band playing), there’s nothing secret about Zebulon’s front patio. But on off-nights, this Eastside bar/music venue is one of the more low-key places to hang out in the neighborhood. Located right in Frogtown, this string light-covered space is perfect for a nightcap after you’ve inhaled too many al pastor tacos at Salazar next door.
Pace Joint opened on Sunset Blvd. as a to-go only location of Pace, the popular Laurel Canyon Italian restaurant up the road. The massive back patio at the to-go spot is a great option when you’re with a big group of people who want pizza immediately. They’re open every day from 12-10pm.
One place that’s still off the main radar in the Arts District is Tony’s. It’s one of those spots you plan on stopping by en route to somewhere else, and end up staying the whole night. The old-school bar on the southern edge of the neighborhood has good cocktails, a relaxed crowd, and a back patio where you can play darts, foosball, and ping pong.
Solidarity is a family-run Polish restaurant in an old Santa Monica bungalow house that we like to recommend as an underrated date night spot. You won’t be disappointed with their pierogies, and the potato pancakes are also very good. Part of the allure here is sitting on the patio, which feels like eating dinner in someone’s backyard. There’s also a separate bar and fire pits where you can hang and drink after dinner.
The Toms store is basically just another spot on Abbot Kinney that will try to lure you in and sign you up for their newsletter. Bypass all of that and head to the back patio. One of our favorite places to get some work down on the Westside, this hidden plot of astroturf has scattered chairs and tables, plus a whole wall of wooden bleachers to sit on with your laptop. If you need a pick-me-up, they have a full coffee bar inside.
This popular sausage hall in Venice is still a great last-minute option when you’re out with a hungry group. And while hanging in their massive dining hall, eating rattlesnake sausages, and listening to a DJ is always a party, it can also get a little overwhelming. That’s when the lesser-known back patio is good to know about.
This Highland Park bar used to be a Masonic Lodge, and has the massive space to prove it. There’s an excellent cocktail list (get the Carmen #Six), a relaxed crowd, and an attached music venue if you want to catch a show. On the second floor, you’ll find a small front patio where you can watch all the people walking down Figueroa. It’s kind of like being on Bourbon Street, if Bourbon Street was actually full of people you wanted to be around.
The BBQ at Pearl’s isn’t great, but if you come to this completely-outdoor spot in the Arts District just to drink beer, listen to live music, and hang out all day on shaded picnic tables, you’ll have an excellent time. The whole setup feels like Texas, which is particularly appropriate when it’s 92 degrees outside.
Duke’s is one of the many overpriced, mothball-y seafood joints that line PCH in Malibu. But it’s also home to Barefoot Bar, which has a more casual menu, daily drink specials ($3 beer on Tuesdays), and a tiny side patio with unobstructed views of the ocean. Barefoot Bar never has a crowd (except for Taco Tuesdays) and is one of the few spots in Malibu where you can actually wear flip flops inside a nice restaurant.
Trophy Wife is a solid sports bar on Hyperion in Silver Lake. There are TVs in every direction, 2-for-1 drinks every day from 4-9pm, and a breakfast burrito that’ll help you soak up last night’s regrets. Their patio is dog-friendly and has ping pong, corn hole, and a photo booth.
While you can continue to brave the crowds at Mama Shelter, Dream, and whatever new rooftop hotel bar is opening in Hollywood this week, we suggest you remember that Filifera is down the street and there’s never a line. They have well-made cocktails (get the hibiscus gin & tonic), a full dinner menu, and fantastic views of the Hills.