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LA Spots for Summer Cocktails

Two girlfriends with cocktails on a roof top bar

With warmer weather rolling in, there’s nothing like a masterfully mixed cocktail to beat the heat. The city’s cocktail scene is constantly growing, providing hundreds of options on every corner of the apartments for rent in Los Angeles. However, not just any cocktail will do. Whether it’s a much-needed drink for lunch or a way to unwind after work, these are the ten best spots to grab a mixed drink.

1. Oak and Iron

You’ll have to head over to Thousand Oaks to reach this joint, but it’s well worth the stop if you’re passing by after a nice day out. Oak and Iron is new and exciting to the city thanks to its unique menu of seasonal drinks. Fresh produce and infusions are the bulk of the menu, creating delicious concoctions with something on the menu for everyone.

Each drink is crafted by seasoned professionals, headed by Paul Jones (a protégé of Matthew Biancaniello). You’ll also find a speakeasy in the basement for a more private atmosphere, which offers more enterprising selections that one could only call pioneering.

2. Barcade

Did the name give it away? Barcade, located in Highland Park, is equal parts bar and arcade. They’re actually a Brooklyn-based company that’s made their way to LA, and its easy to see why these locations are so successful.

First, and most importantly, they can whip up any creation you desire. Second, their selection of cabinet and pinball machines offer plenty of excitement and an excellent way to spend time with friends as you challenge one another to see who can earn the high score. You’ll also find plenty of craft beer here to sweeten the deal.

3. Five Leaves LA

Long awaited, Five Leaves has finally arrived in East Hollywood. The wait was worth it. With sunny, outdoor spaces and low ABV drinks, this is the place to be during the day. Heading into nighttime, there’s plenty of heavy offerings to help you unwind and let loose.

Patrons are already raving about the unique décor and architecture of Five Leaves from the rounded entryways to the light blue and white color scheme. You can drink a cocktail anywhere, but why not enjoy your favorite drink in style?

4. Juniper tree

If you’re in the mood for a more laid-back atmosphere, head over to Sunset Boulevard’s Juniper Tree. This hotel lobby bar is perfect for after-work hangouts and nightcaps. The upscale atmosphere offers plush seating and plenty of greenery, but the cocktails are what keep Juniper in business.

Their drinks focus on fresh fruits and easy-to-knock-back selections. Take the Illegal Mule, for example. This cocktail is the perfect blend of lime, ginger, goji berry liqueur, and a spritz of soda. Regardless of what type of cocktails you love, the bartenders can whip you up something delightful.

5. Auburn

Bright and welcoming, Auburn find its home on Melrose Avenue. The cocktails here are master-class creations with thoughtful touches designed to pair with their restaurants fine dining selection. This is an upscale cocktail spot, but don’t be intimidated or feel like you need to order the finest steak on the menu. Auburn offers plenty of bar-only dishes for those after-work days when you just need to unwind.

6. Ototo

Ototo has held onto its opening day buzz, which is insanely impressive for any restaurant and bar in the LA area. The secret is their elusive, rare, and otherwise difficult to come by sakes paired with exquisite Japanese cuisine.

While that’s more than enough to keep most LA residents coming back for more, they also offer an impressive list of beers and wine. As for cocktails, expect the sake-heavy variety alongside Japanese standards.

7. Audrey at the Hammer

You can find Audrey at the Hammer inside The Hammer Museum on Wilshire Boulevard. The bar features a unique midcentury modern design and functions as both a bar and restaurant. Whether you hit up Audrey’s before or after checking out the art, its ground floor location couldn’t be any more perfect.

Of course, you can always stop in for a bite to eat or a drink without visiting the rest of the museum. With a vast selection of liquors and mixers, they can whip up just about anything your heart desires. Plus, it’s never as busy as your typical LA bar.

8. Church & State

Church & State took a little hiatus to update its interior and revamp its menu. If you haven’t stopped in since, then place this bar on your weekend bucket list. The new menu was created by chef David Feau, formerly of Wally’s in Beverly Hills. As for the drinks, each was concocted by none other than Nick Meyer.

If you don’t recognize the names, that’s fine. All you need to know is this aperitif-forward cocktail menu pairs before, during, and after your modern French bistro-style meal. It’s an experience worth having, and the redesigned interior creates a wonderfully cozy atmosphere.

9. Alameda Supper Club

From the mind of Chris Bianco, the man who opened Phoenix favorite Pizzeria Bianco, comes the Alameda Supper Club. The food here is delicious and perfect for an after-work meal, but the adjacent Cocktail Club doubles the incentive to stop in.

The cocktails are crafted by LA veterans in the scene including Nick Meyer and Julian Cox, delivering a unique mix of flavors and spirits. Take the Apricot Sour, which utilizes an apricot made in four ways alongside Japanese gin, hazelnut, and frothy egg white. Thirsty yet?

10. Firehouse

Heading into the Arts District, Firehouse offers split sections for drinking and eating (not that you can’t enjoy a drink with your meal, of course). You can enjoy a meal on the covered patio, then head inside to the cocktail counter for something unique or a classic favorite. The Ghost Dance is highly recommended for its creamy texture and easily sippable flavors.

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