Chateau Marmont is legendary in this town—the parties, the scene, the people watching, the if-these-walls-could-talk tales. The mystique and charm of the French Gothic hotel draws the Hollywood crowd who hide out in one of the nine bungalows, party in the private suites and dine on the lush, outdoor patio. And in the age of the cocktail, it would only make sense that the recent addition to the hotel's lobby/restaurant is a bar—dedicated to the boozy craft and with a secret menu, no less. Take a seat at the bar, lest you be ignored by your model-actor/server, and peruse the regular cocktail menu from Matt Schaefer (Big Bar) who concocts solid classics such as Moscow Mule and Daiquiri. If you're feeling fancy—rubbing elbows with the beautiful people will do that to you—a not-so-standard list of bespoke cocktails can be ordered from the secret menu. The drinks may come with a hefty price tag, but what you get for $20 is the experience of sipping an expertly made cocktail while channeling your inner Garbo.
Good for: Power cocktail-ing, pre-dinner drinks, impressing a date or out-of-towner with $20 cocktails
The scene: Hotel guests take post at the bar or at one of the several two-tops. After 8pm on any night of the week, pretty young things and the Hollywood in-crowd are scattered inside the restaurant, spilling into the bar. Though the vibe is more see-and-be-seen than "Do you make your own bitters?" cocktail geeks can reserve a table ahead or just sidle up to the bar.
What to drink:Try the Forbidden Fizz ($20), made with rye, bitters, lime juice, housemade grenadine, sugar and egg white. Or let the bartender create a customized cocktail—another sour, perhaps, or "dealer's choice."