Wedged between Thanksgiving and Christmas is quite literally our nation’s most spirited holiday, Repeal Day. Ironically, eighty-one years after the 21st amendment marked the end of prohibition, the “speakeasy” vibe is as popular as ever with many of the city’s most popular bars featuring old school booze and a décor to match. But if you prefer to get your drink in a more contemporary setting, the latest crop of L.A. booze halls has you covered.
Melrose Umbrella Co.
7465 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
While there hasn’t been much need for umbrellas in 2014, the Melrose Umbrella Co. proved to be a welcome neighborhood addition filling the void of Eric Greenspan’s much admired The Foundry. Thankfully, Greenspan still has a presence, supervising a menu of quality bar bites including his signature grilled cheese (Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese happens to be right next door). But it’s the booze that gets top billing at Melrose Umbrella Co. Choose from a menu of classic libations or better yet, let one of the expert bartenders make the choice for you. They always have an uncanny ability to figure out exactly what you’re craving. Melrose Umbrella Co. is packed nearly every night, which makes their excellent happy hour that much better.
Upstairs Bar at The Ace Hotel
929 S. Broadway
Los Angeles CA, 90015
Located inside the Ace Hotel, the Upstairs Bar is the perfect stop for people watching and fantastic city views in LA. With great drinks, the chill poolside scene is best enjoyed with friends while sharing an ample bowl of punch and the cherry on top: soft serve courtesy of Big Gay Ice Cream. What more could you possibly want? Upstairs Bar has quickly elevated itself as not just a spot for Ace hotel guests, but also a worthy L.A. destination for all.
7321 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Located in the old Crown Bar space, Harlowe is one of 2014’s best from the bar group that brought Silverlake’s The Thirsty Crow and Hollywood’s Sassafras. A tribute to Hollywood’s Golden Age, the bar offers an inspiring cocktail list as well as gastropub favorites like charred Brussels sprouts, and a French dip sandwich. With vintage decor and turn of the century photos adding to the old-time feel, Harlowe offers delicious drinks like their “There’s Always Money In The Banana Stand” with Dueling bourbons, Giffard Banane, orgeat, lemon, absinthe, Peychaud’s, and tiki bitters. A full liquor list, beer list and other unique cocktails are available as well.
5574 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
If you’re looking for a bit of Paris in the heart of Hollywood, Pour Vous should do the trick. As the next best option for those looking to experience the most romantic city in the world, cocktails like their ‘Marseille Can You See?’ and their ‘Le Mexicain’ with Cabeza Trequila, Vida Mezcal, Ancho Reyes Chile Liquor and Miracle Mile Yuzu Bitters keeps patrons coming back time and time again. Other offerings include Belgian draft beers, Italian lagers, sparkling drinks and a unique cocktail listing.
Related: Best Fall / Winter Cocktails in LA
707 E. 4th Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Leave the recently opened Dave & Busters at Hollywood & Highland for the tourists and save your quarters for EightyTwo. The minimalist Arts District newcomer offers the perfect union of classic arcade games and booze. While Burger Time and craft beer make an ideal pairing, it’s hard to pass up EightyTwo’s extensive pinball and cocktail selection. Bring your friends because it’s going to be tough to beat The Simpsons on your own especially after a few mai tais.
522 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Another year, another impressive watering hole from mixology maestro Juilan Cox. Along with partner Josh Goldman, Cox has made their flagship bar and restaurant Brilliantshine a standout Santa Monica destination. Inventive cocktails such as the Red Light Special (bourbon, lime crème de noyau, black plum syrup) certainly shine, especially when paired with chef Richie Lopez’s menu of Peruvian inspired dishes. If mixed drinks aren’t your thing, Brilliantshine has one of the better craft beer selections on the Westside and Goldman’s expertise as a sommelier is reflected in the well-curated wine list.
Good Times at Davey Wayne’s
1611 N. El Centro Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Ain’t we lucky that the Houston Brothers have struck gold again. Entering Good Times at Davey Wayne’s via a refrigerator door is like stepping into Narnia as imagined by your psychedelic obsessed uncle Lou. Essentially this is what a speakeasy would like if prohibition lasted through the ‘70s. Here, you can expect stiff drinks and large crowds (get there before 9 on weekends if you’re not a fan of lines). Whether you find a spot at one of the bar’s many thrift store couches or enjoy a snow cone out in the “backyard,” Good Times at Davey Wayne’s will certainly live up to its name.