Dreams are made here, as well as really good cocktails. Cocktail culture has always been part of Hollywood, not just since the recent craft cocktail renaissance. Los Angeles has famous old lounges where writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler and Charles Bukowski sipped along with the gorgeous stars of the golden age of cinema. Today there are nouveaux speakeasies, glam rooftops  and pretty much any type of watering hole imaginable, from dark dives to world-class cocktail bars.

 

Here are our 10 local L.A. favorites.

 

Del Monte Speakeasy

This burlesque bar and speakeasy near the beach was an actual speakeasy during the time of the Prohibition! It’s located in the basement of the oldest bar in Venice, the Townhouse. Sip on classics like Moscow Mules or Old-Fashioneds, as well as a local takes such as the Cali Negroni or Medicina Latina.

 

del-monte-speakeasyPhoto Credit: Townhouse

 

Lock & Key

Koreatown’s sexy neighborhood speakeasy has a gorgeous setting for sipping cool craft cocktails, from classics like Blood & Sand, Negroni and Whiskey Sour to the secret agent worthy Shady Schemes and Secret Coalition.

 

lockandkey
Photo Credit: Lock & Key

 

Tiki-Ti

This tiny, kitschy Tiki-themed bar dating from 1961 serves the famous Ray’s Mistake, originally an accident, now the signature drink of this iconic little spot in Los Feliz. There’s a whole ceremony that goes along with ordering this cocktail. Find out for yourself!

 

tiki-ti
Photo Credit: Brittany R via Yelp

 

DTLA is where the scene is at these days, and The Varnish is the perfect place to show off a cocktail dress. The setting is appropriately dark and moody, perfect for a romantic tete-a-tete.

 

the-varnishPhoto Credit: The Varnish
 

This jewel of an old-fashioned, industrial-era bar in Hollywood has old-timey entertainment featuring fire eaters, tightrope walkers and beautiful, scantily clad burlesque dancers. The cocktails are good and stiff and the decor is very true to the speakeasy era.

 

No Vacancy speakeasy in Los Angeles
Photo Credit: No Vacancy
 

Sip on Absinthe via a Belle Epoque fountain or in the form of a delicious cocktail at this neo-classic lounge in Culver City. The setting is fab with a fine bar, ambient lighting and old school leather banquettes and velvet wall paper. Handcrafted cocktail ingredients might range from wasabi to bee pollen to mole bitters.

 

Seventy7 Lounge
Photo Credit: Seventy7 Lounge

 

This Cuban-themed speakeasy has a strict dress code, which only adds to the cool, clubby ambiance of this decadent hideaway. You might encounter live music and burlesque babes as you sip on your rum drink.

 
la-descarga
Photo Credit: Eventbrite

 

The Dresden Lounge

This place deserves a spot on our list because it has been around … since forever. It’s one of L.A.’s classic watering holes, featuring a lounge vibe and the live jazzy tunes from old timers Marty and Elayne. It’s not a craft cocktail bar. It’s the kind of spot where you get a dirty martini.

 

dresden-roomPhoto Credit: 10best

 

The Edison

The artsy and sexy The Edison in downtown L.A. takes you back to the roaring 1920s via swanky looks and entertainment, complete with an absinthe fairy.

 

the-edison-bar
Photo Credit: Red Hen

 

The Walker Inn

Located inside the Hotel Normandie, this seating-only cocktail bar in Koreatown works a bit strangely with an Omakase-style bar menu that works like a liquid dinner theater, sometimes involving cocktails that “vape” or “smoke.” It’s dark and hushed and feels very secret. It’s an experience.

 

walker-inn-la
Photo Credit: The Walker Inn

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