Moving to the Bay Area has hardly stuck me in a cocktail wasteland (there are world renowned bars like Smuggler’s Cove, ABV, and Trick Dog on what feels like every corner) but that hasn’t stopped me from missing some of my favorite drinking destinations in LA.
Here’s the definitive list of LA bars that you should drink at because I can’t. Ugh.
1) Corner Door
What we miss most: The dark and boozy drinks on Beau Du Bois’s thoughtful, inventive, and meticulously put together cocktail list and his knack for making such a progressive drinking destination feel just as welcoming and hospitable as your comfortable neighborhood dive.
What we miss most: Afternoons on their summer-perfect patio with refreshing seasonal cocktails. FTR, their produce is excellent, so it’s borderline criminal not to choose something fresh and fruity.
3) Birds & Bees
What we miss most: Not only does it have a crazy-fun vintage themed cocktail list from the brilliant Bethany Ham, the (quite literally) underground location is total mid-mod design porn. Swoon.
4) Hatchet Hall
What we miss most: Hours and hours of oysters and martinis.
5) The Living Room at Shutters On The Beach
What we miss most: One of the annoying things about good bars is that you’re usually not the only one there… Which means the price you pay for quality cocktails is having to deal with too much noise and too little space. Shutters is blissfully quiet. Whether you’re on their beachside deck looking over the ocean or inside lounging on one of their sofas, this place is unbeatable for having a legitimate conversation along with your drinks.
What we miss most: The Arts District is one of LA’s most romantic neighborhoods, and Westbound perfectly captures the area’s pioneering spirit. The chefs and bartenders bring fresh enthusiasm to everything they do, and they make a practice of going the extra mile in the service of playful themes and creative presentations.
What we miss most: The decor at Paley is some of my favorite at any bar in LA; subtly deco, tastefully glamorous, and beautifully detailed (if you’ve seen their table settings, you know what I’m talking about). Also, there’s something strangely enjoyable about sitting at their elegant marble bar and looking out onto one of the tackiest stretches of Sunset Boulevard. It’s like watching the snow from the comfort of a warm house. And their happy hour? TDF.
What we miss most: If it hadn’t been for Josh Suchan’s Instagram (@ice_and_alchemy) there’s no way I would’ve believed the myth of a decent bar in Westwood (since so many potential drinkers there are college kids, why bother doing more than adding a splash of coke to some vodka?). Regardless of whether or not the carefully crafted and impressively creative drinks made by Josh are fully appreciated by the 21 year old Bruins, we are certainly fans.
What we miss most: With a great back patio, ungodly good avocado stuffed grilled cheese, killer 70s music, and (most importantly) some lethal Old Fashioneds on tap for $6 during happy hour, the times at Davey Wayne’s are frequently TOO good. RIP.
10) Normandie Club
What we miss most: I can’t remember a time I’ve been here where I haven’t stayed for at least twice the time I meant to. For being such genius drink wizards, the bartenders at Normandie have zero pretension, and they seem genuinely psyched when their patrons want to learn more about drinking well. Also, their aquavit Bloody Mary. I miss it every day.