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Old Man Bar
Photograph: Time Out/Jakob N. Layman

Settle in at L.A.’s 16 coziest restaurants and bars

Embrace hygge at these cozy restaurants and bars across the city

Patricia Kelly Yeo
Edited by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributor
Stephanie Breijo
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What makes a restaurant cozy? For some diners, it’s the feeling of a lived-in relationship or maybe the warmth of a bar’s central hearth or fire pit on the patio. For those few months when L.A.’s temperatures dip, perhaps there’s nothing better than a night eating corn cheese at a pojangmacha-style bar in Koreatown or sliding into a booth at one of the city’s old-school haunts. No matter how you define hygge (the Danish concept of coziness), we’re likely to have it covered in our guide to the 16 coziest restaurants in Los Angeles.

Curl up at these 16 cozy restaurants and bars

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Eagle Rock
  • price 3 of 4

At the nexus of comfort and romance is Little Beast, an intimate Eagle Rock restaurant that just begs for cuddling up on the patio or in one of the restaurant’s leather booths. The husband-and-wife team of chef Sean Lowenthal and Deborah Schwartz-Lowenthal brought a touch of elegance to this repurposed Craftsman-style bungalow, where New American dishes such as braised short ribs and char-broiled quail warm from within while the gorgeous yellow glow of bulb lights and the ample heaters will keep you comfy and toasty year round.

  • Restaurants
  • Scottish
  • Atwater Village
  • price 3 of 4
Along with Tom Bergin’s, Tam O’Shanter is one of those pubs that have been around forever, which in L.A. means almost a century. Representing the Scottish tier of L.A.’s British pub scene, the Tam O’Shanter is the real deal, from the red phone booth outside to the grumpy old men drinking at the bar. Patterned carpet, a fireplace near the door and exposed brick and wood beams add to the restaurant’s cozy ambience, while British pub food like fish and chips and traditional mushy peas ensure every diner a hearty meal. Knock back a few pints of Belhaven Scottish Ale, and by the end of the meal, you’ll be seeing tartan and reciting National Bard Robert Burns.
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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Pasadena
  • price 3 of 4
Talk about American comfort: The Raymond 1886 and its intimate bar serves elevated stick-to-your-ribs fare (steaks, carbonara, pork chops, seasonal focaccia) along with some of the most classic-leaning, well-executed cocktails not only in Pasadena, but in all of L.A. They’re all best enjoyed by one of the restaurant’s fireplaces—there’s one indoors by the bar and another on the patio outside. String lights and rustic design flourishes add to the hygge factor at the restaurant, which was once a now-razed hotel caretaker’s cottage.
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Culver City
  • price 3 of 4

For most, the phrase “old man bar” conjures a specific image of worn upholstery, bowls of peanuts on a laminate bar top and crotchety curmudgeons downing cheap, no-nonsense drinks—but this isn't the sort of Old Man Bar you’ll find behind Culver City's Hatchet Hall. Instead, this intimate space with an ornate fireplace, etched antique lamps and candles speaks to the grandfather in all of us itching for a glass of dark-hued liquor and a luxurious armchair. The taxidermy and black-and-white portraits might lean towards macabre, but the deliciously strong drinks and list of rare, often pricey whiskeys make this Westside bar a worthwhile destination on colder evenings.

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Los Feliz
  • price 2 of 4

At Alcove Café and its adjoining Big Bar, two concepts are better than one. Part bakery-café and part cocktail bar, this dual-purpose bungalow serves nostalgic classics across a couple patios, each a cozy and comfortable space to eat, sip and hang out beneath the trees. The buzzier front patio is colorful and a total eye-catcher—just walk or drive past during brunch service—while the side seating is quiet and seats but a few. No matter where you sit, this is a true neighborhood spot. It is the best spot in Los Feliz to catch up with old friends over burgers, avocado toast and some of the best drinks in town.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Santa Monica Mountains
  • price 4 of 4

This upscale lodge was once a celeb-favorite retreat in the 1920s, and it’s still got that Old Hollywood magic—especially on the patio. Tucked into the mountains and surrounded by trees, you could almost convince yourself that you’re hiding away from all your adoring fans even if just for the length of one meal. The rugged setting is matched by the menu of wild meats—elk tenderloin, bison short rib—plus fresh seafood and local produce often woven and spun into elegant creations. A marrow-and-mushroom sandwich by the fire pit? Now that’s cozy.

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  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Koreatown
  • price 2 of 4

The best place to sip soju and chat over plates of anju with friends, Dan Sung Sa is a quintessential divey Koreatown drinking spot with red curtain-lined wood panel interiors, dim lighting and no-nonsense service. Stepping through its doors can make you feel like you’ve been transported back to a late-20th-century Seoul pojangmacha—the perfect ambience for sizzling platters of corn cheese and soju, baekseju (an herb-infused rice wine) or makgeolli, a lightly sparkling, off-white rice wine that manages to read on the palate as sweet, tangy and bitter all at once. Our pick for the coziest spot in the house: Dan Sung Sa’s intimate all-wood bar setup, where you can watch the restaurant’s popular meat skewers sizzle on the grill.

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Studio City
  • price 3 of 4
This tucked-away patio is, in part, what makes Firefly one of the most romantic restaurants in all of L.A.: It may be the closest thing to a secret garden we have, what with the walls of tangled ivy, outdoor fireplace and the private, curtained tables to transport you to the pages of a storybook. The food is enough to warm you, too, whether it’s mac and cheese silken with mornay or the sizeable porterhouse steak served with Brussels sprouts and bacon—and if for some reason it doesn’t, the tight but ample scotch, bourbon and whiskey list should do the trick. Inside, you’ll find mood lighting, walls stacked with books and plush couch seats: the perfect place, in our opinion, to sip an old-fashioned with friends.
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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Atwater Village
  • price 2 of 4

Every log cabin winter experience you’ve ever endured will come flooding back when you step through the doors of this woodsy-looking bar, which has locations in both Atwater Village and Palms. From the fireplace to the signage, rendered in that quaint National Park font, management haven’t missed a beat in their bid to recreate the rugged wilderness feel of the American West. Studded leather booths and quaint Western curios add to the bar’s cozy feel, while beer and shot combos and well-made drinks like the tequila-laced Roasted Marshmallow put hair on your chest.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Los Feliz
  • price 2 of 4

Home is, as the name implies, all about making visitors feel like they’re in the comfort of one’s one abode. Cozy, welcoming and, well, homey, this charming all-day eatery located in a Los Feliz bungalow features a patio shrouded in trees and grandma-style floral wallpaper in the dining room. A menu full of American comfort foods like mac and cheese, a turkey Reuben and fried chicken and waffles seal the deal on every visit to this neighborhood spot. Tip: Arrive early to beat the lines for weekend brunch.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Westwood
  • price 3 of 4

Lined with well-stocked bookshelves, wood-paneled booths and a roaring fireplace, the Wellesbourne is your booziest library dream come to life. It’s modeled after 18th-century England, specifically Shakespeare’s hometown, so every room is filled with refined touches. To get into the mood, ask for the bartender's and specify “strong and stirred,” letting the experts do the choosing, or opt for seasonal specials like the Egg Nog Blue Blazer, a holiday brew made with three different rums and house-made nog.

  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Fairfax District
  • price 2 of 4

Still owned by the Canter family after 90 years, this reliable 24-hour Jewish deli on Fairfax is one of the best places in town for an after-hours snack. Come 2am, sipping coffee with a pastrami sandwich and bowl of matzo soup on the side, you’ll feel like you’re part of the counter service coterie from Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. During more regular service hours, however, Canter’s old-school diner interiors translate into a more laid-back, comfortable atmosphere perfect for a casual meal. At any hour, you’ll get excellent service, wonderfully sour pickles and endless refills of hot coffee

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  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Beverly
  • price 3 of 4

The string-lit heated patio at this iconic Californian restaurant in Beverly Grove isn’t just charming—thanks to an enormous brick-lined fireplace, it’s downright cozy on a chilly evening. The warmth from the flames, combined with seasonally driven small plates, make for an excellent evening meal with friends or family, especially if you're a big fan of wine. Plus, the Spanish fried chicken and bacon-wrapped dates still feel as fresh and flavorful as when A.O.C. first opened in 2002.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Hollywood

When you’re craving hearty Mexican American food with (literal) flaming margaritas, El Compadre is ready to serve you every iteration of cheese, tortilla, rice, beans, salsa, sour cream and guacamole under the sun. Endless chips and salsa also mean that you’ll never leave hungry from this old-school spot dating back to the ‘70s with locations in Hollywood and Echo Park. Both restaurants’ red leather booths, unfussy atmosphere and solid menu mean it’s the perfect spot to let your hair down and settle in on colder L.A. evenings.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eclectic
  • Koreatown
  • price 2 of 4

With blood-red leather booths and dim mood lighting, this historic Tudor Revival restaurant serving Korean fried chicken and other bar bites is a divey, time-traveling fever dream. Once known as the Windsor, the Prince’s interior dates back to the 1940s and has been featured in New Girl, Mad Men and Chinatown. Though the food isn’t the best (save for the deep fried chicken and spicy seafood soup), you can’t beat the low-key ambience at the Prince, which manages to toe the line between luxurious and comfortable all at the same time.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Santa Monica Mountains

Live out your Wild West fantasies in this rustic, saloon-inspired wooden restaurant where meats get roasted over an open flame and the whiskey flows like water. Daily specials such as venison or wild boar are enough to make us feel like we’re taming the mountains of Agoura Hills, while a full weekend brunch menu and modern dishes—like the upscale grilled cheese sandwich smeared with a blue-cheese aioli—remind us we’re in the 21st century.

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