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Best hotel bars: LA's classiest lobby lounges

Pull up a seat at LA's best hotel bars where locals and visitors can enjoy the city's classiest cocktails.

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Photograph: Courtesy Shutters

Best hotel bars: Shutters on the Beach

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Photograph: Fred Licht

Best hotel bars: Shutters on the Beach

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Photograph: Courtesy Shutters

Best hotel bars: Shutters on the Beach

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Photograph: Courtesy Bonavista Lounge

Best hotel bars: Bona Vista Lounge at the Westin Bonaventure

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Photograph: Gary Minnaert

Best hotel bars: Chateau Marmont

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Photograph: Courtesy the Langham

Best hotel bars: the Tap Room at the Langham

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Photograph: Courtesy the Langham

Best hotel bars: the Tap Room at the Langham

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Photograph: Courtesy Hotel Bel-Air

Best hotel bars: Bar at Hotel Bel-Air

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Photograph: Courtesy the Peninsula Beverly Hills
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Photograph: Courtesy Peninsula Beverly Hills
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Photograph: Courtesy Oak Bar and Lounge

Best hotel bars: Bar at Hotel Bel-Air

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Best hotel bars: Hotel Figueroa

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Best hotel bars: Hotel Figueroa

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Photograph: Courtesy Palihouse

Best hotel bars: Palihouse

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Photograph: Grey Crawford

Best hotel bars: Palihouse

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Photograph: Grey Crawford

Best hotel bars: Palihouse

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Photograph: Courtesy the Roosevelt

Best hotel bars: Hollywood Roosevelt

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Photograph: Courtesy Culver Hotel

Best Hotel Bars: Culver Hotel

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Photograph: Courtesy Culver Hotel

Best Hotel Bars: Culver Hotel

The bar scene in Los Angeles is aces right now, thanks to all-night bar hopping and bartenders' inventive cocktails. Even tried-and-true hotel bars, from staid classics to new additions, are serving some of the tastiest libations from lemon drops to single malt Scotch. Here, our favorite hotel bars from beachside Santa Monica to ritzy Pasadena.

RECOMMENDED: See more Los Angeles bars

Hollywood Roosevelt

The Roosevelt Hotel draws its share of tourists, located as it is across from Grauman's Chinese Theatre, right in the middle of the Hollywood madness. But it has been gorgeously refurbished to its original Golden Age grandeur with soaring beamed ceilings and Mediterranean tiles around a central indoor fountain. Order a cocktail made from the hotel's Library Bar—we love the whiskey, basil, tomato mix that's Seriously Dangerous ($16)—and settle on a black leather couch or take it for a wander through the hotel’s many nooks and crannies to stalk out a hidden corner.

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Hollywood

Culver Hotel

Hollywood gets all the credit for creating movies, but Culver City is where most of the "lights, camera, action" actually happened. As movie posters and memorabilia dotting the lobby will remind you, the Westside’s historic hotel housed silver screen legends from the Munchkins during filming of the Wizard of Oz to Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin, who allegedly sold the hotel for a dollar to John Wayne in a game of poker. Despite the dramatic outfitting—massive stone fireplace, heavy draping over arched windows—the lobby bar has a low-key, neighborhood feel. Groups can spread out on comfy, velour couches, while tables for two are perfect for date-night, pre-dinner cocktail or night cap.

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Culver City

The Club Bar at the Peninsula Beverly Hills

The Peninsula extends luxury and excellent service to its Beverly Hills outpost's Club Bar, the hotel's cocktail lounge. Understated, unobtrusive (and quite expensive—glasses of wine up to the $25 range), it’s not a scene, but it’s where the real power players—the agents and producers and other power houses you won’t recognize—wheel and deal over single malts and the classiest bar snacks in town from complimentary housemade taro chips and wasabi almonds to a la carte dim sum. Grab a seat at the bar or people-watch at the more intimate banquettes.

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Beverly Hills

Bona Vista Lounge

Be a tourist in your own town for a night. Past the lobby bar and up on the 34th floor, Downtown’s Bonaventure hotel is home of the famous Bona Vista Lounge. Sure, it’s a little cheesy—moderately-priced, classic cocktails are served in souvenir glasses—but it is a fun, classic LA thing to do. And the bar doesn't offer just regular, sky high views—the lounge rotates, the better to take in all of Downtown's night views.

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Downtown Financial District

Bar at Hotel Bel-Air

While the airy, bright lobby lounge at the newly renovated Hotel Bel-Air is for hotel guests, plebeian visitors can head for the darker, sexier bar. Settle on the front patio or fireside (and piano side, in the evenings) in stylish, Art Deco–inspired space. With Wolfgang Puck behind the drink and food menus, bar treats include caviar and schmancy, egg-topped club sando, with seasonal cocktails served in crystal stemware, lest you forget even for a second where you are.

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Bel Air

Hotel Figueroa

The Fig is in no way a fancy hotel. And just a block away from the overly lit drone that is the Staples Center, the Downtown hotel’s bar is, in keeping with its Moroccan theme, an absolute oasis. You wouldn’t know by the wrought iron lanterns and colored tiles that you’re standing in an old, brick-facaded YMCA. Sip a staycation cocktail from a red, textured glass as you gaze across the pool deck among flowering bougainvillea. It’s the perfect romantic surprise location.

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Downtown

Palihouse

Set back just a touch from the boulevards is the mod living room bar, complete with enormous, upholstered couches, record player and votive-filled fireplace. The scene? Languid imbibing (house cocktails feature small-label spirits and fresh ingredients, while by-the-glass selections emphasis craft brews and California reds) and the occasional mini-dance party that tends to break out.

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West Hollywood

The Tap Room

Past the Langham's lobby—it’s really more of a high tea kind of place—head into the Tap Room, a bar that encourages a rather elegant take on beer appreciation: local, craft brews on tap and more by the bottle. (The wine and Scotch lists are pretty nice, too.) The dark wood and white fabric furnishings, weekend live jazz and classic cocktails are an homage to the hotel's roots as an original 1933 watering hole, but the bar bites—lobster corn dogs, Kobe sliders, ice cream flights—are thoroughly contemporary hits.

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Pasadena

Shutters on the Beach

The beachfront hotel's bar, the Living Room, is all upholstered couches and antiques, the better for year-round fulfillment of a luxe, Capeside fantasy. The cocktails ($14) tend toward the light and summery—try the coconut rum Starfish Mojito or Cucumber Splash—and the small plates menu is a surf 'n' turf celebration. Call ahead to request the round table in front of the main French doors, if it’s a see-and-be-seen kind of night, or drop in for sunset cocktails on the heated patio.

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Santa Monica

Chateau Marmont

The main draw for civilians at the Chateau is the celeb spotting, but whatever you do, play it cool. Act like you belong among the pretty young things who sprawl on oversized seats and couches in the lobby. With a what-happens-in-the-Chateau-stays-in-the-Chateau ethos, partying is encouraged here—though no jumping (or late-night swimming) in the pool for non-guests. The shabby chic-meets-Spanish-Gothic-revival decor (the hotel opened in 1929 and hasn’t really been overhauled since) pairs with nothing better than a bottle of Champagne. Oh, if these walls could talk.

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West Hollywood

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