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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

L.A.'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, L.A.'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

L.A.'s best beer bars

1

Little Bear

This Belgian-focused gastropub of industrial chic design with Euro-rustic flair has 17 beers on tap and 50 bottle selections that rotate regularly. 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
2

Mikkeller DTLA

Before walking into the beautifully-designed Mikkeller in Downtown, you should know a little about its history. Mikkel Borg Bjergsø was a math and physics teacher in Copenhagen who moved his experiments from the lab to the kitchen. Fast forward a dacade and Mikkeller is an extremely popular microbrewery that exports to 40 countries with 27 of its own locations worldwide, including four on the West Coast. The DTLA location features a wall filled with 50 tap lines, rows of communal tables and the brand's recognizable graphics adorning the open space. The menu boasts not only beer but craft cocktails, coffee, kombucha, cold brew and food into the wee hours of the night.

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Downtown
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3

Beer Belly

This Koreatown gastropub is the go-to spot for craft beer newbies, with 12 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. Their 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.

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Koreatown
4

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 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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Hollywood
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5

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 selection of wines, a fine list of classic cocktails and, of course, a not-to-miss selection of beer that keeps the diehard beer drinkers coming back.

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Culver City
6

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 cozy space hosts special events including 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.

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Echo Park
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7

Melody Lounge

Sweet relief for thirsty beer geeks can be found at Melody Lounge, which boasts one of the neighborhood's best draft craft beer selections. 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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Chinatown
8

Mohawk Bend

This Echo Park gastropub is a favorite among locals, certainly for its vegan-friendly menu, but also for its impressive fleet of 70 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. 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
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9

Select Beer Store

Tucked away on a idyllic stretch of Redondo Beach, Select Beer store is the perfect place to while away an afternoon shopping for, talking about and drinking delicious beers. With coolers on one side of the shop and shelves on the other, the middle is a wide open area where friendly and knowledgeable clerks fill glasses from one of the shop's 17 taps. The store’s wood accented concrete interior maintains the hip, beachy vibe, complementing the shop’s wide selection of West Coast and international brews. Select Beer Store runs a number of beer- and community-focused events, so check their calendar to see what’s happening.

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Redondo Beach
10

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. The Pasadena beer hall has 20 German beers on tap bearing enough syllables and umlauts to twist your tongue well into the night. 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 an outdoor beer garden, and this place ticks all the necessary boxes.

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Pasadena
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11

Southland Beer

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. Twenty ales from mostly nearby breweries flow from the tap, some on nitro. But what sets Southland apart is that it's the area’s first tasting room and bottle shop rolled into one: tucked off to the side 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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Koreatown
12

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, nitro handles and to-go brews by the bottle and can. Wash down bar snacks such as baked empanadas with any of their local or international brews by the pint and half pint. Opt for a creamier choice from 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 Steve Skorupa's favorites from the Deftones and Phantogram to John Coltrane and Cat Stevens.

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Glendale
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13

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 Ohana, El Segundo, Three Weavers and more. Drink and relax with friends by playing pool or darts inside; or sip your brew on the outside patio. Tony's also hosts events like trivia night and its weekly "Beers & Beats" night, where you can bring in your own vinyl collection to DJ.

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Burbank
14

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. Whether you're a seeker of wheat-wisdom or barley-truths, the menu offers more than what you're looking for. Can't decide? Choose a few and build a flight of your own. To nosh, there's a fine selection of sandwiches, pizzas and snacks that pair perfectly with the brew of your choosing. You can’t beat the happy hour with specials on select drafts and snacks, so join 'em from 3 to 7pm daily.

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Downtown Historic Core
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15

Verdugo

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. 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 and well drinks are all $2 off.

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Glassel Park
16

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, with brews hailing from California all the way to Ireland, Belgium and the United Kingdom. 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
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17

The Tripel

This gastropub has a beer list that's as extensive and exciting as its food. Sit at the bar or at one of their communal and make your pick through their ever-rotating list of brews. Expect to find the likes of Smog City, Ballast Point and Strand Brewing, to name a few. With a drink menu of nearly 50 beers—14 on tap—hailing from Los Angeles to Austria and places in between, food prepared by Top Chef Brooke Williamson (the steamed mussels and clams and Tripel Burger are a must) and a short distance from the beach, this spot hits the ultimate trifecta. Be sure to check out their culinary store in the back on your way out.

 

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Playa del Rey

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