Los Angeles

Los Angeles is not the city that never sleeps—instead it parties until 2 am (save for the secret after-hours parties at private clubs or warehouses), and wakes up to imbibe green juices and breakfast burritos as hangover cures, or to sweat it out in a yoga class. Whether you plan to test your limit at historic establishments Downtown, or take advantage of a cheap happy hour at a Hollywood dive, this city's nightlife has something for you.

A night out in Los Angeles can simultaneously surprise and impress. That unscheduled set by an A-list comedian at the stand-up comedy club, being talked into singing karaoke at the diviest place you've ever seen, dancing at a bar with no dance floor because, well, the DJ is just too good at his job—going out isn't always what you expect, but it certainly is never boring.

The focus of nightlife once centered on the Sunset Strip, with its multitude of bars, rock clubs, and dance spots, but more neighborhoods are competing with each other and forcing the nightlife scene to evolve. Although the Strip can be a worthwhile trip, other areas of the city are catching people’s attention. Downtown Los Angeles, for instance, is becoming a destination in its own right, drawing cocktail connoisseurs at Seven Grand and rooftop revelers at the Standard.

Other areas foster more of a neighborhood vibe. Silver Lake and Los Feliz have both cultivated a relaxed environment where you can be drinking in a tiki bar so small you wind up talking with the person at the next stool over (Tiki-Ti) or bringing in a 45 to play on an old-fashioned record player (El Prado).

So if you find yourself disappointed with a rude bouncer, or drinks that are too watery, or a cover charge that just isn't worth it, try again. Eventually you'll find that perfect place where each time is the best time. If not, at least you'll walk away with a good story.

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  • 1. Golden Gopher

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    Craft cocktails, beers on tap, an outdoor smoking patio, and retro video games—this bar in the heart of Downtown is not to be missed. With one...Read More

  • 2. Resident

    Downtown | Live Music

    Catch a lineup of indie tastemakers inside this converted industrial space, or hang outdoors in the beer garden while trying bites from on-site...Read More

  • 3. Seven Grand

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    The hunting lodge vibe makes you feel like you need a whiskey in hand—luckily, this Downtown establishment stocks more than 700 of them. Attracting...Read More

  • 4. The Edison

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    The glitz and glam of the Roaring '20s is alive and well in the Edison, where the decor serves as tribute to the power plant that once occupied...Read More

  • 5. Baldoria Bar + Kitchen

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    The perfect neighborhood bar, Baldoria is a Little Tokyo haunt with a big wine list, perfect cocktails, and some of the best Neapolitan pizza...Read More

  • 6. Blue Whale

    Downtown | Live Music

    This unassuming jazz club in Little Tokyo caters to a serious crowd, bringing progressive and modern jazz to the stage. Although the venue is...Read More

  • 7. Broadway Bar

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    This watering-hole-meets-dive sits in a flourishing section of Broadway (neighbors include the swank Ace Hotel). Bartenders mix creative cocktails...Read More

  • 8. Clifton's Republic

    Downtown | Themed Entertainment

    Part marketplace, part bazaar of bars, part curio museum, Clifton’s Republic is a wild, weird, and glorious establishment. Enter the ground...Read More

  • 9. El Dorado

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    Though cavernous, you’ll still be able to cozy up to your neighbor at the bar inside this Downtown lounge. The walls display boudoir art of...Read More

  • 10. La Cita

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    This dive bar may not look like much, but it more than makes up for it with an interesting mix of barflies, urban hipsters, and reasonable drink...Read More

  • 11. Redwood Bar & Grill

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    If you're looking for a place with potent drinks and a good burger, this kitschy bar fits the bill perfectly. Known today as the "pirate bar...Read More

  • 12. The Love Song Bar

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    Lovers of T. S. Eliot and vinyl will find themselves instantly at home inside this cozy establishment named after Eliot’s “The Love Song of...Read More

  • 13. The Varnish

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    Beeline through the dining room of Cole’s to find an unassuming door that leads to this small, dimly lit bar within a bar. Wooden booths line...Read More

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