When you’re in the mood for adult beverages, conversation and eye candy, these are the places to go.
5574 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004
At this “salon de champagne,” all of your Francophile fantasies will be satisfied. You’ll dote over the Victorian décor, but you’ll j’adore the otherworldly concoctions made by the dapper gentleman behind the bar. DJ’s create a vibe that make guests want to linger as they delight over fresh oysters and champagne cocktails by the fireplace. Be sure to look up on occasion so you don’t miss a bird-caged performer descend from the ceiling for a little burlesque action. A sophisticated dress code is in place, so be sure to keep it classy.
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1819 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Located a few steps from the hotel lobby and extending poolside, Cameo Bar is a mid-20th-century take on a classic lounge that is not just for out-of-towners. The retro-glam design sets the stage for easy viewing of beautiful people. Sip signature cocktails, get some moonlight in the meticulously-groomed outdoor area and enjoy local DJs on Fridays and Saturday nights. This beautifully-appointed bar doesn’t ever feel overly crowded, and that insanely fresh scent they infuse in the air vents will captivate you.
Sadie Kitchen & Lounge
1638 N Las Palmas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Sadie’s is truly a diamond in the rough that is Hollywood. Look for Giovanni Martinez at the bar, one of the finest mixologists in the industry without an ounce of pretension in sight. He remembers his customers by name, and will always deliver a perfect cocktail every time, without fail. Enjoy the vintage Hollywood charm of this multi-room venue, including the gorgeous outdoor patio. Come here to start your night, and don’t be surprised if you don’t end up leaving. After all, the scenery is much better here than on the Boulevard.
13301 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Casa Vega is an iconic family-owned restaurant on Ventura Boulevard, known for recipes that have been passed down for generations. People come here for authentic Mexican food cravings, but they stay for the famed margarita list. Hollywood young and old are often spotted here, but all guests are treated with the same warm reception all the same. Oh, did I mention they are open until 2 a.m. daily? The next time you drive past this Valley institution on the way to your casa, do yourself a favor and stop into theirs first.
2640 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Clearly, the owners of this place like to call things as they are. The bar is literally in the basement, located underneath a genuine Victorian home that was plopped onto Main Street, to be exact. To get there, walk to the back and find a door that leads to a series of staircases. Descend down the proverbial rabbit hole, and find live music, a game room, chalkboard walls, friendly bartenders and drinks that will make you friendlier, too. This is where you go when you’re looking for a casual, low-key atmosphere with the kind of drinks you might otherwise find reserved for fancier establishments.
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Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Check out her other articles on CBS L.A. She also covers fitness on Examiner. Follow her on Twitter.