When any plain old rooftop bar won't do but you're not quite into a full-blown pool party, it's time to hit the pool bar. In the case of some luxury hotels, you'll have to shell out for a cabana or a day bed in order to take a dip. But, hey, treat yo' self—or at the very least, live it up with a cocktail in hand and your toes in the water at one of these pool bars in L.A. open to the public.
7 pool bars in L.A. open to the public
Even if you don’t hop in the pool, you can still plunge into the fun on one of the bright red waterbed pods scattered across the roof at the Downtown outpost of the Standard. Take the elevator up to the top, where mod furnishings give a slightly space-age vibe. Weekend afternoons call for cocktail lounging, but beware the weekend lines that can stretch out into the parking lot.
The rooftop bar that started it all, the Mondrian's Skybar still retains its dress to impress entry and Sunset Strip nightlife cred—this is one of the rare poolside bars where people really do jump in after a night of cocktails. The all-ages crowd ranges from wide-eyed ingénues to aging Robert Evans types, but no matter where you fall in the spectrum, the Mexican-style oasis of flowering walls and gorgeous nooks win you over, especially with mojito in hand.
Look good—but not like you're trying too hard—when visiting this Moroccan oasis perched atop the trendy Ace Hotel. The buzzing, open-air roof deck is swathed in an exotic canopy and scattered with hip Downtowners clutching plastic cups—just precaution for the pint-sized dipping pool off to the side. The crowds really pack in after 9pm, but before that, it’s a predominantly laid-back, after-work crowd.
Open to Sixty Beverly Hills guests, members and cabana reservations during the day, this ritzy rooftop lounge is open to the public for a swanky bar crowd at night. The rooftop lounge offers wine, beer and and cocktails, including their refreshing signature Lemonade Chill, crafted with vodka and housemade lemonade until last call. You'll pay a pretty penny for your libations, but it might just be worth it for the view.
The poolside bar at the revitalised Roosevelt offers a scene that's pure modern Hollywood: stiff and expensive drinks, acres of attitude, a few famous actors and models, a great many more wannabe actors and models, and a pack of attention-seekers who are secretly hoping to be thrown in the pool. In other words, the people-watching is fantastic. Come early (by 6pm) to avoid the lines.
Venture outside of Roy Choi's greenhouse restaurant Commissary and you can sip on cocktails and munch on plates poolside. While the restaurant certainly can keep the pool area low key, on weekends you're more likely to find raucous pool parties at the Koreatown hotel.
The ultra-modern (and ultra-pricey), SLS Beverly Hills is a design dream where visual stimulation abounds and your eyes are blinded by so many white leather sofas. The true gem of the hotel is Altitude, a rooftop pool complete with pool concierge. Weekends during “pool season” from 2-6pm, Altitude transforms into poolside lounge; you'll need to rent a cabana to get in.
Looking for a drink after you dry off?
Contrary to popular belief, hotel bars aren't all about $18 drinks and bougie clientele. Some of the best cocktail bars in L.A. are found in hotels, both budget-friendly and swanky. The best part? If you've had one too many, there's a bed with your name on it just steps away.