Where to Find LA's Best Cocktails

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Where to Find LA's Best Cocktails

Whether you’re hoping to quench your thirst in what is allegedly the nation’s first mezcal bar or down some daiquiris at a members-only rum bar, LA is the city for you.

No matter what you may have heard to the contrary, it's simply an undeniable fact that a city isn't actually a city without a good cocktail bar or two. Hell, you could be standing in front of a glistening skyscraper at this very moment as a packed public bus whizzes by, but unless you have ready access to a serviceable whiskey sour, you aren't in a real city.

Luckily for the inhabitants of (and visitors to) Los Angeles, the City of Angels just so happens to be home to one of the most vibrant and varied cocktail bar scenes in America. Whether you're hoping to quench your thirst in what is allegedly the nation's first mezcal bar or down some daiquiris at a members-only rum bar, LA is the city for you.

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So without any further ado, here are our 14 picks for the best cocktail bars in Los Angeles.

For more recommendations for taco joints, fine dining restaurants, budget eating, strip mall spots, and more, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to Los Angeles.

The Varnish: An unpretentious speakeasy in the heart of downtown LA. You have to walk through Cole's restaurant to get to this old-timey cocktail haven, so grab a French Dip on your way in or out.

Copa d'Oro: This humble bar basically created LA's craft cocktail culture, specifically the "bartender's choice" where you pick your favorite poison and an ingredient, and let the bartender do their thing thing. If you're into smokey scotch, their "Smoke of Scotland" cocktail is required drinking material.

Toca Madera: Don't mind the lounge factor and the typical Hollywood crowd that tends to eat and drink here—stay focused on their glorious selection of cocktails. "The Great Wall of Mexico," with mezcal, velvet falernum, mole paste, and tamale syrup speaks for itself.

Las Perlas: Allegedly the nation's first mezcal bar, Las Perlas is home to more than 400 bottles of agave spirits. Take down those bottles neat or sip on one of the many different takes on a margarita.

71Above: It turns out that drinking 71 stories high is a great idea. Sip on cocktails inspired by LA neighborhoods as you look out over them.

Scopa Italian Roots: This is a serious cocktail bar camouflaged as a really good old-school Italian-American restaurant. Ask for their featured "spirit" of the night, whatever the selection is, and it will most likely blow you away.

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The Spare Room: How do you make a really great cocktail bar inside Hollywood's historic Roosevelt Hotel even better? Add a couple of bowling lanes in said bar and drunkenly bowl away.

The Roger Room: This bar was one of the early adopters of craft cocktails, which explains the cucumber foam floating on top of your "Tijuana Brass" tequila cocktail. Word to your liver: It is way too easy to drink yourself silly at this spot since all of the cocktails are dangerously smooth, so plan accordingly.

Seven Grand: When it comes to whiskey, there is no absolutely better selection in the city than at this upstairs bar in downtown LA. Its classy as hell, too, so feel free to bring a date and romance them with the subtle flavors of a 12-year-old, single-malt Japanese whisky.

Caña Rum Bar: Rum may be the world's most underappreciated spirit; let us change your mind. Head straight to this member's-only rum bar that's stumbling distance from the Staples Center and ask for a rum tasting.

Sonny's Hideaway: An OG Highland Park cocktail destination with a simultaneously classy and low-key vibe. Sonny's offers a solid happy hour with $6 classics like Old Fashioneds and Pimm's Cups.

Spirit House: While the San Gabriel Valley has been a national hotbed for regional Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines, it was devoid of a proper cocktail bar until Spirit House came around. Black Manhattans, strawberry daiquiris, and perhaps the best craft beer selection within a five mile radius.

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Harvard & Stone: Tasty cocktails, live music every night, and with a location right in the middle of Thai Town (so, right next to some of the best Thai restaurants in LA that are open until 3 AM). This is unbeatable.

Pour Vous: Your only option in LA for drinking in an old trolley car. Inside the Parisian-themed bar, classic and house cocktails are best enjoyed in view of the burlesque dancers.

For more info on the best cocktail bars in the City of Angels, plus more tips for where to eat, drink, and hang, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to Los Angeles.