The best singles bars in L.A.
Dark, sexy and surprisingly unpretentious, Bar Bandini is the neighborhood wine bar Echo Park didn’t know it needed. Bar Bandini’s curated selection of natural and organic wines and beers is listed on black letter boards imposing in scale. Dark painted walls, suede banquettes and black slate surfaces are balanced with rustic exposed wood, invoking the feeling of a chic garage conversion left intentionally unfinished. Hanging globe fixtures and candles add a welcome hint of warmth to the dim interior, while street lights and passing cars cast a reflective shadow of the “BANDINI” on the shopfront windows to the adjacent wall—it’s very noir. Somehow, Bar Bandini manages to simultaneously accomplish cool and cozy, providing a unique inventory and ambiance that not only wows on arrival, but invites you to stay for more (more flirting, that is).
A cut and a cocktail are easily found at this New York City export that made its West Coast debut in Culver City. The hidden (literally) gem is a barbershop by day and a speakeasy by night, serving up some of the Westside’s tastiest libations, including farm-to-table cocktails. Nearby locals and the hip Venice crowd mix with those looking for a quality quaff (and, hopefully, someone to share it with). If you've got serious moves, stop by on Thursday nights for DJ sets and dancing.
Brent Bolthouse brings Hollywood to Santa Monica's Fairmont Hotel with this indoor/outdoor bar and lounge, a veritable watering hole for Westside bros and ladies who look Coachella-ready at all times. Think: tree house hideaway by the Pacific, clad with an outdoor fire pit, ocean views, a pool table, dart boards, a ping-pong table and pricey specialty drinks that set the mood (and get you in the mood) for a Baja getaway. It's a weekend house party Friday and Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoons, but if you want to keep the sleaze factor to a minimum, aim for a weeknight visit.
Did Edendale put a call-out for singles or something? Every time we stop by this Silver Lake staple, the bar is full of dudes and dudettes (but mostly dudes) sipping on a glass of whiskey or wine all by their lonesome. Yes, there is a restaurant attached (with a killer boozy brunch on Sundays), but to meet your future soulmate (or one-night stand), hang out at the back of the bar, where comfy couches and velvet chairs provide ample seating for flirting. The old firehouse also features an outdoor patio for schmoozing.
When first approaching the orange door to E.R.B., it’s hard to know what to expect behind it. The concrete exterior of the downtown Arts District haunt seems intentionally nondescript, but inside, the bar is not only bustling, but bright: The large, elegant space is bathed in soft light, illuminating its features in a way that feels warm and inviting. Out back, a spacious patio offers ample seating for drinking, dining and stargazing (or eye candy-gazing) through the twinkle of overhead light strings.
There are dozens of ways to strike up a conversation at Good Times at Davey Wayne's, a '70s-inspired bar from the Houston Brothers: while entering through the bar's secret refrigerator entrance ("After you...wait, are we seriously going through a fridge?"), dancing to old-school beats in the carpeted living room ("When was the last time you heard this song?"), or watching roller girls skate on the patio's glass roof ("I'd like to see you wear that sequined leotard." Wait. Don't say that). On weekends, the line for this Hollywood bar gets crazy, so come on a weeknight and chat up that hottie at the bar ordering a spiked snow cone, or order a cocktail pitcher to split with someone who catches your eye on the dancefloor.
Reinventing the once-divey Hermosillo Bar, Dustin Lancaster of Bar Covell, L&E Oyster and Storefront brings boutique wines and a well-curated list of craft beer (and snacks too) to Highland Park. Within the Hermosillo is Highland Park Brewery—that's right, it's in the bar—and you can woo your crush by dropping some craft-beer knowledge. The unfussy space—round, tufted leather booths, scattered tables and a central bar—is just busy enough to be happening during the week and more bumping on weekends. Chat it up over a local pint or one of the whopping 30 wines by the glass—if all goes well, we suggest keeping things going with a show at the Hi Hat only a block away.
When it’s crowded, the High Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Erwin is a prime spot for making friends (or more). There can be a line to get in, a line to get drinks and a line to snag one of the roof’s prime seating areas. This all translates into prime flirting opportunities with that cute guy or girl standing in line behind you, which might turn into a shared cabana while you watch the sunset over the Santa Monica skyline. Bonus: If you make a connection, there's always a romantic stroll on the beach just steps away.
From the street, there’s no mistaking that you’ve found the right place—it's the cylindrical structure fashioned after a gigantic whiskey barrel, it's easy to spot, trust us—but there’s more brewing inside. Step through the door and you’ll find yourself literally at the bottom of the barrel, with long, bowed planks of wood curving upward toward the circular ceiling. The interior is a celebration of wood that would make Ron Swanson proud, with low, warm lighting that accentuates the natural amber hue of the surrounding lumber. The food pays similar homage to Americana with throwback national dishes like warm pretzels, mac and cheese and sloppy joes, while each drink on the menu is a tribute to this country’s proud cocktail heritage. The result? A marriage of old and new, where tradition meets innovation and a paused history is revived—and best enjoyed on that great back patio.
If you like tequila, then you'll love Las Perlas, a fun, colorful bar from Mr. Downtown, aka 213 Hospitality owner Cedd Moses. Serving one of the city’s most comprehensive selections of tequila and mezcal, the DTLA watering hole attracts more of the Varnish crowd than that of Cabo Cantina. While you can always play it safe and order a margarita, we encourage starting your South of the Border evening with the creative cocktails. It can be sleepy early during the week, so stop in on weekend nights when tequila lovers, from locals to cocktail geeks, pack in—especially for live DJ sets, which always lead to tequila-fueled dancing.
With prime spot on Abbot Kinney and an epic selection of beer—no hard alcohol here, rather there's a rotating roster of craft beer, wine, champagne and sake—the Otheroom attracts the men of Venice. But this ain't your neighborhood dive: on any given night, the bar is filled with locals—flash your 90291 creds to gain recognition at the door—lounging on seats at the bar or at one of the many bar tables. Come dressed in your best sand-and-surf casual as the dim, votive-lit room gives you that seaside glow. Tip: Thursdays to Saturdays are prime nights for meeting and greeting.
When was the last time you went to a beer hall and didn’t hook up with someone? The oldest German pub in the city can get a little crazy at times (usually downstairs, usually when someone starts playing oldies on the piano, usually at 1am), but the beer selection is solid and the upstairs beer garden is rife with communal tables that encourage fraternizing. Order a sausage plate (please, refrain from any sausage-related pick-up lines) and a stein while you scope out the scene.
This popular Silver Lake haunt specializes in whiskeys—there are more than 100 on offer and dozens of small-batch bourbons—and is generally packed throughout the day and week. Unsurprising, as this bar sports one of the neighborhood's hottest happy hours—Monday to Friday from 5 to 8pm; Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 8pm—when most cocktails are only $5. Eastside locals crowd the horseshoe-shaped, central bar to claim prime real estate and bump elbows with their fellow drinkers; if you happen to find yourself a friend for the night, head to the back of the bar for some canoodling in the intimate booths.
Look good—but not like you're trying too hard—when visiting Upstairs, a Moroccan oasis perched atop the trendy Ace Hotel. A sluggish elevator is your key to getting inside (or rather, outside to) the buzzing, open-air roof deck, swathed in a patterned canopy and scattered with hip Downtowners clutching plastic cups—just precaution due to the pint-sized dipping pool off to the side (you’d be surprised at how many people can fit into it after a few drinks). A DJ in shades (despite the near-midnight hour) spins cool electronic beats as the city lights glitter below. It’s definitely one of the better rooftop lounges in L.A., mainly because of the surplus of seating and attractive clientele.