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The best beer bars in Los Angeles

From biergartens to brewpubs, here are the best beer bars in town for local and international craft beer

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Flight of beers at Wirtshaus

LA's cocktail game is still on the up and up, but with new breweries pouring into town, craft beer is having a serious moment. Beer-centric gastropubs, breweries and gartens are popping up left and right, putting micro-beer in the spotlight. Whether you're seeking an in-your-face local IPA or international sudsifaction, LA's microbrew gems are in it for the long haul. From dive bars to biergartens, here are the city's best beer bars to check out now.

RECOMMENDED: Best bars in Los Angeles

LA's best beer bars


Little Bear

Owner Ryan Sweeney (Verdugo, Surly Goat, Blind Donkey) teamed up with the the folks behind Oinkster and Maximiliano at this Belgian-focused gastropub of industrial chic design with Euro-rustic flair—high ceilings with light wood accents, antique maps, beer bottles and paraphernalia set the backdrop—in DTLA's Arts District. Brunch crowds and the occasional large birthday party commandeer the space on weekends while locals maintain a more mellow weekday vibe. Seventeen beers on tap and 50 bottle selections rotate regularly; here you might find Gnomegang, a Belgian strong pale ale; Oud Beersel Framboise, a traditional Belgian lambic aged with raspberries; and Struise St. Amatus 12, a Belgian Quadrupel with strong caramel and molasses, banana and spice. Go with any of their grilled cheese options to pair—we like the Grilled Cheese (ale-braised) Short Rib with house-smoked mozzarella, arugula and crispy onions.

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Downtown Arts District

Beer Belly

This Koreatown gastropub is the go-to spot for craft beer newbies, with twelve pristine rotating taps serving up mostly local breweries. The rotating bottle selection features seasonal, domestic and international brews and a rare bottle cellar from owner Jimmy Han’s personal collection—worth ponying up when something like a 2008 Ballast Point Victory at Sea coffee vanilla Imperial Porter is on the list. On weekends, a busy and adventurous crowd indulges in the ultimate beer snack: "Death By Duck" French Fries, tossed in duck fat, smoked salt and sweet onion sugar, with crispy duck skin cracklins and duck confit on top—artery-clogging goodness for $7. Young crowds flock and it's first-come, first-served. While you're eyeing a soon-to-be empty table, take in the clean, modern space with dark and light wood wall-to-ceiling paneling and brightly-colored graffiti façade.

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Blue Palms Brewhouse

A phenomenal beer bar smack dab in the middle of Hollywood? It sounds like some kind of tourist scam, but we assure you—it's not. Blue Palms Brewhouse sits right next to the Fonda Theatre and down the street from the Pantages, making it an ideal spot to grab a drink before heading to a show. But it's also a haven for beer fans, sporting a rotating tap list of 24 specialty craft beers, like Bell's Third Coast Old Ale, Eagle Rock Manifesto and Ballast Point Yellowtail. If you can't settle on just one, flights are available at $10 for four 50-ounce pours. Stick around for the food, too, like the lobster mac and cheese or a plate of beer battered fish and chips.

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Father's Office

Chef Sang Yoon, the "father" of Father's Office, has been serving gourmet grub and craft brews long before gastropubs began popping up on every city block. Since then, his Culver City outpost has expanded to include 36 beers on tap of primarily domestic brews with a smattering from Belgium. There’s a full dinner menu but a must is the cult favorite—there are no substituitions, period—Office Burger, made of rare beef topped with caramelized onion, applewood bacon compote, gruyere, Maytag blue cheese and arugula. Pair with a full bar's selections of wines on tap and by the bottle, a fine list of classic cocktails and, of course, a not-to-miss selection of beer that keep the diehard beer drinkers coming back.

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Culver City

Barrel Down

If you’re into American craft microbrews, then Downtown’s Barrel Down could be just the bar you’ve been waiting for. Touted as “An American Beer Hall,” it’s exactly that: an impressive 40-tap salute to our unofficial national beverage, packed into an industrial chic façade. A few TVs behind the bar are available for those who want to watch the game, and there are cozy booths for dining and a partitioned seating area for groups and more intimate affairs. A rotating beer list changes every few days, but try the Ballast Point Grunion or the Alpine Hoppy Birthday, both American pale ales, if they appear on the menu. The dessert-like Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout tastes like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and makes for an excellent nightcap.

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Downtown Financial District

Sunset Beer Company

Sunset Beer is part beer store and part bar, offering a huge selection of brewskies from West Coast microbrews to rare Belgian ales and small production specialty bottles. (There's also wine, and a pretty good little selection at that, but we rarely see anyone drinking it here.) Refrigerated cases hold bottles to go, or get one opened at the bar (for a small corkage fee) and hang out with a plethora of Eastside beer nerds. There are always local brews on tap, and the space hosts special events such as a beer and cheese tasting with Stone Brewing's master brewer. Join the "mug club" and corkage fees are waived for a year, with each pour you buy going into your very own mug (well, more like a stein) that's kept behind the bar. The staff are super knowledgeable and friendly—no beer snobs here—and the atmosphere is cozy, with communal benches, comfy plush chairs and a smoking area outside. There's also a decent pizza place next door, to help you soak up all that delicious booze.

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Echo Park

Melody Lounge

Sweet relief for thirsty beer geeks can be found at Melody Lounge, boasting one of the neighborhood's best draft craft beer selection. Great brews abound in a tight room of lacquered walls, glowing lanterns and display tables stuffed with the cans of fallen beer brands. Catch labels such as Chimay, Angel City, Drake's, Bell's, Hangar 24 and Eagle Rock Brewing on the chalkboard tap list, while a fridge holds bottled brews like Ommegang's Rare Vos Amber, Cistamonte's Reisling and Pilsner blend, several Belgian beauties and a swell of super-cool locals. Catch an extended happy hour from 5 to 9pm.

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Mohawk Bend

This Echo Park gastropub is a favorite among locals, certainly for its vegan-friendly menu, but also for its impressive fleet of 72 beers on tap, all from California brewers (save for one monthly featured out of state brewery) and a stand-alone seasonal cocktail list. Set in an old Vaudeville theater, vaulted ceilings make for an airy feel as Eastsiders spread out in booths and an array of tables and high-top communal bar tops. Snack on Buffalo Style Cauliflower with vegan "bleu cheese" dressing while sipping away brews in their appropriate glassware. Golden Road Brewery's The Big Le"brah"ski, a Russian Imperial Stout, is served in a proper goblet. Live jazz music on the weekends makes for an inspired brunching atmosphere. The best part? The friendly and very knowledgeable staff.

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Echo Park

Der Wolfskopf

Of all the things Americans associate with Germany—great beer, good sausage, the consumption of large quantities of both while wearing lederhosen—easy pronunciation is not one (see also: lederhosen). Der Wolfskopf doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but conversational German is not required for entry here. Brought to you by the same folks as The Surly GoatLittle Bear and the neighboring Blind Donkey, the Pasadena beer hall has 15 German beers on tap bearing enough syllables and umlauts to twist your tongue well into the night. There are four German-style beers from Oregon and California, as well, including Pasadena-based Craftsman Brewery. Overwhelmed? The friendly bar staff actually know their stuff and will guide you in the right direction. Add a food menu with sausages, pretzels and schnitzel and a soon-to-be-opened outdoor beer garden, and this place ticks all the necessary boxes.

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Southland Beer

It may be a little tricky finding this place at first. Nestled deep in a quiet strip mall a few blocks down from the Wiltern, Southland Beer isn't the first place that comes to mind for Koreatown imbibing. Inside, a craft beer haven dreamt up by two librarians—Tim Sturn and his wife, Orchid Mazurkiewicz—awaits. Nineteen ales from relatively nearby breweries like Smog City, Monkish, Barley Forge and El Segundo flow from the tap, some on nitro. But that’s not what sets it apart from Beer Belly up the street. Southland is the area’s first tasting room and bottle shop rolled into one: tucked off to the side through an archway aptly labeled “BEER” in marquee lights are refrigerators and shelves chock-full of carefully selected bottles priced to-go. For an extra $2, imbibers can sample the suds on-site. Close quarters, communal seating, games and some interesting food pairings (aged Gouda and a double cream stout, for example) make this dressed-up hole-in-the-wall a solid neighborhood spot.

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The Glendale Tap

Glendale joins the craft brew scene with this vintage motor–themed bar replete with a seasonal, rotating list of 52 beers on tap/cask, 4 nitro handles and 5 to-go brews by the bottle and can. Wash down bar snacks such as baked empanadas with local brews by the pint ($6.50) and half pint ($4.50) such as Golden Road Brewing's It's Not Always Sunny in LA Black IPA with roasted malt and hop aromas, coffee roast and bitter chocolate notes. We also recommend Angel City’s crisp and refreshing Eureka! Wit and Eagle Rock Brewery's hoppy Populist IPA made creamier by the nitro tap. Join the weekend crowd at the bar—conversation steers toward vintage motor sports as Mystery Science Theater 3000 plays over the TVs—or wait your turn for the pool tables (no charge) as the jukebox plays a mix of owner owner Steve Skorupa's favorites from the Deftones and Phantogram to John Coltrane and Cat Stevens.

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Tony's Darts Away

This laidback spot—one of the few late-night hangs and even fewer vegan-friendly options in Burbank—has gained a loyal local following since its opening in 2010. Find a large selection of sausages (both vegan and meat varieties) and sides like Disco fries with gravy and cheddar. But the star of the show here is the beer; the eco-friendly, bottle-free bar has 38 taps and serves only California brews—yup, they're keeping it local. You'll find Golden Road and Ohana; El Segundo and Three Weavers. Drink and relax with friends by playing pool or darts inside; when the weather is warm, nothing beats sipping your brew on the outside patio. Tony's also hosts events like "Trivia Night with Geeks Who Drink" or its weekly "Beers & Beats" night, where you can bring in your own vinyl collection to DJ.

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Steingarten LA

Welcome to your biergarten away from home. Twenty (primarily) domestic beers rotate on tap, not to mention the 250 to 300 domestic and international bottle selections. There’s a full menu of hearty plates such as an array of country, game and vegan sausages; bison chile; BLT beef or turkey sliders and grass-fed burgers with pretzel bun options. Wash it all down with a "Consecration," a powerful (10% ABV) rare sour from the Russian River Brewing Copmany that’s been aged in Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels ($18), or pony up the $50 for a 22-ounce bottle of 2011 Fifty Fifty Eclipse, which has been aged in Elijah Craig Whiskey Barrels offering up caramel, bourbon, coffee and cocoa complexities. Regulars look forward to Tap Takeover days when a guest brewery or brand takes over the taps (past takeovers have included Ommegang, New Belgian Brewing, Dogfish Head and quite frequently, The Bruery from Orange County).

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Spring Street Bar

This beer bar is a friendly, inviting home away from home for DTLA locals. Communal tables and industrial stools allow for lots of co-mingling over an array of imbibing options from a full bar, while indie rock pumps through speakers. There are 26 domestic beers on tap ranging in price from $5-8. Seekers of wheat-wisdom and barley-truths shower praise on one of Spring Street’s selections: The Art of Darkness, a limited edition Belgian-style strong ale with delicate carbonation and rich maltiness, dark fruit and coffee aromas, and the regular-selection Ommegang. Hop-heads can overdose on El Segundo Brewery's Blue House Citra Pale Ale. To nosh, there's a fine selection of sandwiches. You can’t beat the $4 draft happy hour, so join 'em from 5pm to 8pm daily.

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Downtown Historic Core


Scavengers of cheap lagers and BMC brewskies need not seek comfort here. A serious craft beer bar destination, this Glassell Park watering hole has been restored to its original wood components—the bar itself was built in the 1930s and is one of the longest (and curviest) original bars we’ve seen. The selection of 22 draft beers and 100-120 eclectic bottles is in constant rotation, featuring limited release brews and beers. On the bottle front, there are no lagers or IPAs save for Pliny the Elder, a cultish double IPA from California’s Russian River Valley. It's easy to drink, showing grapefruit and pine with an ABV of 8%, so sip slowly. A rotating brigade of food trucks serve food in front of the bar and on their spacious patio on weekdays before 10pm. Drop in for happy hour (Mon-Fri 6pm-8pm and Sat-Sun 3pm-7pm) when craft brews are all $2 off.

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Glassel Park

The Daily Pint

At first glance, The Daily Pint might look like your standard dive, but take a closer look and you'll find hundreds of bottles of whiskey cluttering the shelves and, more importantly, an impressive line-up of 33 brews on tap. Craft beer spangs the gamut, from Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker to Firestone's Double DBA, Three Weaver's Blood Junkie Imperial Red to Goose Island's Matilda. Think you'll become a regular? Join The Daily Pint's Craft Beer Club (you can sign up online), which gets you early notice of specialty beer arrivals, discount specials and a subscription to their monthly newsletter.

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Santa Monica

The Tripel

From the same married chefs (Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts) that opened Hudson House and Playa Provisions, The Tripel has been serving the Playa del Rey community with outstanding craft beer and quality food just a short stroll from the Pacific. Their beer list—or "Social Lubrication," as they call it—rotates regularly, and features breweries like Smog City, Ballast Point and Strand Brewing. Grab a pint and join your fellow beer lovers at one of the communal tables, where you can also nosh on Tripel bites—steamed mussels and clams, the Tripel burger, and balsamic marinated onion rings, to name a few.

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Playa del Rey