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. Chez Jay

    Bars/Pubs

    Around since 1959, this dive bar continues to be a well-loved place in Santa Monica. Everyone from the young to the old (including families...Read More

  • 2. Abigaile Restaurant and Brewery/Alta House

    Brewpubs/Beer Gardens

    Originally a church and then a Black Flag punk band rehearsal space, the building hosting Abigaile has a long history of the sacred and the...Read More

  • 3. Duke's Barefoot Bar

    Bars/Pubs

    With a clear view of the horizon from almost everywhere, a sunset drink at Duke's Barefoot Bar is how many beachgoers like to end their day...Read More

  • 4. Harvelle's

    Live Music

    The focus of this bar and music club is on jazz, blues, and soul. The club is small, with an even smaller checkerboard dance floor. Reserve...Read More

  • 5. Lighthouse Cafe

    Bars/Pubs

    Featured in La La Land , the 2016 musical set in Los Angeles, this onetime jazz bistro now offers a wide range of live entertainment, adding...Read More

  • 6. Moonshadows

    Malibu | Bars/Pubs

    This outdoor lounge attracts customers with its modern look and views of the ocean. Think dark woods, cabana-style draperies, and ambient lighting...Read More

  • 7. Purple Orchid

    Bars/Pubs

    This is a dive bar. If you don’t like dive bars, you won’t like this place. But if you do happen to like them, you won’t feel mere affection...Read More

  • 8. The Brig

    Bars/Pubs

    This charming bar has its pluses (interesting drinks, talented DJs) and minuses (ugh, parking) but is worth a look if you're in the area. There...Read More

  • 9. The Comedy and Magic Club

    Comedy Clubs

    With Los Angeles being Los Angeles, a disproportionate amount of comedians call the city home, from the would-be to the been-there-done-that...Read More

  • 10. The Galley

    Bars/Pubs

    Nostalgia reigns at this true neighborhood fixture, which has had the same owner for more than 30 years. As Santa Monica's oldest restaurant...Read More

  • 11. The Otheroom

    Bars/Pubs

    With a focus on hard-to-find craft beers and fine wines, this bar has become a favorite local hangout. The space is welcoming, especially with...Read More

  • 12. Monsoon Café

    Bars/Pubs

    Whether you consider the decor of this Bali-theme place authentic or overdone, it does its job of transporting you away from the busy crowds...Read More

  • 13. Zanzibar

    Dance Clubs

    Spinning everything from salsa to reggae to classic hip-hop, this club has only one goal: to get you on the dance floor. The crowd is diverse...Read More

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