Have you looked outside yet today? It’s a horrifying thunderstorm with softball-sized hail. Just kidding, it’s sunny as hell, just like it is almost every day of the year. LA’s near-perfect year-round weather is news to no one, and that means every person who either comes to visit or lives here permanently is ready to take full advantage.
This city has more places to drink outside than it knows what to do with, but for every lovely beach-facing patio, there are two more places with rickety tables looking out onto a parking lot. You don’t want that. You want these places instead.
photo credit: Marie Buck
Benny Boy Brewing
Equal parts brewery, cider house, and beer garden, Benny Boy is the perfect place to wear a crisp white t-shirt and jeans. This new Lincoln Heights spot does it all—there’s a giant patio filled with wooden benches and tree stumps that feels like a grown-up overnight camp, pop-ups like La Prieta Mexicana and Big Lou’s BBQ operate most nights, and, of course, the beer is flowing. Expect IPAs, ice-cold Mexican lagers, bold farmhouse ales with fresh basil, and more.
Cha Cha Chicken
Cha Cha Chicken is a classic beach shack in Santa Monica that serves some very solid Jamaican jerk. But it’s perhaps most famous for having one of the only real BYOB situations on the coast. That’s right, you can roll in with beer and wine (no hard liquor), order all the Jamaican food you can handle, and lounge away the afternoon on their patio that feels like you’re day drinking in a much more tropical place than LA.
Located on the grounds of Yamashiro, Kensho is an outdoor Japanese wine bar with views that include the Hollywood Sign, the sun setting over the surrounding hills, and your friend making a mental note that you know how to plan drinks. The menu is filled with snacks like mushroom inari, a perilla bowl, and charcuterie plates, but keep an eye on their calendar, as different pop-ups happen throughout the week. Make sure you get involved with their excellent natural wine and sake as well.
Everson Royce Bar
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. 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 light-adorned backyard is the ideal Friday night for us.
Zebulon is one of our favorite live music venues on the Eastside, and their outdoor patio is a major reason why. Whether it’s to grab some pizza and cocktails while the sun sets or get some fresh air during an especially long acoustic show, the scattered chairs and tables make for a perfect spot to post up with some friends, drink too many beers, and take guesses on how many songs are left.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
One of the Eastside’s best not-so-secret patios (it used to be Cliff’s Edge) has sprung back to life thanks to Bacari’s ever-expanding footprint across the city. The sprawling back 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 a way that doesn’t make you embarrassed to say “farmhouse chic” out loud. 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.
De La Nonna
De La Nonna’s string-lit patio in the Arts District is full of big groups, laughter, clinking glasses, and the smell of crispy pepperoni cups. A DJ spins house tracks in the corner, and buttery, brown-edged Detroit-style pizzas are the centerpiece of every table. No matter how many people you’re with (or how many will stroll in late) the friendly staff will find a spot for your party.
Resident is an indoor/outdoor venue in the Arts District that serves cocktails out of an Airstream and food courtesy of KTCHN on the weekends—plus there are water misters hanging overhead to cool everybody down. When the sun goes down for the day, move indoors to their attached music venue.
We frankly could put any bar in Boystown on this list (Rocco’s, Beaches, Hi, Tops, and Trunks, we see you), but for now, we’re going with Stache. The mostly outdoor restaurant/bar/performance space has fun programming throughout the week, including bearded lady cabarets, Drag Race viewing parties, and nightly DJs. But if you’re in the mood to day-drink on the weekends, it’s all about the Wig & Waffles drag brunch. The menu includes everything from protein pancakes to breakfast burritos, plus $25 bottomless mimosas until 4pm.
All Season Brewing
After almost four years of buildout, All Season Brewing officially opened its doors in 2021 and gave LA something it’s never really had before - a brewery smack in the middle of the city. Located inside a former car service station on La Brea, All Season’s cavernous space has both indoor and outdoor seating, a row of skee-ball machines in the back, and a Chica’s Taco window for when you need to soak up some of the alcohol. Most people here are drinking beer (we love tropical Figure 8 Hazy DIPA), but there are tasty cocktails (including some on draft), and $5 well shots as well. It definitely gets crowded on weekends, but if you come after work for a few rounds, you’ll walk right now.
It’d be easy to assume that Venice and Santa Monica are lined with great rooftop bars overlooking the ocean—but they’re not. There is High Lounge at Hotel Erwin though. The rooftop bar right in Venice has great views of the ocean, solid cocktails, and a crowd that never gets so bro-y that you can’t handle it. If you want your best friend from home to move to LA, take them to Erwin when they visit.
In pre-pandemic times, this ultra-popular Malibu wine garden was frankly a bit of a sh*t show. The mayhem has come to an end with appropriately distanced tables and a six-person maximum per group. Now, you can actually enjoy your wine and their peaceful, ocean-adjacent backyard without having to worry about a stiletto going through the roof of your foot.
Spirit House Echo Park
When Spirit House opened in 2019, it was a tiny speakeasy, hidden behind a red curtain inside the Echo Park location of Sticky Rice. Fast forward today, and this cocktail bar has moved entirely outside to the back beer garden with music blasting, delicious tiki-style cocktails, and a Sunday fish fry courtesy of Lazy J’s. In other words, it’s the ideal day drinking spot. If you miss the fish fry though, you can always order from Sticky Rice’s tremendous Thai menu, and in particular, our favorite panang curry in town.
The Mermaid has long been one of our favorite dives Downtown, but now this tiny Little Tokyo spot has taken things outside with a front parking lot patio that’s quadrupled its footprint. All the more room to get a little sloshed on tremendous tiki cocktails. Open until 2am every night, The Mermaid is a perfect spot to hit after a dinner out when nobody wants to go home. They also have a rotating bar food menu with tots and queso, chicken tacos, and loaded nachos.
Come weekends, this North Hollywood spot’s front patio can get pretty wild. With a full outdoor bar and everything from cornhole to life-sized Connect Four, if your group of friends can’t find fun here, you need new friends. Plus, drinks are served in gigantic plastic goblets, and there’s a 2 for $2 more drink special (buy one drink and the next one is $2) that runs all day, every day.
Located on top of the Platform development, Margot is just as much of a restaurant as it is a bar. And while the food is solid, we love it most as a place to lounge, sip some incredibly strong gin and tonics, and watch trains roll by towards the sunset. Yes, it’s as oddly romantic as it sounds. Open nightly for dinner, as well as brunch on the weekends. Reservations encouraged.
photo credit: Wonho Frank Lee
There are plenty of incredible places to drink outside in Koreatown, but the outdoor patio at Ddong Ggo might be our favorite. Walking into this massive beer garden at 11pm on a Saturday feels like you’ve stepped into the best party in town. Everyone is drinking pitchers of beer and smoking cigarettes (a lot of cigarettes), and the only time they take a break from either is when a gigantic kimchi pancake hits the table. They’re currently open from 5pm-2am daily, walk-ins encouraged.
Santa Monica Brew Works
Open since 2014, Santa Monica Brew Works is the Westside’s only craft brewery, and it’s a good one too. They’ve recently reopened their massive outdoor space complete with picnic tables, string lights, and of course, an abundance of cute local dogs. They’re only operating on weekends right now, but keep an eye on their Instagram for their most updated hours, food truck schedules, and can releases.
Located in a converted Virgil Village bungalow, Melody is a tiny natural wine bar that still feels like a secret - and that’s exactly why we like it so much. This isn’t a raucous day-drinking spot, where one mimosa leads to ten mimosas and suddenly can’t find your phone or the bathroom. Instead, this is where you go on a first date to drink orange wine, or meet up with your best friend to try out whatever pop-up Melody has scheduled that night. The patio is open daily from 5-10pm.
Idle Hour Bar
If you’ve ever driven down Lankershim in North Hollywood and wondered what’s up with the giant wooden barrel, that’s Idle Hour, one of our favorite places to drink and hang in The Valley. Though we’ll have to wait a bit longer to actually drink inside the barrel, the good news is their excellent back patio is open Tuesday through Sunday with a daily Happy Hour and brunch on the weekends.
Spoke Bicycle is part cafe, part bicycle repair shop, and the most Eastside place that’s ever existed. Nobody should come here expecting to rip shots and day dance with yourself. You come to Spoke to sit around with your friends and discuss the outline for your fracking documentary, eat a fantastic veggie burger, and drink lots of wine and beer. Afterwards, rent a bike and head down the bike path. Currently open Wednesday through Sunday, 9am-5pm, with evening "Spoke Nights" featuring local craft beer and pop-ups running 5-10pm Thursday through Sunday.
The classic dive bar is located right on the Santa Monica boardwalk, and despite its highly trafficked location, always manages to keep the crowd local. Don’t expect anything fancy here, just cheap beer, solid bar food (their burger is one of our favorites in town), and a great front patio that’s actually on the beach.
Hollywood’s Mama Shelter is one of the most consistently fun rooftops in the city - they’ve got great cocktails, a solid wine list, and a surprisingly bearable weekend brunch crowd. Nights here can get intense, so plan ahead and book a table. Or just stick to weeknights when the vibe is calm, bar seats are available, and that after-work rum drink is hitting all the right spots.
Red Lion Tavern
Red Lion is an LA classic, and one of the only true German beer gardens in the city. This isn’t where you come to sample sours and discuss how many notes of apricot you’re getting. This is where you come to drink gigantic steins of cheap beer, nod along as your one friend tries to explain Australian rugby, and stumble out four hours later than you intended. Their menu of German sausages and other giant plates of meat will help you feel much better in the morning. Open until 2am every night of the week.
Do you really need to go to the tasting room of a beer brand you can find in any local Ralph’s? When that tasting room is Ballast Point in Long Beach, the answer is yes. That’s because this massive, two-story beer emporium has a sprawling rooftop patio with unparalleled views of the Long Beach harbor and the ocean off in the distance. Be sure to make a reservation beforehand and come hungry - their bar food menu is way better than it needs to be.
Downtown has no lack of rooftop pool bars, but the Upstairs Bar at Ace is still our favorite among them. This place has the best drinks, the best views, and a laid-back crowd that’s not going to throw you into the pool with your cell phone in your pocket. DJs on the weekend play everything from 70s punk rock to psychedelic pop. And there’s never a cover.
With an entrance that’s nothing more than a door frame on Sunset Blvd., El Cid is unknown to a lot of people and that’s what makes it so special. Walk through that door frame and down a 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.
Open Wednesday through Sunday until midnight, Verdugo Bar is one of the most underrated places to drink outside on the Eastside. It’s the kind of place you wind up at after being turned away from five other spots in Silver Lake and you kick yourself for not coming here first. The crowd is calm and casual, the craft beer selection is excellent, and there’s always a good food truck hiding out back.