A good lounge bar is a venue that incorporates entertainment, dining and social clubbing into a one-stop shop. These are fun places to spend a few hours to mingle, unwind and enjoy intimate moments. Throughout Los Angeles, the more popular lounge bars are as diverse as their clientele, offering high-octane cocktails, live music, celebrity DJs and a food and cocktail menu that’s the cat’s meow. Don’t be surprised to see a celebrity tickling the keys at any number of the top-tier lounge bars in LA, especially if it’s located inside a fancy hotel. Here are a few lounge bars you may want to consider visiting the next time you’re in need of experiencing something new and different.
3954 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Billed as a clandestine gem in the Mid-Wilshire district of LA, this lounge bar of revolutionary design is where the cultural tastes of Italy, Asia and Cuba merge as one. This cozy venue boasts a chef’s menu that includes shrimp bruschetta, filet mignon, turkey meatballs and lavender-roasted lamb chops, among other refined dishes from acclaimed chef Rafael Dumas. Happy hour is offered from Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m., at which time mixologist and sommelier Igor Fedenkov concocts some of the more intoxicating libations in this section of town that’s home to several publications, including Variety and Tokyopo. A popular film location site for special events and movie screenings, Karma Lounge presents a colorful evening of straightforward relaxation.
Salvage Bar & Lounge
717 W. 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Tucked within the heart of Downtown LA’s Financial District on the ground floor of a 1926 landmark is where you find a pillar of distinction that joins hands with contemporary tastes and vintage elegance. This bar and lounge, featuring a perfect blend of marble slabs and old-fashioned paneling, was designed utilizing salvaged materials from the historic Roosevelt Building. Stretched out over three well-defined areas, the venue offers its guests an indoor/outdoor patio, an atrium that reflects beautifully the allure of an old palatial ballroom and a lounge. The best time to experience the uniqueness of Salvage Bar & Lounge is during happy hour, which takes place Monday to Friday between 3 and 8 p.m. That’s when select beer, wine and well drinks are tabbed at $3 and food menu prices are slashed in half.
189 The Grove Drive., Suite F-90B
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Reminiscent of a 1940’s speakeasy, this lovely facility features dark wood and the smooth sounds of Frank Sinatra, Billie Holliday and Bing Crosby, among other tunes from The Great American Songbook. Its indoor-outdoor bar and lounge are great places to relax after the close of a long business day. This establishment’s uniqueness is referenced to those private supper clubs of old Hollywood, whereby the art of dining is considered a form of entertainment and relief from physical and mental work. Guests are treated to a number of specialties, including Australian lamb burgers and grilled Scottish salmon. The beverage list offers an eclectic selection of libations to either lift or calm the spirit. Newcomers may want to visit The Whisper during a weekday between 4 and 6 p.m., when happy hour is in full swing.
Related: LA’s Best Weeknight Happy Hours
Montage Beverly Hills
225 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
A visit to this upscale venue is like spending an evening in a multi-million-dollar mansion where the great room welcomes you with designer sofas, ottomans, a roaring fireplace, baby grand piano and other luxurious offerings. Each evening at 8 p.m., the lounge highlights a different musical genre, including jazz and R&B, in live performances by such artists as pop guitarist Dylan Chambers, pianist Matt Weisberg and recording artist Brett Young. Guests choose from a menu of delicacies that includes chef-made charcuterie or beef and Fourme d’Ambert sliders with available cocktails. An alternative to this ritzy experience starts earlier in the day at 4 p.m., when the bar’s chefs roll out masterful presentations of sushi, sashimi and other epicurean dishes.
1111 2nd St.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
If you ever want to see what the seabirds or para-sailers view when they’re soaring high above the Santa Monica Bay, then enter the chic Huntley Hotel and take an ear-popping elevator ride to the 18th floor. When doors to your lift open, you’ll witness the most picturesque, panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Bay, Malibu Beach and Santa Monica Mountains. After sunset, the twinkling lights of distant Hollywood can be seen as you enjoy fine dining in this stunning restaurant, bar and lounge. This state-of-the-art social trifecta features an interior design most people may only see in the movies. Visitors are entertained by a menu of contemporary cuisine, specialty cocktails and a DJ to make certain your experience in this beachfront community is something you’ll dream about for a very long time.
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.