Where To Drink In LA During The Holidays
Countdown to the holidays with a cocktail (or three) at these 10 spots.
Grabbing drinks during the holidays is a classic seasonal experience, like picking out a Christmas tree or getting yet another Chipotle gift card at your company’s white elephant. It’s a special time of year when dingy dives turn into festive, tinsel-filled bars, and the weather is cold enough to find boiled wine remotely appealing. From cheery drinking holes with tons of string lights to boozy haunts celebrating the spooky side of Christmas, here are the best places to drink in Los Angeles during the holidays.
photo credit: Here & Now
Here & Now
Here & Now in the Arts District might resemble a stylish train car, but don’t expect their seasonal pop-up to be Polar Express-themed. This year, they’re rebranded as Blitzen’s, a tongue-in-cheek concept featuring a spiked eggnog drink called the Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal, the rum-heavy Mele Kalikimaka served in a shirtless Santa Tiki glass, and shotskis for two to eight people. There’s plenty of bar food to snack on as well, like a “Thanksgiving leftovers” turkey sandwich and pigs in a blanket.
photo credit: Alley Lounge
Located behind Fin in Culver City, Alley Lounge is a speakeasy that goes all in on the festive holiday decor. Apart from string lights and a lifesize Santa figurine that stares into our souls, the bar offers a list of holiday cocktails, including the Candy Cane Crush with rum, candy cane syrup, and coconut cream, and a cranberry Moscow Mule called the Mule Tide.
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photo credit: Capri Club
This Eagle Rock aperitivo bar is known for its loud, buzzy, and borderline chaotic scene, but that’s usually every drinking spot on the days leading up to Christmas. Capri Club is setting the mood with red lighting, lots of tinsel, and peppermint espresso martinis. Other seasonal cocktails include hot toddies and irish coffee made with coffee amaro, which you can sip alongside a platter of amaro cookies.
photo credit: The Green Room
The Green Room
The Green Room is a reservation-only lounge inside The Castaway, a Valley institution with sweeping views of idyllic Burbank. It’s also a great option for elaborate, fancy cocktails in an intimate space, which has temporarily been transformed into a “Winter Wonderland” pop-up. The bar is mixing movie-themed cocktails like the Rebel Without A Claus, made with gin and peach schnapps.
photo credit: The Grove
The Fountain Bar
The Fountain Bar has long been a refuge for disgruntled retail workers or anyone who has been dragged to The Grove against their will. But this small outdoor bar is one of the most Christmas-y spots you could drink at in Los Angeles, and there’s not a single strand of tinsel in sight. It’s simply positioned smack dab in front of the Grove’s gargantuan Christmas tree, which means you can simultaneously drink a martini, listen to Christmas hits, and kill time as your significant other enters the trenches (a.k.a. the Nordstrom shoe section).
photo credit: Krampus Cove Pop-Up
Hollywood’s Lost Property is hosting a darker-than-usual holiday party based on Krampus, a scary folkloric character that looks like Mr. Tumnus’s cousin from hell. Expect black Christmas trees adorned with doll heads, reindeer skulls, and on-brand cocktails like the Violent Night made with mezcal, purple sweet potato, and pumpkin pie spice. Get tickets to this spooky pop-up event here.
The Mermaid is a Little Tokyo dive bar that’s also ditching warmth and cheeriness for a more sinister approach to Christmas. Their holiday pop-up is called “The Siren Who Stole Christmas,” based on Pimu, a treacherous mermaid who lures sailors to their watery graves. But the cocktails at The Mermaid remain fun, festive, and full of rum, like the Spicy Cold Chocolate with white rum and coconut cream, and the Toddy Tonic, made with rum-infused orange tea.
photo credit: Genevieve Adams / www.ideamagician.com
Melrose Umbrella Co
Melrose Umbrella Co. is a cozy spot to grab a drink year-round, but its list of seasonal holiday cocktails really adds to the experience this time of year. The warmly lit WeHo bar is offering mulled wine, spiked eggnog with brandy and aged rum, and a hot buttered scotch (served hot, of course) with cinnamon, nutmeg, and browned butter.
This massive, upscale DTLA restaurant used to be an abandoned church, which for some, might be the closest they’ll get to a religious institution this holiday season. It also happens to be a gorgeous space with two bars serving an extensive holiday cocktail menu, including the Charlie Chaplin Christmas with apricot wine and Bombay Bramble, a coquito with Licor 43, and a Jack Daniels-infused pumpkin punch.
photo credit: Eugene Lee
Don’t let the name fool you––Big Bar isn’t that big. Tucked away inside The Alcove in Los Feliz, this cramped cocktail bar can be a tough place to snag a seat on weekends, but it makes up for it with truly excellent drinks. This year’s holiday cocktail offerings include classics like a hot toddy, an irish coffee with brown sugar, as well as a drink called To New Friends & OId Foes, made with bourbon, pomegranate, and champagne.