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.
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!