It’s hard to beat the hilltop view—and if you’re into this sort of thing, the exclusivity. Sure, there’s already a bar program in Burbank’s freshly-renovated Castaway, but the restaurant’s new reservation-only cocktail bar is a next-level experience, and it’s only available on Friday and Saturday nights. Housed at the corner of the restaurant, the Green Room offers its own private, elegant space and section of the patio, complete with a firepit, its own cocktail menu and upscale bar bites such as caviar frites and salt-block–seared steak. If you’re thirsty, large-format cocktails in hand-blown glass vessels should do the trick, especially if you’re looking to wow a date: Loosely inspired by movies, the drinks here are just as theatrical as their film counterparts. Don’t believe us? Just look to the Flying Dutchman, served in a ship-in-a-bottle in ode to the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
With such a booming restaurant scene, it can sometimes feel like Los Angeles bars take second place. Of course, we know that isn’t the case, and 2018’s openings certainly beg to differ. This year alone we’ve sampled some of the city’s most exciting cocktail programs, been awed by historic renovations and sipped with sweeping views from new rooftop bars—and there’s no sign of our cocktail scene slowing down. L.A. is a city that knows a good drink when it gets one, whether it’s enjoyed in a train station, a speakeasy or a listening lounge attached to a pizza parlor. Here are the best bars that opened in 2018, for your drinking pleasure. Who says restaurants should get all the shine?