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


    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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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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  • 10. Barney's Beanery

    West Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    Open since 1920, Barney's Beanery is an iconic spot along the original Route 66 that drew legendary regulars Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison ...Read More

  • 11. Blue Whale

    Downtown | Live Music

    This unassuming jazz club in Little Tokyo caters to a serious crowd, bringing progressive and modern jazz to the stage. Although the venue is...Read More

  • 12. Burgundy Room

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    Around since 1919, Burgundy Room attracts a fiercely loyal crowd of locals, as well as the occasional wandering tourist. The bar is supposedly...Read More

  • 13. Clifton's Republic

    Downtown | Themed Entertainment

    Part marketplace, part bazaar of bars, part curio museum, Clifton’s Republic is a wild, weird, and glorious establishment. Enter the ground...Read More

  • 14. Dresden Room

    Los Feliz | Piano Bars

    This bar's 1940s lounge decor makes it a favorite with folks in Los Angeles. The long-running house band, Marty and Elayne, has entertained...Read More

  • 15. Frolic Room

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    Once frequented by one of L.A.’s most famous sons, Charles Bukowski, the Frolic Room was also owned at one point by Howard Hughes and has served...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Rainbow Bar and Grill

    West Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    Its location next door to a long-running music venue, the Roxy, helped cement this bar and restaurant's status as a legendary watering hole...Read More

  • 18. Redwood Bar & Grill

    Downtown | Bars/Pubs

    If you're looking for a place with potent drinks and a good burger, this kitschy bar fits the bill perfectly. Known today as the "pirate bar...Read More

  • 19. The Cat and Fiddle

    Hollywood | Bars/Pubs

    While shuttered for two years in the mid-2010s, the Cat and Fiddle is once again going strong at its new patio location, continuing a tradition...Read More

  • 20. The Fonda Theatre

    Hollywood | Live Music

    Right on the edge of the Walk of Fame, this historic venue was one of the area's first theaters when it opened in the 1920s. The Spanish Colonial...Read More

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