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. 1642

    Echo Park | Bars/Pubs

    This romantically lit hole-in-the-wall is easy to miss, but you should aim to check it out if you're a discerning wine connoisseur or looking...Read More

  • 2. 4100

    Silver Lake | Bars/Pubs

    With swaths of fabric draped from the ceiling, this low-lit bar with a bohemian vibe makes it perfect for dates. Groups of locals also come...Read More

  • 3. Bigfoot Lodge

    Atwater Village | Bars/Pubs

    Don’t be turned off by the glaring log cabin theme (which is intensified by signature cocktails called Scout’s Honor and Roasted Marshmallow...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. El Rey Theater

    Mid-Wilshire | Live Music

    This former art deco movie house from the 1930s has been given a second life as a live music venue. Legends and rising stars grace the stage...Read More

  • 7. Golden Gopher

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    Craft cocktails, beers on tap, an outdoor smoking patio, and retro video games—this bar in the heart of Downtown is not to be missed. With one...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Highland Park Bowl

    Highland Park | Bars/Pubs

    Once an ambitious restoration project, Highland Park Bowl now serves as a massive throwback to its Prohibition Era roots as an alcohol-prescribing...Read More

  • 10. HMS Bounty

    Koreatown | Bars/Pubs

    This super-kitschy nautical-theme bar in the heart of Koreatown offers drink specials and food at prices that will make you swoon. Come for...Read More

  • 11. Mohawk Bend

    Echo Park | Bars/Pubs

    There are plenty of reasons to stop by Mohawk Bend: 72 craft beers on tap, a wide range of California-only liquor, a vegetarian and vegan-friendly...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Resident

    Downtown | Live Music

    Catch a lineup of indie tastemakers inside this converted industrial space, or hang outdoors in the beer garden while trying bites from on-site...Read More

  • 14. Seven Grand

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    The hunting lodge vibe makes you feel like you need a whiskey in hand—luckily, this Downtown establishment stocks more than 700 of them. Attracting...Read More

  • 15. The Abbey

    West Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    The Abbey in West Hollywood is one of the most famous gay bars in the world. And rightfully so. Seven days a week, a mixed and very good-looking...Read More

  • 16. The Echo

    Echo Park | Live Music

    Echo Park is peppered with music venues, but if you want to be in the heart of the neighborhood's live music scene, you should head to the Echo...Read More

  • 17. The Edison

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    The glitz and glam of the Roaring '20s is alive and well in the Edison, where the decor serves as tribute to the power plant that once occupied...Read More

  • 18. The Old Chalet

    Highland Park | Bars/Pubs

    This ski lodge–inspired neighborhood bar may have changed ownership and management, but that doesn’t mean that it’s gotten a major and pretentious...Read More

  • 19. The Satellite

    Silver Lake | Live Music

    Once known as Spaceland, the Satellite holds nightly shows filled with underground musicians, both touring and local, all trying to make a dent...Read More

  • 20. The Troubadour

    West Hollywood | Live Music

    The intimate vibe of the Troubadour helps make this club a favorite with music fans. Around since 1957, this venue has a storied past where...Read More

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