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APB Melrose
Photograph: Courtesy Rob StarkAPB Melrose

The best new bars in Los Angeles to try right now

In the mood for somewhere new to drink? Our quarterly list of the city’s hottest new lounges, dives and wine bars has you covered—non-alcoholic options included.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
J. Fergus
Edited by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributor
J. Fergus
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Though we consistently cover new restaurants with killer cocktail offerings, new bars in L.A. are few and far between—but deserve just as much attention. To keep you up to date on the city's bar scene, we've got a quarterly guide to the city's best new bars, where you can find the city's freshest places to drink that are actually worth checking out. 

Plenty of newer drinking-oriented establishments straddle the line between bar and restaurant, but on this list we prioritize venues where it's not strange at all to order a single nightcap or aperitivo—without your server trying to upsell you on bar bites when you aren't hungry. We also strive to include establishments that stay open past 10pm on weekends, though we of course make exceptions for standout spots. 

While these watering holes and lounges might lack the storied reputations of the city's best bars and cocktail dens, they make up for it with stylish interiors and unique booze offerings. Some even have delicious bar bites perfect for whenever you’re feeling peckish, but this list focuses on destination-worthy venues with excellent drinks or first-rate atmosphere for going out (ideally, a combination of both). 

So just how new are these drinking dens? We limit our list to bars, lounges and breweries that have opened in the past nine months. We check out each bar personally to make sure it’s worth your time and hassle—since there’s only so much booze money to spare.

Oct 2023: We've spent this summer checking out the few bars that have opened across town, and we've got three worthy openings for you: A Mexico City-inspired cocktail in Downtown, a Vegas-style nightlife destination (also Downtown) and a plant-based bar and lounge on Melrose. Of course, that means a few spots have hit the nine-month mark: Let’s Go Disco in the Arts District, Baby Gee in Long Beach, Chinatown's Cafe Triste and Tiny's Hi-Dive in Santa Monica. Enjoy these new openings and don't forget to tip your bartender!

L.A.'s best new bars, ranked

  • Nightlife
  • South Park

For a night of Vegas-style debauchery without ever leaving L.A., look no further than the Houston brothers’ buzzy new nightlife destination on the eighth floor of the Moxy Downtown. Over two nights, we experienced literally everything Level 8 had to offer (except yet-to-open raw bar Mother of Pearl). While the price of entry is high and the drinks are expensive and generally quite sugary, the dizzying level of spectacle makes Level 8 well worth the time and money for a dressy night out on the town. We enjoyed the array of burlesque and live music performers and the speakeasy-style entrances at Mr. Wanderlust, jazz bar and piano lounge; the eye-catching golden carousel bar at Golden Hour, a poolside rooftop bar which draws inspiration from the beaches of Miami and Copacabana; and the ruined cathedral confines of nightclub Sinners y Santos, where live lucha libre fighters perform above the "secret" wrestling ring atop the bar. Non-alcoholic cocktails available. $25 valet for the first three hours, $5 every 30 min thereafter up to $55 max; outdoor patio.

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Patricia Kelly Yeo
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Los Angeles
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Venice
  • price 2 of 4

In record time, the team behind the Roger Room and the Friend have transformed Marina del Rey’s Nueva into Gin Rummy, an island-inspired drinking destination serving impeccably crafted tiki classics, a small food menu and a five-spirit scorpion bowl (!) all but made for summer get-togethers. This vaguely tropical-slash-nautical watering hole offers two separate bars and plenty of room to stretch out, though you can only order Gin Rummy’s specialty cocktails at the indoor bar (where a wait is practically guaranteed on weekends). Racks of leis, pinball machines and nightly DJ sets on the weekend mean most nights are a party at Gin Rummy—so if you’re seeking a tamer atmosphere, head here during happy hour (daily 4–6pm) for $8 chicken wings and $10 margaritas and daiquiris. Non-alcoholic cocktails available; $12 valet and limited street parking; outdoor patio.

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Patricia Kelly Yeo
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Los Angeles
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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Downtown Financial District
  • price 2 of 4

Located below Seven Grand, this Mexico City-inspired cocktail bar from Pouring with Heart (Las Perlas, the Varnish) already has twentysomething Angelenos lining up on Seventh Street on the weekends. Marked only by a neon sign in an alleyway, Bar CDMX features minimalist art prints from Mexican artist Beo Hake, an alcove full of Spanish language arcade games and booths for large groups or making new friends. Floor-to-ceiling concrete nods to the natural stone interiors of bars in this watering hole’s namesake megacity, but they create an acoustic nightmare once the bar is more than half-full (even when the music is low, conversations bounce around the mirror-clad room). Bar CDMX turns up the volume even more with their drinks program: The pineapple caipirinha can convert piña colada haters to the sweet side, the draft mojito is perfectly balanced and the house margaritas will transport you to a poolside lounge chair. Street and private lot parking.

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J. Fergus
Freelance Contributor
  • LGBTQ+
  • East Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

This queer bar is only a residency for now, but with a debut like this, Honey’s at Star Love is sure to be around for a long time. Plant parents and disco divas alike will enjoy a spin on the lavish dance floor while semi-wallflowers chill at a passthrough window. There’s an adjacent stage partially illuminated by a projector where you can strut yourself, belt your heart out on karaoke night, or catch a movie or awards show screening. Introverts looking to avoid these high-traffic areas will love the little alcoves expertly strewn throughout. From cocktails to wine and beer to spirit-free options, the bartenders have a deft hand, good taste and an adventurous spirit that complements the bar. Non-alcoholic cocktails available. Limited street parking.

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J. Fergus
Freelance Contributor
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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Fairfax District
  • price 2 of 4

Despite the sketchiness of Melrose Avenue after dark, this plant-based bar and restaurant (APB stands for “All Plant Based”) has managed to turn into a vegan-oriented nightlife destination thanks to occasional live DJs on the weekends. Earlier in the evenings, APB serves a small, slightly pricey plant-based sushi menu—nothing spectacular, but decent enough for pregame fare. The wealth of non-alcoholic options makes it a great option for anyone hoping to cut back on booze while still going out, and the house cocktail menu is full of the usual sugary, crowd-pleasing staples: a spicy marg, a lychee martini and the like. To lean into L.A. stereotypes, order the Beauty Cocktail, which adds Erewhon collagen to a mix of rum, raspberry jam, muddled mint, lemon juice and vegan pisco foam. Non-alcoholic cocktails available.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • West Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

Located in the old office of Marilyn Monroe’s talent agent, this tiny craft cocktail bar on the Sunset Strip serves impeccably crafted drinks named for nearby L.A. icons. There’s a clarified paloma rosé spritz inspired by the Beverly Hills Hotel and a pisco and passion fruit ode to the Viper Room—and given the good-for-the-area prices ($18–22 for house specialties, $16 for classics), it’s no surprise Bar Next Door fills up nightly with drinkers enjoying the vintage reel-to-reel sound system and neighborhood watering hole atmosphere. Arrive early to claim a booth for you and a friend, or come later on to watch the youngish see-and-be-seen crowd collide with locals of all ages ending their night with a well-made nightcap. Non-alcoholic cocktails available; extremely limited street parking (we’d recommend ridesharing).

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Patricia Kelly Yeo
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Los Angeles
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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4

When a bar claims to be inspired by a Parisian brothel, it’s unlikely it’ll live up to the ambience of a den of iniquity. But thanks to designer Adolfo Suaya, Noir manages to nail its mood board. Well-balanced textures and moody Art Deco lighting transport you from a Hollywood side street to a place of decadent elegance. Ryan Sweeney’s bar program dazzles with thoughtful, made-to-order signature drinks, including a saline martini that comes with a chilled sidecar (that’s two drinks in one, for those of you in the modern ’20s). A few popular cocktails, like palomas and old-fashioneds, are available on draft for solo enjoyment or in a four-serving decanter for a group. Noir’s energy lends itself to intimate date nights and catching up with a few friends without needing to yell over the decades-spanning music—the true feat for a Hollywood bar of this caliber. Limited street parking and $10–25 private lots nearby.

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J. Fergus
Freelance Contributor
  • Restaurants
  • Cajun
  • Long Beach
  • price 2 of 4

A comforting, Cajun menu has its stars like frog legs and hearty shrimp and grits, but the drink menu is the true draw at Long Beach’s Bar Envie. Many of the signature drinks are riffs on classics where bar director Mike Borowski has managed to create the unexpected in the familiar. The cocktails sing with additions made in-house like grilled corn syrups and peach shrubs. Build-your-own boozy floats allow guests to flex their own mixology skills, perfect for the dog days of summer out on the back patio. Whether you’re grabbing a casual bite with friends or looking for a nice date spot, this expansive restaurant bar has everything you need for a great night out. Limited on-site parking; outdoor patio.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105945020/image.jpg
J. Fergus
Freelance Contributor
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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 3 of 4

Taking over the ground-floor bar within the short-lived Tommy’s, the Tabula Rasa team has brought (somewhat) affordable bar bites and funkier, off-the-beaten-path wines to the heart of the 90210, where heavy police surveillance guards the luxury stores of nearby Rodeo Drive. The striking interior design channels the Wizard of Oz’s Emerald City, and despite the stuffy area code, there’s still a fair number of wines by the glass under $16. The food pairings do the wines justice, with humbler dishes like grilled cheese and tomato soup occupying just as much real estate on the menu as caviar service and raw dishes, including a standout tuna crudo with chili oil, egg yolk and roasted alliums. We wouldn’t suggest going out of the way for it, but compared to the area's various overpriced options, Sur le Vert is your best bet for a reasonably priced nightcap or light snack in Beverly Hills. Non-alcoholic wines and outdoor seating available. Two-hour free parking in Canon Drive public lot before 6pm; $5 thereafter. 

https://media.timeout.com/images/105814342/image.jpg
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Los Angeles
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Venice
  • price 3 of 4

A brand-new all-glass bar and an overhauled dinner menu have given the former Chez Tex space a touch of modern French sophistication, but it’s the cocktails and aperitifs that make this Venice Beach cocktail bar—billed by the owners as a Westside counterpart to Eagle Rock’s Capri Club—a compelling drinking, not dining, destination. The reinterpreted bar bites, including an enormous “l’haute dog” made with Pead & Barnetts sausage and caviar service, make for decent booze-adjacent eats, but they’re not worth going out of the way for. Instead, head here for polished French standards like kir royale and refined house specialties that add unique twists to the classics. Just note this isn’t a late-night watering hole: On weekends, the bar closes at a fairly early 10:30pm. Non-alcoholic cocktails and outdoor dining available. Street parking.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105814342/image.jpg
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Los Angeles
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