There’s a common theme among some of the best cocktail bars in Los Angeles. When a cocktail bar refers to its bartenders as mixologists, then you know it’s a bar that takes its drinks seriously. The best cocktail bars tend to use fresh ingredients and can make almost any alcoholic concoction taste good based on your chosen drink ingredients. For drinks you’ve never heard of, try visiting any one of these cocktail bars in Los Angeles.
118 E. 6th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Recognized as the best cocktail bar in America by Tales of the Cocktail at the 2013 Spirited Awards, The Varnish is the type of place that will impress your classy friends by just knowing how to get in. It’s a classic speakeasy with a very “Great Gatsby” feel located in the very back of a French dip shop and marked only by a framed image of a martini glass. The libations here are made with old-fashioned style using fresh ingredients by some of the best bartenders in the city. Your favorite drinks are bound to be discovered.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Copa d’Oro is a trendy lounge with great happy hour prices and a large cocktail menu. The mixed drinks at Copa d’Oro are well crafted and even include the option to have fresh fruit straight from the farmers’ market crushed into your drink. The motto here is to “keep it simple and keep it fresh.” If you feel like drinking something that hasn’t been invented yet, these bartenders will craft something for you on the spot based on your poison of choice and favorite fruits, vegetables, herbs and nectars.
10939 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Serving up more than 100 different types of whiskey and a variety of bourbon, Bigfoot West is crawling with men who enjoy a good whiskey on the rocks or neat. The doorman describes it as a dude’s bar where the drinks are stiff and only $5 during happy hour, but the ladies can call it a whiskey lounge if they so please. With no kitchen or a single television screen to watch sports, Bigfoot West is more like a man’s cave under the guise of a cabin lodge. The cocktails here are creatively unique but definitely on the tasty side.
Related: LA’s Best Bars For Business Drinks
Cana Rum Bar
714 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
As LA’s premier rum bar, Cana Rum Bar serves up plenty of rum-inspired cocktails with Caribbean style in an atmosphere that takes you back to the prohibition period. The specialty drinks at Cana Rum Bar are fairly popular with drinks made from fresh juices, real fruit and some of the rarest rums and liquors around. The drinks here are so good, Cana Rum Bar has become a members-only bar for only $20 per year, but you can become a member for less than that during happy hour on certain days of the week. Given its exclusive nature, Cana Rum Bar has become a neat little spot to enjoy good company and some of the best concoctions in town.
Oldfield’s Liquor Room
10899 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Nothing screams classic cocktails louder than Oldfield’s Liquor Room, which has an ambiance that makes a girl on a first date feel like she’s being courted until she suddenly remembers what year it is. Owned by the same owners as Bigfoot West, this old-school lounge creates libations in a similar fashion but caters to a slightly different crowd. Either way, it’s great for days when you feel like throwing back a few with unique twists on classic cocktails.
Related: Best Bars for Networking In LA
View Best Cocktail Bars in Los Angeles in a full screen map
Niki Payne is a freelance writer covering all things Entertainment in Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.