Three Bars to Try This Weekend in Los Angeles

Three Bars to Try This Weekend in Los Angeles

Orbig cocktail from Gold Line Bar

Every week, Eater editors offer spots to drink over the weekend

By the time Friday finally comes, we here at Eater LA start to get pretty darn thirsty. After drinking our way around town, we’re here to be your guide to the city‘s best watering holes, whether it be a craft beer mecca or a hidden speakeasy for cult rums. Yup, we’ve officially become your favorite drinking companion.

Here now, three bars to try this weekend in Los Angeles:

October 6, 2018

For a TV-less brewery, beer flights, and board games: Three Weavers Brewing Company


Around the corner from the Inglewood Randy’s Donuts is Three Weavers Brewing Company. It’s an ideal brewery with up to 18 beers are on tap, ample parking, everything prepared on-site, a tasting room, beer flights, a dog-friendly outdoor deck, no tv sets, and board games. If hungry, they’ll let anyone bring in food from one of the local restaurants, including Equelecuá Cuban Café, which is only 500 feet away from the brewery. 1031 W Manchester Blvd A-B, Inglewood, CA —Mona Holmes

For speed, service, and quality all wrapped up in with a gorgeous bow: The Streamliner

Streamliner
Wonho Frank Lee

Much has been made of the new Western Imperial Beer Company space attached to Union Station, and rightfully so. It’s a glorious new Art Deco destination with lots of transit access outside and fun games within, but the real hit of the place is probably attached cocktail bar The Streamliner. That’s where some Varnish vets are turning out pre-bottled drinks done for accuracy and speed, hewing to the classics while offering warm conversation and a smile. Lean on the stuffed bar rail, order up a classic (and at well below the new $16 LA cocktail price threshold), and revel in a years-long recreation of an iconic space well done. 800 N. Alameda, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott

For fantastic tunes and no-fuss cocktails: Gold Line Bar

Gold Line
Wonho Frank Lee
Gold Line Bar, Highland Park

Highland Park might have a few too many places for cocktails these days, but Gold Line Bar brings something completely different: a wonderfully dark whiskey-focused bar with amazing vinyl tunes. It’s gonna be crowded this weekend, but come in early for a highball or Manhattan and grab a nice seat at the bar to take in one of the most impressive bar sound systems in town. Or head toward the back lounge and dance along with the mostly 70s and early 80s disco and funk that seems to be all the rage these days. 5607 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA. —Matthew Kang

September 28, 2018

For a Westside cool kid hangout: Elephante

Elephante
Elephante [Official photo]
Elephante

Head up the elevator off 2nd Street in Santa Monica and be transformed by Elephante, the rooftop newcomer with the stunning ocean views. This is the Westside’s coolest new haunt, with dual bars, snacky items to share like pizza, and some of the chic-est crowds anywhere in Los Angeles. Dress for success, grab a drink, and enjoy the sunlight. 1332 2nd St., Santa Monica. — Farley Elliott

For watching fish and drinking at a subterranean restaurant: Mrs Fish

Mrs. Fish
Mrs. Fish

In August, Mrs Fish went through a full-on makeover. The mesmerizing 5,500 gallon saltwater fish tank remains, but the former club added a Japanese menu and outstanding options for cocktails or whiskey. Try the The Toki High Ball made from a specially carbonated high ball machine, or the 30-year old Ichiro’s Malt, Single Cask #708. The staff is incredibly skilled and will ask detailed questions, which results in the perfect drink. 448 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA —Mona Holmes

For a sleek place to sip drinks and nibble on pricey Japanese fish: Nobu LA

Barrel-aged Kikori old fashioned
Matthew Kang
Barrel-aged Kikori old fashioned

Is there a more cliche place than Nobu? It’s dark, clubby, expensive, and filled with attractive people. It’s a formula that generally seems to work in most major world cities, and the one here on La Cienega is no exception. But what the serve here, despite tiny portions, is pretty good. The tempura king crab or the ponzu-covered salmon sashimi are delicious, and they work as a nice accompaniment to the barrel-aged Kikori whiskey old fashioned served in a double rocks glass and clear ice. Maybe ten years ago Nobu would’ve settled with serving some super-sweet cocktails but this old fashioned was actually really great, balanced and complex. 903 La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA —Matthew Kang

September 14, 2018

For a bar that just happens to have a restaurant attached: Bavel

Bar at Bavel
Jakob Layman
Bar at Bavel

Everyone is fawning over Ori Menashe’s food at Bavel these days, and for good reason. The pan-Middle Eastern flavors pop here just like the flavors at sister restaurant Bestia, but what sets this newcomer apart is the bar. This time the drinking area is practically self-contained thanks to a tall banquette and slight remove from the open kitchen, meaning drinkers looking for fun summertime sips to cut through the richness on the plate can do so without needing to crowd into the dining room. Next time consider bellying up for a drink at Bavel — oh, and maybe just a nibble too. 500 Mateo St., Arts District. — Farley Elliott

For a Sherman Oaks drinking institution: Casa Vega

Bar at Casa Vega
Wonho Frank Lee
Bar at Casa Vega

As the last gasps of summer come upon the city this weekend, it’s important to savor every sip. That’s exactly the idea with the inexpensive margaritas and old school service inside Casa Vega, the longstanding Sherman Oaks casual Mexican institution. Step into the dim interior and grab a margarita or three, then top it off with some blasting AC and plenty of chips and salsa. Sounds like a perfect way to end a final Los Angeles heat wave. 13301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. — Farley Elliott

One of the most reliable and unsung restaurant bars in LA: Sotto

Sotto
Mary Costa

Sotto might’ve been one of the first places to champion excellent amaro in the city, and they still use the bitter Italian liqueur in things like a Shandy Cohen, with Aperol and Peroni, or the a Sparkling Manhattan, which mixes rye with Cynar 70. Have a few snacks like the excellent chickpea panelle or share a whole margarita pizza before finishing the meal with a bit more of that amaro as a digestivo. 9575 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035 —Matthew Kang

September 7, 2018

For eyebrow-raising wine: Cosa Buona

Bar at Cosa Buona
Wonho Frank Lee
Bar at Cosa Buona

Cosa Buona has a reputation as a pizza and mozzarella sticks kind of joint — which of course it is. But to not consider the bar would be to diminish the more-than-reputable wine list, which comes filled with young producers and interesting bottles of natural wine. Plus, the ability to down glass after glass on the cheap, and couple it with those pizzas, is something particularly special for Los Angeles to be able to enjoy. 2100 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. — Farley Elliott

For drinks at one of LA’s oldest venues: Fais Dodo

Fais Dodo

Fais Dodo is one of LA’s oldest low-key clubs. Set in a former bank building, the club keeps two separate stages, where known and obscure musicians, burlesque, poets, or comedians perform on the regular. On the right night, the burgundy-colored main room transcends to another era where jazz was king, and people lingered for hours while taking in the sounds. Drinks are mostly beer, wine, and cocktails with soju. Eat beforehand, and prepare for the insufferable parking situation, unless arriving early. 5257 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA — Mona Holmes

For terrific breezy craft beers in the heart of La Brea: 6th & La Brea

6th & La Brea
Artisanal Brewer’s Collective
6th & La Brea

Mid-City can be a bit of a dead zone when it comes to quality spots. Along La Brea, there’s Republique, Ody + Penelope, and the sort-of forgotten Commerson. Kass is coming in soon from former Ortolan chef Christophe Eme, but otherwise the stretch feels a bit sleepy after 6 p.m. Except for 6th & La Brea, which seems to have figured out exactly what the neighborhood wanted: a casual place for drinks and bites that doesn’t require reservations. The pub brews some of its beer on premises, which gives it an ultra freshness. Try the happy hour cream ale for something light, refreshing with a crisp richness to start the weekend. 600 S. La Brea Avenue. Los Angeles, CA. —Matthew Kang

August 31, 2018

For truly old-school cocktails, vibes, and steaks: Chez Jay

Chez Jay, Santa Monica
Elizabeth Daniels
Chez Jay, Santa Monica

Over the last 59 years, Chez Jay kept a front row seat to Santa Monica’s transformation. As one of LA’s best-known classic dive bars, Chez Jay has been serving locals and celebrities for decades, yet never changes. This LA spot does classic cocktails, beers on tap, classic steaks, and seafood. It’s a half block away from the Santa Monica Pier, and only steps away from the incredible Tongva Park. They even installed a new patio called “Jay’s Landing” that overlooks it. The peanuts are free. 1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA — Mona Holmes

For a weekend drive with booze at the end: Blinking Owl Distillery

Blinking Owl Distillery
Blinking Owl Distillery

Feel like getting out of town for the weekend? Consider Blinking Owl Distillery down in Orange County. The upstart Santa Ana option does weekend tastings and tours so drinkers can catch a glimpse of the process at work, while also offering a lounging area to enjoy the drinks on site. There’s whiskey, gin, a variety of vodkas, and more — and best of all, the ingredients all come from California. 802 E. Washington Ave., Santa Ana, CA. — Farley Elliott

For a midcentury steakhouse bar just steps from the beach: Golden Bull


Golden Bull [official photo]
Golden Bull, Santa Monica

There’s nothing like an ice cold, freshly stirred gin martini to preface a big steak meal. It’s a reminder of simpler times, albeit with a fresh coat of paint, new banquettes, and a friendly smile with the service. Restaurateur Mark Verge took over ownership of this Santa Monica neighborhood favorite and installed kitchen veteran Greg Daniels to helm the menu. The results are fantastic, with one of the best new prime ribs in town and well-prepared appetizers that belie the old school surroundings. Just be sure to start with a stiff drink at the bar before it all begins. 170 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA —Matthew Kang

August 24, 2018

For the busiest new bar in Highland Park: Otoño

Otono Otoño Los Angeles
Wonho Frank Lee
Bar at Otoño

Step into Highland Park’s new Otoño any time in the early evening, and just try to grab a seat at the bar. It’s an almost Herculean effort, given the crowd that has formed around the front-of-the-room setup, vying for position and drinks and slabs of pan con tomate. There’s room on the menu for gin and tonic and Aperol spritzes and all sorts of still-summery stuff, making Otoño feel even more at home as the sun fades away off Figueroa. Can’t find a stool to sit on? Try the tiny lounge tucked away in the very front, or double down and go with a full table and a complete Spanish experience. 5715 N. Figueroa St.., Highland Park. — Farley Elliott

For a hideaway bar with ample style: Genever

Genever
Wonho Frank Lee
Genever

Slightly hidden on Beverly Boulevard in Historic Filipinotown is Genever, a dazzling bar/lounge with unconventional drinks and a playlist and vibe that reads funky dinner party. Genver dims the lights very low, and as the eyes adjust, gorgeous details come into focus. Take in the customized art deco walls, furniture, pillows, and chandeliers while drinking Genever’s Sarsi Fixx, a mix of Aviation Old Tom gin, cacao, egg white, and a sarsaparilla cinnamon syrup. 3123 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA — Mona Holmes

For an ocean view to go along with cocktails: Onyx Rooftop Bar at Hotel Shangri-La


Yelp
View from Onyx Bar, Hotel Shangri-La

It’s hard not to shake the EDM vibes or the crazy tourist crowd of this rooftop bar in Santa Monica, but the breezy ocean views are pretty fantastic, especially with the waning late summer sun. The drinks aren’t going to be that great, nor reasonably priced. The service will be mostly helpful, though sometimes overworked. But stick to the reliable, the quality booze or easy-to-make drinks, and just take in all that fantastic fresh air. Then slink toward the back of the rooftop and enjoy a cigar to cap one of the summer’s last weekends. 1301 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA —Matthew Kang

August 17, 2018

For new takes on old favorites: Plan Check Fairfax

Plan Check Fairfax
Plan Check Fairfax

At first glance there’s nothing much different these days with Plan Check on Fairfax. The micro-LA gastropub chain is still selling fried chicken sandwiches and umami-rich burgers, but now this location has split the backside of its bar to a Burritos La Palma pop-up, and added new drinks to the menu to help round out the experience. Step through for a Oaxacan old fashioned or some mezcal served just about any way one could like — and don’t forget a burrito or two as well. 351 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. — Farley Elliott

For nautical drinks in LA’s most festive bar: The Mermaid

The Mermaid
Oscar Velasquez
The Mermaid

The Mermaid is the result of two women plotting a successful deep dive on an oceanic-themed bar. Compact and stylish, The Mermaid’s wines lists are respectable, as are the West Coast IPAs, pale ales, and cider. While nursing the Absolut salty dog snow cone, prepare to stare for hours at the port TV hole which broadcasts mermaids on a continuous loop. 428 E. 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA — Mona Holmes

For a smart-looking lounge with excellent wines too: Tesse


Wonho Frank Lee
Cocktail at Tesse

One of the more underrated developments in LA’s cocktail scene is the emphasis on more of a lounge setup versus counters or higher tables. It’s a refreshing trend that lends toward a better drinking experience, and it’s a credit to restaurants and bars looking to accommodate versus turn-and-burn. Tesse, the new restaurant from Bill Chait, Jordon Ogron, Raphael Francois, and Sally Camacho, takes a considerable portion of its floorspace and puts in some low-flung seating and tables. It gives Tesse more of an approachability and casualness despite a pretty striking interior vibe. And to drink, there’s Nick Meyer’s and Julian Cox’s seasonally-driven cocktails or Ogron’s creative wine list, available in smaller pours for better sampling. 8500 West Sunset Boulevard. West Hollywood, CA —Matthew Kang

August 10, 2018:

For a cocktail in a throwback speakeasy: Roxanne’s

Cocktail at Roxanne’s
Roxanne’s [Official photo]
Cocktail at Roxanne’s

Long Beach’s Roxanne’s has two personalities. During the day, there’s a Latin-inspired food menu, but the fashionable neighborhood bar with stylish bartenders comes out when the sun goes down. Knock on the telephone booth door to access the rear speakeasy, and try one of Roxanne’s pre-Prohibition cocktails made with fresh juices and small-batch alcohols. 1115 East Wardlow Road, Long Beach, CA — Mona Holmes

For a long beach weekend with beer involved: Ballast Point


Ballast Point

San Diego brewing mainstay Ballast Point is firmly entrenched in the Long Beach drinking scene. This fiercely independent city has in many ways embraced the big-beer-owned bar and restaurant, thanks to its mellow mix of classic beers like Sculpin and its practically unending views of the water. Snag a seat upstairs for maximum views, and let the pints come. 110 N. Marina Dr., Long Beach —Farley Elliott

For a classic cocktail rundown in Palms: Oldfield’s

Oldfield’s Liquor Room
Elizabeth Daniels
Oldfield’s Liquor Room

On these terribly humid summer evenings, there’s not better place to drink than on a sidewalk patio in Los Angeles. Oldfield’s has a nice one that looks out to busy Venice Boulevard in Palms, and the old time cocktail lounge does a nice job of crafting together sippable drinks that don’t feel overly fussy. Belly up to the oddly shaped but rather charming bar, soak in the pre-Prohibition-style environs, and take the drinks outside for that cool 10 p.m. breeze. 10899 Venice Boulevard. —Matthew Kang

July 27, 2018:

For a classy Downtown cocktail: Officine Brera

Officine Brera Interior

The big, open warehouse space that is Officine Brera may feel more suited to large parties looking to feast on meat and pasta, but there’s also something rewarding about spending a night sipping slowly at the bar. The cocktail list is a balance between classics and new favorites and the warm, wood-wrapped room invites drinkers to linger, making this a great hideaway from the hustle and bustle of some of the Arts District’s other busy bars. 1331 E. 6th St., Arts District —Farley Elliott

For cocktails, craft beer, and quality food: 6th & La Brea

6th & La Brea
Artisanal Brewer’s Collective

There’s a buzz about 6th & La Brea, the new ABC group restaurant located just north of Republique on La Brea. The corner is alive with chatting friends and families, most of whom walked a few short blocks to dine and drink, soaking in the patio or taking over large chunks of the communal seating. They’ve likely come to eat, of course, but the drinks are no secondary star. With a full bar as well as craft beer (including some being made on site very, very shortly) and wine, it’s hard to go wrong here, but start with a Five by Five with rye whiskey and fino sherry just to be safe. 600 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles —Farley Elliott

For vintage wines in a casual, candle lit bar: Augustine Wine Bar


Wonho Frank Lee

The bartenders at Augustine Wine Bar are never snobby. They smile, and in the midst of asking detailed questions, can recommend a dazzling glass of wine or beer. It is entirely possible to get a delicious and reasonably priced wine, but wine aficionados can also order a rare $100 glass from the wall wine menu. Throughout the cozy dimmed room are drinkers sharing intimate conversations without the need for loud voices, along with a farro risotto, tater tots, or charcuterie. 3456 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks —Mona Holmes

July 20, 2018:

For a Chinatown hang on a low key night: Melody Lounge

Melody Lounge
Ann G./Yelp

Melody Lounge is the kind of low key Downtown-ish hangout that Los Angeles has embraced for years. The place can get pretty busy on certain weekend nights and just before and after Dodger games, but most of the time the red-hued haunt maintains its status as a mellow destination for some of the best craft beer available anywhere in the city. 939 N. Hill St., Chinatown —Farley Elliott

For cocktails and Korean fried chicken: The Prince

The Prince
Alex T./Yelp

The Prince first opened as the Windsor in the 1940s, and took on its present name in 1991. The Prince feels both retro and sexy with textured wallpaper and dark lighting, but this no-frills bar packs them in with easy drinks and food like Korean fried chicken, shrimp fried rice, and Korean pancakes. Drinks are as nostalgic as they come, with blue Hawaiians, whiskey sours, and mai tais. And if that’s not enough persuasion, take comfort in the fact that TV shows like Mad Men, The New Girl, and the classic LA movie “Chinatown” were shot at this historic Ktown bar. 3198 1/2 W 7th Street, Los Angeles —Mona Holmes

For a sort-of new weekend bar destination: Bar Jackalope

Bar Jackalope

The best bar news ever might be that Bar Jackalope, the Japanese-style whiskey bar tucked behind Seven Grand, is now open seven nights a week. Previously the elegant, relaxed whiskey specialist was only open from Sundays to Thursdays, opening up to the swelling weekend crowds for Seven Grand. That’s no longer the case, as that wonderful balcony and refined lounge now serve every evening. What’s great is that they limit the number of patrons, which means those with already-purchase bottles, reservations, or early admission get to enjoy the room. And the best part? That balcony allows cigar smoking, perfect for enjoying with well-mixed Old Fashioned or Manhattan. 515 W 7th St #200, Los Angeles, CA 90014 —Matthew Kang

July 13, 2018:

For Echo Park mezcal that’s already a hit: Bar Calo

Bar Caló in Silver Lake
Wonho Frank Lee

Though it’s only been open for a few short days, word seems definitely out about Bar Calo in Echo Park. The Sunset Boulevard strip mall newcomer plays a Mexico City tune, with soft pink highlights and big, smoky baritone notes in their extensive mezcal collection. This sister restaurant to Ostrich Farm also does light bights all night, but the focus here is on drinks and good times – both of which are in easy supply. 1498 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. — Farley Elliott

For a fashionable bar with a vast champagne cocktail menu: Barbette

Barbette
Wonho Frank Lee

Barely two months old, Barbette reworked the Tinto Tapas Espana with some stunning touches. The Pikey and Jones owners brought in beautiful imported tiles, restored mid-century mirrors, and have one of LA’s most desirable patios. And while the restaurant is lovely, the bar is the place to be. Bring a large group of friends and try one of Barbette’s eight champagne cocktails, which are served in antique glasses for added glamour. 7511 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood —Mona Holmes

For Southern hospitality and plenty of bourbon to boot: Yardbird

Yardbird
Yardbird

One may think he or she isn’t a bourbon drinker, but that’s before an evening (or afternoon) at the Beverly Center’s sparkling Yardbird, the Miami import that comes with a heavy dose of Southern hospitality. With over 100 bourbons on the list that can be mixed into a crowd-pleasing selection of smashes and classic cocktails, there’s a little something for everyone. 8500 Beverly Blvd Suite 112, Los Angeles —Crystal Coser

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