20 Mighty Fine Cocktail Establishments in Los Angeles, Late Fall 2015

When the weather cools down and the sun sets begin earlier, cocktails become a greater attraction in Los Angeles. Instead of fresh shaken drinks, imbibers pine for the likes of stirred, aromatic cocktails like Negronis, Manhattans, and Old Fashioneds (though honestly, those are good any time of year). Here now, a guide to where to drink cocktails (or beer and wine, if that’s your inclination) right this moment in the City of Angels.

1 The Walker Inn

Just behind The Normandie Club, Proprietors, LLC and 213 Hospitality have created what might be the highest concept drinking spot in the city. With a tasting-menu like system (either two drinks or a full on omakase), enjoy innovative drinks that conjure up a unique theme. Reservations required.

3612 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 263-2709

2 Redbird

Julian Cox has compiled a classic cocktail menu that gets their basis from decades old recipes. Everything’s been a little spruced up for the current century, however, which means that drinks won’t overwhelm the carefully cooked dishes coming out of Neal Fraser’s kitchen.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Daniels
114 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 788-1191
American Restaurant

3 Belcampo Meat Co.

This Northern California farm and butcher shop has a full service restaurant hiding behind it. The beautifully appointed interior, with light raining from its massive skylights, makes it one of the best places to grab an early drink on the Westside. With drinks designed by Josh Goldman, it’s one of the most compelling places for drinks on the Westside.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
1026 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(424) 744-8008

4 Cassia

Former La Descarga barman Kenny Arbuckle has a seasonal drink list inspired by the flavors of Southeast Asia. That means a gin, aperol, cynar, and Thai basil or a bourbon papaya smash mixing curacao, lemon, and mint.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
1314 7th St
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Asian Restaurant

5 The Chestnut Club

Santa Monica really needed an adult place to grab a drink and have a great time without having to battle lists or wolf down some food. The Chestnut Club is the perfect answer, founded by Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix, who bring a top-notch bar program (and rather ridiculously awesome spirit list) to a grown-up lounge that feels right any time of the week. The excellent tunes from a rotating list of DJs certainly doesn’t hurt the vibe.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
1348 14th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Cocktail Bar

6 Birch

Brendan Collins’ internationally flavored restaurant in Hollywood has a fantastic bar program, making this an ideal stopping point during a Cahuenga bar crawl. Of course, the drinks are much more elevated than what’s typical of the area, especially with bartender Gaby Mlynarzyck designing the menu.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Daniels
1634 N Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 960-3369
Tapas Restaurant

7 Cadet

Drawing on classics drinks but putting their own twist, Cadet has some of the best new cocktails in Santa Monica. Consider the Bardot, mixing bourbon with allspice and pineapple, or French Margarita, which uses mezcal and chartreuse.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Daniels
2518 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 828-3300
French Restaurant

8 B.S. Taqueria

Downtown is lucky to have Ray Garcia cooking up some of the best tacos in town at the moment. While you’re munching on those tacos, which use non-GMO heirloom corn masa for its tortillas, sip on a cocktails by barman Michael Lay, who previously developed the drink menu at Faith & Flower.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
514 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Mexican Restaurant

9 The Normandie Club

This fantastic bar from Proprietors, LLC and 213 Nightlife fuses the best of The Varnish’s speakeasy sensibilities with Honeycut’s approachability in a casual spot inside the Normandie Hotel. The drink list is tight and focused, but completely thought out using modern techniques. But the science doesn’t even really matter when it comes to the results in the glass, which are as good as you can expect from a top-flight cocktail bar.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
605 S Normandie Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005, Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 817-5321
Cocktail Bar

10 Osso

Two New York City vets team up to take over the former One Eyed Gypsy in the Arts District, sporting a tight menu of familiar dishes like fried chicken. Darwin Manahan, who was previously behind the stick at Pasadena’s Punch, has a great program featuring the Padre, mixing Ford’s gin, kalamansi, and lemon.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
901 East 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

11 Alexander’s Steakhouse

Erik Lund, formerly of Republique and Rivera, has built a solid bar program at this Pasadena steakhouse, making it one of the better places to grab a cocktail in the 626.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
111 N Los Robles Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101

12 Forman’s Tavern

This robust man-cave of a drinking den in Toluca Lake tends to lean toward quality spirits and brown-liquor cocktails. Bring your fur or flannel and hang out with the locals.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
10149 Riverside Dr
Toluca Lake, CA 91602

13 Petty Cash Arts District

Julian Cox has created a tight, but delectable list of drinks to go with Walter Manzke’s Mexican-American fare in the Arts District. Sip on the Rose Jose, mixing rose with tequila blanco with rhubarb and pink peppercorn for a refreshing drink. Or have a Blackbird, shaking rye with blackberry-lemon verbena shrub.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
712 S Santa Fe Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 624-0210

14 Sausal

El Segundo might have its best new place for cocktails in a very long time. With hearty pre-American rancho fare, the cocktails run the gamut of refreshing strawberry margaritas to beautifully stirred drinks like the Precursor, mixing gin, velvet falernum, and vermouth.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
219 Main St
El Segundo, CA 90245
(310) 322-2721
Mexican Restaurant

15 Everson Royce Bar

From the Silver Lake Wine team comes to top grade cocktail bar on a quiet stretch of the Arts District. Bartender Chris Ojeda (The Varnish, Soho House) makes classic drinks with a twist that go great with chef Matt Molina’s snack-like fare. Hang out inside or sprawl out on the back patio if you’re up for battling the cold air.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
1936 E 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 335-6166
Wine Bar

16 Viviane

With a fantastic, mid-century inspired interior by Kelly Wearstler, the Avalon now has a beautiful new space to sip cocktails. With refurbished classics like the Vesper or Cosmopolitan by barman Ryan Wainwright, there are almost no better places to feel like you’re in an episode of Mad Men.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
9400 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90212
(844) 328-2566

17 The Fiscal Agent

Julian Cox finally has a place to call his own. With a world-class team building some of the very best drinks Los Angeles has to offer, it’s worth the trek to the Valley. Make a reservation and go upstairs for this dark, intimate speakeasy after a dinner in Studio City.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
11801 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 623-8088

18 bar bandini

Echo Park has a dark new grownup spot for top-notch wine and craft beer. Thought it took a while to build out, Bar Bandini brings a seriousness to well-curated drinks, so come ready to ask questions. Or just order up and hang out in the worn-in feeling space.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
2150 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

19 Bar Mattachine

Billed as the first gay cocktail bar in Downtown, the pedigree behind the bar is as solid as you could get. With swanky digs and a friendly vibe, it’s a place for anyone in Downtown to have a great drink.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
221 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Cocktail Bar

20 The Rose

Julian Cox and Nick Meyer have put together an ideal casual cocktail spot in Venice, preparing a tight selection of colorful market-driven drinks that work perfectly with Jason Neroni’s classic California fare. Just be prepared to wait it out because the crowds are thick right now.

Photo Credit: Wonho Frank Lee
220 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 399-0711
Source: LA Eater