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 37


Echo Park 3

Hollywood and Vicinity 23

Los Feliz 3

Silver Lake 8

Beverly Hills and the Westside 24


West Hollywood 24

Santa Monica, Venice, and Malibu 16


Hermosa Beach 2

Malibu 2

Santa Monica 10

Venice 2

Downtown Los Angeles 11


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Bars/ Pubs 49

Cafes–Nightlife 1

Comedy Clubs 6

Dance Clubs 7

Music Clubs 22

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Los Angeles Nightlife

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  • Fodor's Choice


  • 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...


  • 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...


  • 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...

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...


  • Dance Clubs

This neighborhood bar has been around for decades, and its dim lighting and leather booths give it a well-worn feel. Thanks to its location...

Burgundy Room

  • Bars/Pubs

Around since 1919, this rockin' place attracts a fiercely loyal local crowd, as well as the occasional wandering tourists. The bar is...

California Institute of Abnormal Arts

  • Music Clubs

Better known as the CIA, this bar manages to make its circus theme seem kooky and fun (imagine Tim Burton directing Pee-Wee's Big Adventure...

Cat & Fiddle Pub

  • Bars/Pubs

This English pub's most bragworthy point is the gorgeous courtyard and patio where most patrons go to hang out (and drink, of course).

Catalina Bar & Grill

  • Music Clubs

This club is a favorite among jazz enthusiasts, featuring well-known and award-winning musicians in an intimate dinner-and-drinks setting.