Where You Should Be Drinking Around LA This Summer

By Lesley Balla  |  July 30, 2013

When the temperature heats up, so does the nightlife scene, whether it's in the wee hours after the sun goes down or during the day on a patio or around the pool. Summer isn't over yet: check out our shortlist to see where to quaff the best craft brews, find great seasonal cocktails, enjoy the hottest new late-night happy hours and more.

  • Credit: Smog City

    Drink Craft Beer

    Smog City Brewing now has a taproom in Torrance where they serve the latest releases and the standards, everything from an Apricot Tripel to Groundwork Coffee Porter and an XPA.

    Angel City Brewery in the Arts District opens daily, with a food truck rally once a month. The open room is a cool place to sip suds on blistering summer afternoons, and we don’t mean because it’s filled with hipsters - it’s a huge shaded warehouse with wide-open garage doors to catch breezes.

    The folks behind Downtown's Library Bar and Spring Street Tavern, both known for excellent beer lists, are also responsible for Sixth Street Tavern, which boasts the largest patio of the three.

  • Credit: No Vacancy

    Try Out New Bars

    Mark and Jonnie Houston (La Descarga, Pour Vous, Harvard & Stone) opened No Vacancy, a new pre-Prohibition bar in a Victorian house in the middle of Hollywood. We’d like to say that the cocktail menu from an exceptional group of bartenders, the great patio, burlesque and tightrope walkers were the best part, but we’d have to say it’s the entryway.

    Mari Vanna, the new bubbe-chic house on Melrose Place, is more than just a Russian restaurant: the bar stocks more than 70 house-infused vodkas, ranging from cucumber and dill to horseradish, lingonberry, pear and prune.

    Some other new restaurants with great cocktail lists include Petty Cash Taqueria for its tequila Old Fashioneds on tap; Crossroads for vegan-friendly drinks; and Connie and Ted’s, where it feels like you’re sipping from a Cape Cod shoreline.

  • Get Quenched at Late-Night Happy Hours

    Take advantage of the longer days while you can with late-night (9 PM and after) happy hours. As part of the effort to make his Beverly Hills flagship more accessible to everyone, Wolfgang Puck added a happy hour from 9-11 PM, Tuesday through Saturday nights, at the Spago bar. Specialty drinks are only $10 and premium wine pours are $8-$14, and all go along with new bar bites (smoked marrow toast, spaghettini with littleneck clams, chicken wings with togarashi glaze).

    Bar Pintxo stays open late for happy-hour deals after the concerts at the Santa Monica Pier on Thursday nights. Head in for $6 tapas, $3 beers, $4 sangria and wine, and $6 gin and tonics.

    At Red O's all-night Social Hour menu, $8 cocktails, tamales, fundido, tacos and more are available at the bar Sunday through Thursday.

  • Credit: Matt Biancaniello

    Sip On Fresh Seasonal Cocktails

    Fantastic seasonal cocktails are always available at top bars like The Corner Door, Roger Room and Bar 1886. Right now you’ll also find fun summer sippers at Napa Valley Grille, which combines the juice craze with mixology, creating things like Green Retreat with vodka, celery juice, grapefruit and coconut water. Short Order also has a green theme going with its summer cocktail menu: check out the Sentimental Sanchez, made with tequila, fresh green tomato, Serrano chile and cardamom bitters. And you can follow Matt Biancaniello, who’s like the Pied Piper of foraged cocktails, to The Victorian on Sundays and Thursdays and Cliff’s Edge on Wednesdays.

  • Credit: Buddha's Belly

    Make a Splash With Sake and Soju

    Sake and soju cocktails are making a splash this season, both for their versatility and low alcohol, but also because not every restaurant or bar gets a full liquor license. In addition to the extensive list at Katana in West Hollywood, there’s the Red Sun Barbecue all summer long with sake specials, cocktails and a special menu, all served on the patio.

    And the new Scratch Bar, which is both restaurant and bar, has fun concoctions like the Hero Neat-O made with junmai and nigori sake, lime, salt, cayenne and cane sugar.

    After 10 years on Beverly Boulevard, Buddha’s Belly opened a small lounge where infused sake and soju are made into classic Manhattans and more.