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. Dirty Laundry

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    Tucked away in a basement on the quiet Hudson Avenue, Dirty Laundry is a former speakeasy turned proper cocktail bar with live music and DJs...Read More

  • 2. Good Times at Davey Wayne's

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    It's a fridge; it's a door; it's the entrance to Davey Wayne's, a bar and lounge that pulls out all the stops to transport you back in time...Read More

  • 3. Musso and Frank Grill

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    The prim and proper vibe of this old-school steak house won't appeal to those looking for a raucous night out; instead, its appeal lies in its...Read More

  • 4. Tropicana Pool and Cafe

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    There are a few reasons to spend a bit of time at the Hollywood Roosevelt, and one of them is the Tropicana Pool and Cafe. Despite being set...Read More

  • 5. Upright Citizens Brigade

    Hollywood | Comedy Clubs

    The L.A. offshoot of New York's famous troupe continues its tradition of sketch comedy and improv with weekly shows like "Facebook," where the...Read More

  • 6. Avalon

    Hollywood | Live Music

    This multitasking art deco venue offers both live music and club nights. The killer sound system, cavernous space, and multiple bars make it...Read More

  • 7. Baked Potato

    Studio City | Live Music

    Baked Potato might be a strange name to give a world-famous jazz club that’s been holding performances of well-known acts (Allan Holdsworth...Read More

  • 8. Birds

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    They call it your neighborhood bar, because even if you don't live in the neighborhood you'll feel at home at this Alfred Hitchcock–themed eatery...Read More

  • 9. Blue Palms Brewhouse

    Hollywood | Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

    Even if gastropubs are not your thing, it’s still worth checking out this casual joint on Hollywood and Gower if only to get some grub after...Read More

  • 10. Boardner's

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    Priding itself as one of the last remaining neighborhood bars in Los Angeles’s ever-evolving bar scene, Boardner’s has maintained its no-nonsense...Read More

  • 11. Burgundy Room

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    Around since 1919, Burgundy Room attracts a fiercely loyal crowd of locals, as well as the occasional wandering tourist. The bar is supposedly...Read More

  • 12. California Institute of Abnormal Arts

    North Hollywood | Live Music

    What do a mummified clown, an alley full of Chinese red lanterns, and a collection of sideshow memorabilia have in common? They can all be found...Read More

  • 13. Catcher in the Rye

    North Hollywood | Piano Bars

    The theme of this bar is not specific to Holden Caulfield but rather to literature. Other odes to fictional greats can be found name-checked...Read More

  • 14. Flappers Comedy Club

    Burbank | Comedy Clubs

    Even though this live comedy club doesn’t exactly have as long a history as others in town (it opened in 2010), it's attracted an impressive...Read More

  • 15. Frolic Room

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    Once frequented by one of L.A.’s most famous sons, Charles Bukowski, the Frolic Room was also owned at one point by Howard Hughes and has served...Read More

  • 16. Harvard and Stone

    Hollywood | Live Music

    An interior that's one part industrial, one part mid-century modern, and one part ski lodge plays witness to the coolest live music this side...Read More

  • 17. Hotel Cafe

    Hollywood | Live Music

    This intimate venue caters to fans of folk, indie rock, and music on the softer side. With red velvet backdrops, hardwood furnishings, and the...Read More

  • 18. No Vacancy

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    Though at first glance, No Vacancy might boast an air of exclusivity and pretentiousness, its relaxed interiors and welcoming staff will almost...Read More

  • 19. Pour Vous

    Hollywood | Dance Clubs

    It feels like you might run into F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald while at Pour Vous. After all, this Melrose Avenue cocktail lounge is inspired...Read More

  • 20. Sassafras Saloon

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    Put on your dancing shoes (or your cowboy boots) and step back in time. The Sassafras boasts not only an oddly cozy, Western atmosphere but...Read More

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