Best singles bars in L.A.
Dark, sexy and surprisingly unpretentious—à la its clientele—Bar Bandini is the neighborhood wine bar Echo Park didn’t know it needed. 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, then cropped up in Highland Park. The hidden (literally) gems are a barbershop by day and a speakeasy by night, serving up some tasty libations, including farm-to-table cocktails. In Culver City, nearby locals like the hip Venice crowd mix with those simply looking for a quality quaff (and, hopefully, someone to share it with). In Highland Park, the vibe is laid-back and no-fuss, echoing this location’s cool, ’70s-inspired decor—which makes it an ideal spot to casually buy someone a drink.
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 on 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, 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. This repurposed firehouse also features an outdoor patio that’s perfect 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—and all its guests—in a way that feels warm, flattering 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. This place is a party on weekends, when groups of friends descend on the patio—come with your own crew, then make eyes at the other tables.
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, Highland Park Brewery uses this York Boulevard mainstay as its own sort of taproom—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-ish 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. But you’re not alone: This is one of North Hollywood’s prime gathering spots, and you’re bound to find someone else going stag. Use the, er, unique architecture as a conversation starter over a beer 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.