bars in Los Angeles

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Photo Credit: Brilliantshine

In the City of Angels, a haute new club seemingly opens up every other week—but some capture our attention more than others. Here are our picks for the best new lounges and bars in Los Angeles, with honorable mentions going to the innovative new Chestnut Club in Santa Monica, the vintage-style drinking den Harlowe in West Hollywood, Upstairs at the Ace Hotel downtown, and the Ladies’ Gunboat Society at Flores in West L.A.


1 Brilliantshine

Brilliantshine, the first place that Julian Cox and Josh Goldman can finally call their own, is tucked away in an unassuming Santa Monica alleyway, but once you finally find it, magic begins. Naturally, given that Goldman is a former sommelier and Cox has created the libation lists for what seems like half of Los Angeles, the drinks menu is stellar (we're fans, in particular, of the Rye 'N Goslings). But thanks to a kitschy, cool environment—Brilliantshine is located in the space formerly known as Renee's Courtyard—an outstanding pedigree, a great name and a menu of nibbles such as red snapper crudo with soy sauce and peaches courtesy of Richie Lopez, a Peruvian chef who trained under Ricardo Zarate, this is hands down one of the best new watering holes you'll be likely to find in the City of Angels, and a place that you can equally enjoy during the day and late at night.
522 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310) 451-0045

2 The Nice Guy

The Nice Guy is an Italian-inspired lounge that are reminiscent of bars and lounges from the classic decades of a nostalgic era and includes a small sultry live performance area with a traditional Chef’s table where guests can eat, drink, and enjoy music throughout the evening (think Frank Sinatra crooning by your table). Yes, there's definitely elements of a mafia family joint here, but that's intentional (especially when you know that it's the h.wood Group nightlife gurus John Terzian, Brian Toll, Markus Molinari and Adam Koral of Bootsy Bellows, ShoreBar and Hooray Henry's behind it). Order delightful, vintage cocktails like Mothers Milk—Tito’s Vodka, house made chocolate milk, soda water Shaken and served over crushed ice—or The Lovely Lauren—Barrel Aged Maker’s Mark, Benedictine, Averna, and boston bitters served up—by the glass, or by the punch bowl for $350. Yep, that's one offer you can't refuse.
401 N La Cienega Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90048

3 Melrose Umbrella Co.

The Melrose Umbrella Co. is not, in fact, an umbrella retailer. Instead, it is a classic, oh-so-cool homage to the history of the post-prohibition era, and the rebirth of America’s culinary contribution – the cocktail. The building in which the Melrose Umbrella Co. is housed was built in the midst of the excitement of the demise of prohibition, after the 18th amendment was lifted via ratification of the 21st amendment. The iconic image that marked this momentous celebration was an umbrella with raindrops falling from the inside representing the promise of, Many Wet Days To Come…which you'll see, naturally, when you step inside the Melrose Umbrella Co. Here you'll find nods to the past: vintage artifacts, umbrellas hanging over wooden booths, fireplaces, old-fashioned subway tiles and 1920s-style apothecary cabinets. You'll also find a plethora of libations—both old-school and new—that will definitely wet your whistle.
7465 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles 323-951-0709

4 Honeycut

Alex Day and Dave Kaplan, the men behind Manhattan's Death + Co., as well as the team behind 213 Ventures (The Varnish, Seven Grand) joined forces to open Honeycut, a cooler than cool bar downtown. Pretty much anything you're looking for is here: there's the "Disco" room—think live bands, secret surprise performances, dancing and underground DJS—and there's a room for purists who want to enjoy pool and custom-made cocktails that are split into seven categories like "No Regrets" and "Left of Center." We're loving the "Snap Judgement": banana Aviation gin, Marie Duffau Napoleon Armagnac and 5-year Rainwater Madeira, which you can order shaken or stirred. We're also fans of the semi-secret location: to find it, head down the alley parallel to Flower Street, accessible from Eighth or Ninth Streets. Contrary to popular belief, you won't need a password—but wouldn't it be cool if you did?
819 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90017 (213) 688-0888

5 Brit Bar Lounge and Rooftop West at the London Hotel

Brit Bar Lounge at Rooftop West by Jaguar is a quintessentially British bar with amazing skyline views of Los Angeles that you MUST try now—literally, as it's only open through October. Located on the 10th floor of (surprise, surprise) The London West Hollywood, this rooftop bar carries bespoke Jaguar cocktails such as the Jaguar Britini and The Leaper, accompanied by a savory sampling of small English-friendly bites such as a Marrow Toast, Butter Poached Lobster Rolls and Weybridge Cheese. The furniture was designed by partner Room & Board offering a lounge like setting to enjoy the views. To complement the bar experience, Rooftop West, the neighboring eatery, features a gourmet menu, specially prepared by Executive Chef Anthony Keene, inspired by England's signature fare with a modern twist such as Scotch Egg, English Ale Onion Soup, Yorkshire Ale Fish & Chips, Pot Roasted Bubble & Squeak Branzino, Scottish Salmon and more. At Rooftop West cocktails are aplenty, from Pimm's Cup classics and locally-sourced handcrafted hard ciders to The London's signature new addition "London POPs"-- a fresh blackberry and vodka "adult popsicle." Pip, pip we say!
1020 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069 (310) 854-1111
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