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

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Echo Park 3

Hollywood 23

Los Feliz 3

Silver Lake 8

Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and the Westside 24

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West Hollywood 24

Santa Monica and the Beaches 15

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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

4100

  • Bars/Pubs

With swaths of fabric draped from the ceiling, this place's bohemian vibe makes it perfect for dates. Groups of locals also come through...

Akbar

  • Bars/Pubs

This bar's welcoming feel is one of the reasons many people consider it their neighborhood bar, even if they don't live in the neighborhood...

Avalon

  • Music Clubs

This multitasking art deco venue offers both live music and club nights because, well, why not? The killer sound system, cavernous space,...

Baked Potato

  • Music Clubs

This small club showcases contemporary jazz and blues every evening, along with regular Monday night jam sessions. The cover is usually...

Bar 107

  • Bars/Pubs

Those looking for a lively dive bar will probably appreciate the no-frills ambience here. The look of the bar is eclectic (Is that the...

Bar Marmont

  • Bars/Pubs

Depending on the night and what time you arrive, the mood here can switch from cozy and comfortable to unbearably packed, thanks to its...

Barney's Beanery

  • Bars/Pubs

Open since 1920, Barney's Beanery is an iconic spot that drew legendary regulars Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison (among others) to its...

Basement Tavern

  • Bars/Pubs

In the basement of the Victorian, this small bar has clusters of couches and ottomans pushed together to welcome groups. There's live...

Bigfoot Lodge

  • Bars/Pubs

The cabin-in-the-woods decor and winky attitude toward all things forest-themed (hence the oversize Smokey the Bear statue) makes Bigfoot...

Blue Lounge

  • Bars/Pubs

This outdoor lounge attracts customers with its modern look and views of the ocean. DJs are constantly spinning lounge music in the background...

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