The Top Spots To Sip In The Sun On Every L.A. Beach + What To Drink

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A handy guide to the best beach bars by area, as well as suggestions as to which cocktails to order. Hey, it was hard work… but someone had to do it!


ZUMA BEACH (MALIBU)

The Sunset

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 The Sunset is a little slice of heaven on Zuma Beach, a beloved locale for board short-clad surfers as it is a more sophisticated date night crowd, who come for the uber-romantic and—dare we say it—awe-inspiring sunsets that shimmer over the Pacific. 

Drink: The Sunset Paloma, Sunset’s Patron-barrel select reposado tequila, with grapefruit and fresh lime juice.

6800 Westward Beach Rd., Malibu


CARBON BEACH (MALIBU)

Nobu Malibu

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The scene doesn’t get much better than this Billionaire Beach hangout which is literally, and we kid you not, the hottest spot in all of L.A. (which is, incidentally, also one of the most Instagrammed places in the world). Sure, there’s a dinnertime crowd on site, getting ready to dig into to Nobu Matsuhisas epic Japanese cuisine, but there’s also a crew of people specifically here to drink on the outdoor patio, there as much for the fantastic beach views as they are to see and be seen. 

Drink: The Yamazaki Sidecar—Tamazaki 12 year single malt, Gran Torres orange liquor and yuzu juice, served over an ice sphere.

22706 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu


MALIBU PROPER

Barefoot Bar at Duke’s Malibu

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Surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku taught surfing in Malibu and spent time in the area where he was a lifeguard, competed in water sports and also appeared in over 28 Hollywood movies. Duke’s Malibu not only pays homage to this king of the waves, but also pays tribute to the early days of surfing in Malibu. Adding to the lore, Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, the real-life inspiration for the beach babe “Gidget” movie and TV series that sparked the California surfing craze, works at Duke’s Malibu as the “Ambassador of Aloha.” Basically, if you drink here, you’re getting a history lesson, some Cali cred and some sick waves (to look at, brah). Shoes optional. 

Drink: When in Rome (or Malibu, as it were, right)? Go for Duke’s version of a Mai Tai, which is made with fresh Hawaiian juices, two kinds of rum and… aloha?

21150 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu


SANTA MONICA

The Bungalow

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Nightlife impresario Brent Bolthouse has made it his life mission to create cool spots that are impossible to get into, and such is the case with our Santa Monica pick for best beach bar, The Bungalow—which is even more of an accolade, actually, because this bar isn’t actually on said beach (though you can definitely see it). It is, indisputably, the coolest spot in Santa Monica, thanks to fire pits, beer pong, ping pong and all kinds of other games, plus a home away from home—but better—vibe that we wish we could replicate at our house.

Drink: Try the Kick in the Junk—a mix of mescal, house-made chili shrub, ginger syrup, lime, pickled fresno and serrano chilis—which might just give you one if you have too many.

 101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica


VENICE BEACH

High Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Erwin

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High Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Erwin is another favorite that’s not technically on the beach, but we actually think that’s a good thing. You can gaze at all the beauty of Venice from afar without ever having to set foot on or near any of the craziness that makes it such a unique area… unless you want to, that is.

Drink: Maybe we dig this in part because of the name, but My Little Pony actually tastes good. thanks to its blend of Hangar One vodka, lime juice, basil, strawberry and ginger beer… plus it’s super fun to hear your friends order it.

1697 Pacific Ave, Venice


MARINA DEL REY

Whiskey Red’s

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Dock your boat and cruise into Whiskey Red’s, located in the fisherman’s village of Marina del Rey, the largest man-made yacht basin in the world. Tucked away on the west side of the channel just before the open sea, this bar and restaurant sits on prime real estate with an expansive patio and unobstructed views of the deep blue Pacific. It will be love at first sight (and sip).

Drink: The menu here is pretty outstanding, but you’ve got to try something with whiskey first, because, come on, it’s in the name. Our pick is the Kentucky Tea: Maker’s Mark, Cointreau, honey, lemon juice and unsweetened iced tea.

13813 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey


PLAYA DEL REY

Grain at Playa Provisions

Playa Provisions
Playa Provisions

Photo Credit: Ryan Tanaka

While the best views of the beach are available at Dockside, the largest space in Top Chef winner Brooke Williamson’s four-in-one eatery Playa Provisions, our favorite “beach” bar in the joint is actually tucked away, and it’s dark. Go figure. Grain has some of the best whiskey collections in L.A., a speakeasy vibe, a Love-o-Meter (you’ve got to play) and nibbles courtesy of Williamson. It’s the perfect place to while away a beach day.

Drink: Honestly, we’d recommend a Japanese whiskey or a Scotch, but if we’re choosing a cocktail, it’s got to be the Saddle Rocket: Monkey Shoulder Scotch, cold brew, oleo, molasses, firewater tincture and marshmallow. It’s weird but totally wonderful.

119 Culver Blvd, Playa del Rey


MANHATTAN BEACH

The Strand House

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Manhattan Beach is one of our favorite places in L.A. for a reason: yes, this might be a millionaire and billionaire’s paradise, but the residents are wonderfully unstuffy and the vibe is totally beachy while still being upscale. The Strand House completely embodies the best of Manhattan Beach by offering a slightly more elevated experience than most of the local beach bars. Add in some truly amazing fare from Chef Greg Hozinsky and the 180 degree beach views, and The Strand House truly becomes the one to beat.

Drink: The Ivy Maid—Purity vodka, lime juice, house-made simple syrup, Persian cucumber and mint—will hit your sweet spot on a hot summer day.

117 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach


REDONDO BEACH

Sea Level at Shade Redondo Beach

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Redondo Beach’s Shade Hotel recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, which is cause enough for us to head on over, grab a cocktail by the firepit at its eatery, Sea Level, and gaze at the picture-perfect, sweeping views from Palos Verdes all the way to Malibu.

Drink: While the “Give Shade” cocktail is fun (and aptly named, no?), we love the Georgia Beach: Cazedores blanco tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, peach nectar and pomegranate juice.

 655 N Harbor Dr, Redondo Beach


 

HERMOSA BEACH

Tower 12

Tower 12 is a relatively new hang that throws it back for the local community. The surfer vibe is strong at this South Bay hot spot thanks to vintage artifacts, furnishings and artwork that rep the laid-back surf, music and beach scene. Located on a second story deck on Pier Avenue with interconnected rooms that overlook the ocean and pier, Tower 12 is the ultimate beachside spot for sunset sessions, après surf and beach day cocktails. It also has the added bonus of culinary stylings from former Melisse Chef de Cuisine Brendan Collins, who serves up American fare with a SoCal twist.

Drink: It’s not for the faint of heart, but we recommend the Ironman; 40 oz. of Old Forrester bourbon, Bigallet China China Amer, orange bitters and creme de cassis served in a flask.

53 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach

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