From the street, Block Party—a craft beer concept from Jason Eisner (Gracias Madre)—doesn’t look like much of a party. The clean, minimalist shopfront sports white walls and a blank space reminiscent of an Apple store or a trendy coffee shop. It’s not until you reach the back patio that you feel like you’ve actually arrived. Here is where the large outdoor space, complete with communal picnic tables, candy-striped umbrellas and an oversized shuffleboard court, serves as the heart of Block Party. It's a bit jarring when you have to leave this adult backyard playground to order your drinks back inside, but the blow is softened by a genuinely pleasant and laid-back bar staff. Micheladas, a vast array of local beer and cocktail snow cones make for a fun order.
Is Highland Park ever going to slow down? In the past few years, the Eastside nabe has morphed into one of L.A.'s most buzzed-about hoods, spurned by the proliferation of new cocktail bars, revamped music venues and coffee shops galore. When it comes to drinking around these parts, there's plenty of old standbys that are still around, dives with $3 beers and a killer jukebox. But there's also a new guard—cocktail lounges and polished drinking patios that sling pricey craft cocktails. Is there room for both? We think so. Check out our guide to the best Highland Park bars, then choose your own drinking adventure.