Los Angeles Nightlife

Lines down the block, strict dress codes, impossible traffic, endless parking tickets. . . . The list of complaints people have about Los Angeles nightlife is not short. The fact that they fan out across the city in search of the latest hot spot is a testament to the excitement that's available in Los Angeles.

The reward for being determined, however, can be a night that can simultaneously

surprise and impress. That unscheduled set by an A-list comedian at the standup 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 are fostering more of a neighborhood vibe. Silver Lake and Los Feliz have both cultivated a fun 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).

The point is this: 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. That, or at least you'll have a very good story to tell.

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Fodor's Choice


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Hollywood and the Studios 37


Echo Park 3

Hollywood 23

Los Feliz 3

Silver Lake 8

Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and the Westside 24


West Hollywood 24

Santa Monica and the Beaches 15


Hermosa Beach 2

Malibu 2

Santa Monica 9

Venice 2

Downtown Los Angeles 11


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Bars/ Pubs 49

Comedy Clubs 6

Dance Clubs 7

Music Clubs 22

Los Angeles Nightlife

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  • Fodor's Choice

Tropicana Bar

  • Bars/Pubs

This bar still manages to attract a crowd—enjoying perfectly mixed cocktails beside a shimmering pool while you're surrounded by beautiful...


  • Bars/Pubs

If the sceney vibe of the bars along Santa Monica Boulevard has you craving something calmer, head to this sports bar where the drinks...

Underground Pub and Grill

  • Bars/Pubs

Throw darts, shoot pool, or play shuffleboard at this British pub (its name refers to London's subway system). If inactivity is your...

Upright Citizens Brigade

  • 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...


  • Bars/Pubs

In a quieter section of West Hollywood, this small club is hopping on Tuesday night, when DJs play hip-hop and Top 40. Along with bottle...

Viper Room

  • Music Clubs

This club's been around for more than 20 years, and its rock and alternative shows still attract a crowd. The cover charge usually runs...

Whisky A Go-Go

  • Music Clubs

The hardcore metal and rock scene is alive and well at the legendary Whisky A Go-Go, where Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper,...

Yamashiro Hollywood

  • Bars/Pubs

Modeled after a mansion in Kyoto, this Japanese place with a hillside perch has spectacular koi ponds and gardens, as well as sweeping...


  • 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...

iO West

  • Comedy Clubs

This theater troupe offers nightly shows, "The Harold" being among its most popular. There's a bar in the waiting area—more common...


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