Do your out of town guests a solid and show them LA through your local eyes as the real Los Angeles can’t be found at the tourist traps. Show them where the locals go, so they can truly experience what makes our fine city sparkle.
1727 N Hudson Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Set inside a 19th-century Victorian house, a ton of room for fun is revealed, and it all starts with the secret entrance. Once you’re inside, there’s a rotating roster of entertainment beyond the usual DJ or background music one might come to expect. At any moment, your eyes will feast on a burlesque show, jazz band, a tight rope artist, or even a pyrotechnic act in the back patio surrounded by castle like walls. For locals in the know, a signature Houston Hospitality experience such as this is one not to be missed during a visit to Los Angeles.
7321 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Step inside Hollywood’s glamorous golden years at Harlowe, which seeks to honor the past through Golden Age vintage décor, old black and white photographs hung on the walls throughout the bar and delicious cocktails that harken back to the old days. Harlowe (named for screen actress Jean Harlowe) offers a modern and sophisticated setting to sip down their specialty cocktails and tasty small bites. Famed New York bartender Dushan Zaric designed the beverage menu here with interesting cocktail names like the “The Evening Shade,” the “How Do You Like Them Spiced Apples?” with Clyde May’s Whiskey, cinnamon whisky, cinnamon spiced syrup, lemon, egg white, Jerry Thomas Bitters, mini Calvados apple, and nutmeg dust and many others. It’s one of LA’s best spots.
819 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
For the guest who loves dancing, drinking, and a lot of choices, bring them straight to the cut. Honeycut, that is. This is where dancing and craft cocktails coexist nicely, offering an extensive 50-drink menu that includes bottled cocktails and cocktails on draft that help to bring quality concoctions in a flash. In one room, there’s cocktails, a pool table, and places to relax.
10797 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
In this barbershop slash cocktail parlor, people come to socialize, converse, and even get a shave beforehand, all in one place. This is where the creatively cool and cerebral convene with a tasty beverage in hand. It’s the second installation of the East Village original in New York. From the outside, it looks like a typical barbershop. Walk in though, and be directed (or misdirected) to the door in the back that leads to the good, clean-shaven fun you’ve been waiting for. A handsome selection of cocktails, beer, and even grilled cheese await you. Truly, a bar that is a multi-tasking masterpiece.
107 E 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Paying homage to the “pearls” produced when shaking pure quality mezcal, it’s a bar that has been appropriately named Las Perlas. This Downtown destination features LA’s best selection of tequila, craft margaritas, and of course, mezcal. It’s a distinct drink that you either love or hate, but to understand its history is to appreciate its taste. What’s more is you can impress your out of town friends by treating them to a taste of Ilegal Mezcal, one of the finest small batch, artisanal mezcal’s around. Raise your glass with the ritual toast: Arriba, abajo, al centro, para dentro.
154 S Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91204
When you see this bar from across the street from the behemoth that is the Americana, you may think it’s a mirage. Truly, this is an oasis in the middle of suburbia. Bypass the tourist trap across the street and bring your guests to enjoy an inviting atmosphere, sexy spirits, and friendly, knowledgeable bartenders, ready to expand your palates to places it may have never been before. For those new to craft cocktails, this is the perfect place to receive a quality education. It’s owner used to work at the prestigious members only £10 before he decided to break out on his own, with quality bartenders from some of LA’s favorite bars flanked beside him. It’s the kind of place that you walk out of with a new favorite spirit or choice; one that isn’t found in magazines or billboard ads, just as it should be. That’s exactly the kind of effect they’ve come to be famous for.
The Roger Room
370 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
If you’ve just got one or two visitors to bring out on the town, this is where you’ll want to take them. Bring them on a weekday and come early if you want to avoid the weekend sardine can that’s inevitable in a 900 square foot space. A longtime local favorite, The Roger Room maintains its local charm, evident by the devout loyals that come back again and again for its unpretentious atmosphere, heavy-handed bartenders, and a killer list of cocktails. In a place that demands a little bit of intimacy with a few of your closest strangers, it won’t be long before your guests feel right at home.
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 will soon be launching m0th2flame, a fitness lifestyle blog. Keep up with her on Twitter for updates.