Grabbing a drink with friends, coworkers, or someone you bonded with in line at the DMV is all well and good, but sometimes life calls for a different kind of company - yourself. Drinking alone certainly has its stigmas, but when executed properly (i.e. with confidence), there are few things more therapeutic. You don’t have to engage in nonsensical small talk or pretend to care that your friend went on three incredible dates last week. All that matters is a cold drink and the peace of mind that comes with total solitude. Here are 19 bars where both those things are available to you.
It’s common knowledge that airports invented - or at least perfected - the art of drinking by yourself, so it makes sense that MiniBar is a great spot to throw a few back in solitude. The ground-floor bar inside the Best Western on Franklin is by no means aviation-themed, but there’s a classy, retro aesthetic that always reminds us of a members-only club in a ’60s-era airport. The cocktails are excellent (including one of our favorite martinis in town) and the bartenders all possess the unteachable gift of knowing to talk to you only if you’re in the mood.
Despite having a name that sounds like a lower-tier music festival outside Las Vegas, Electric Owl has quickly become one of our favorite neighborhood watering holes in Hollywood. The indoor/outdoor space is actually quite large, but when it comes to drinking by yourself, you’ll want to grab a seat at the front bar outside. It can definitely get crowded here (particularly during their nightly Happy Hour, where select beer, wine, and cocktails are all under $7), but in general, people will leave you alone. Plus, your mouth will definitely be filled with their tremendous burger - it’s one of the best in LA - so you aren’t required to respond to anymore.
You ex’s engagement photos just popped up on Instagram, and now you definitely need a cocktail. Snake Pit is one of our favorite dives in West Hollywood simply because the drinks are cheap and people will actually leave you alone. That said, if you want to unravel past relationships, one of the bartenders will happily listen. They also have an excellent Happy Hour from 5-7pm daily, with deals on well drinks, house wine, and draft beer.
You just got into your third fender bender in as many months and now all you’re thinking about is a peaceful life somewhere far away from the LA city limits. Go scratch that escapist itch at The Old Place. The historic saloon/steakhouse up in the Santa Monica Mountains has been open since the late 1800s (it was originally a post office) and feels worlds away from the chaos of your daily life. While we certainly endorse eating a full meal here, sliding up to the bar and taking advantage of their lengthy craft beer and wine lists is an excellent way to clear your mind and remind yourself why you chose this life.
Your coworkers are getting drinks at the sports bar around the corner from your office. You’re going to Nomad, where you can avoid listening to Alan explain how he would do your job. Nomad’s cocktail list is pretty lengthy, but we tend to stick to the classics, then order a dessert or two right at the bar. They also have several excellent “cocktails for two,” which are perfect for you now - and you right after that.
The best part about drinking by yourself at Chez Jay is that every other person inside this classic Santa Monica dive is also drinking by themselves. There are peanut shells on the floor, a jukebox that probably doesn’t play anything recorded after 1983, and a giant fish mounted behind the bar that always seems to be staring directly at you. No one’s going to tell you the steak is the best in town, but it is pretty good - and so are the lobster tails. They also open at 9am on weekends, if it’s looking like that kind of day.
Your car just got out of the shop yesterday and the check engine light is already on again. Time for wine. Augustine is one of our favorite places to drink in The Valley because the wine is good and there’s plenty of space to burrow in by yourself and silently curse the friend who convinced you to buy their cousin’s car. The bartenders will let you taste as many wines as you’d like until you find the one you want, and if you get hungry, there’s a menu full of cheese, charcuterie, and everything else that tastes good while drinking wine.
As the name suggests, this casual Highland Park bar/restaurant is a great place to drink when you don’t want anyone to find you. The fairly nondescript space on York Blvd. has a retro, old-Hollywood aesthetic, but not in a cheesy way that makes your insides scream. Instead, it makes you entirely comfortable with the idea of downing multiple $8 Old Fashioneds during their daily Happy Hour. And if you get hungry, they have a dependable bar menu to handle that.
Bar Bandini in Echo Park always seems to get the mood just right - especially during those times when you just want some wine and some silence. The wine list features predominantly natural wines, including eight on tap, and a reliable rotating beer selection as well. They also serve this incredible part-burrata, part-mozzarella cheese situation that you will absolutely want to finish yourself - another benefit to coming solo.
One of the most iconic beach bars in all of LA, Hinano never ceases to disappoint when all you need is a cold beer, a semi-invested bartender, and a pirate slumped over in the corner. Located right off the Venice Boardwalk, Hinano is the kind of place that feels like it’s 2am inside no matter when you arrive, and that’s ideal after storming out of your office this morning because your assistant just got promoted over you. If you get hungry, their burger is way better than it needs to be.
When you think of bars on Hollywood Blvd., your mind tends to conjure up images of soul-crushing tourist spots. Know Where Bar is not one of those. Located several blocks down from all the Walk Of Fame chaos, this true neighborhood spot has bartenders who will actually talk to you - or leave you the f*ck alone if that’s the energy you’re giving off. The cocktails are all good, the snacks menu is better than it needs to be, and it’s all tiki drinks on Tuesdays.
Plain and simple, The Daily Pint is one of the best places to drink beer in LA. The seminal British dive on Pico has 33 rotating taps, three on cask, and over 100 different bottles, plus a gigantic whiskey selection as well. This is a true drinker’s bar and also a great spot to catch a local pirate drinking a double-barrel ale alone at 3pm. There’s also billiards, foosball, and shuffleboard if camaraderie strikes.
Sure, your salary is great, but you just realized that’s about the only perk of a life in finance. Take a walk over to Bernadette’s. This low-key Downtown bar feels like you’re drinking inside your uncle’s basement, complete with palm tree wallpaper, 1970’s ceiling lamps, and one of those Garfield telephones. And if that isn’t your ideal setting for wallowing in your questionable life choices, we have nothing in common.
Tony’s is absolutely a sports bar, but one full of good food, fantastic beer, and friendly people who will make you feel better after your team chokes yet again. Their massive beer list rotates often and features California breweries, and their menu has plenty of options for vegan sports fans. Stay long enough and you’ll probably end up playing board games at the bar with someone who takes Scrabble way more seriously than you.
Located on Cahuenga Blvd. in Universal City, A Simple Bar resides on a stretch of pavement most people reserve for screaming in their car while driving home in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Give your vocal cords a rest and make a pit stop at this neighborhood bar instead. They have an excellent daily Happy Hour from 6-8pm with 2-for-1 specialty cocktails, a massive floor-to-ceiling TV, and live music several nights of the week.
Santa Monica has no shortage of tacky British pubs and corporate sports bars, but a place commemorating the life of Charles Bukowski, the LA poet and world-class drinker? Not so much. And that’s exactly why Barkowski is so special. The dimly lit dive on Pico has a casual neighborhood feel, an excellent beer list, billiards, and plenty of Bukowski writings hanging on the walls for you and the other person drinking alone at the bar to argue about.
It’s that point in the week when all human interaction makes you irritable, and the only solution is cold beer and hot chicken. Head to Crawfords. The Historic Filipinotown dive is the kind of place where you can sit at the bar or in a big red booth, stare off into the distance, and not say a single thing to anyone. Their beer list isn’t the biggest in town, but they always have a good selection of local brewers, and the hot chicken they serve at the bar is one of our favorites in LA.
You just got home from work and opened up your inbox to an email from your boss with the subject line, “Can You Get This Done By Tomorrow Morning?” Sure Diane, but first you’re getting a drink at The Garage. This former auto shop in Palms has a large beer list, solid bar snacks, and TVs in every direction for when you just need to stare blankly at sports for 45 minutes. When you’re at The Garage, all emails can wait.