People complain that Los Angeles isn’t conducive to barhopping: Everything is spread out, we don’t have a decent transportation system, the 2 a.m. curfew. With the growing number of awesome bars, it’s getting easier to connect the dots and hop between watering holes — and not just in downtown L.A.
If you want to try something brand new and visit a local icon, the 1.3-mile stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard between Sweetzer and Formosa avenue has plenty of options. They’re all within stumbling distance of each other so no need to Uber between them although we recommend you leave the stilettos at home.
La Fête: Ease into the evening with a light pastis aperitif or a spritz at this new French-inspired cocktail bar, which opened up in the elegant space adjacent to Norah and features a bar program by David Kupchinsky (Eveleigh, Freehand Hotel). If you want to come in hot, there’s a martini service with a sidecar of excess cocktail and olives.
8277 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. www.lafetelosangeles.com
Laurel Hardware’s Mezcal Bar: Cut through the crowd and duck into the elegant mezcal-dedicated bar in the back, past the kitchen. It’s quieter and more sophisticated with plush seating, wood panels and vintage mirrors. Choose from about a hundred mezcals. If sipping them neat is too hardcore for an extended barhop, try one of the seasonal cocktails made with the spirit.
7984 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. www.laurelhardware.com
Employees Only: The award-winning New York bar from bartender Dushan Zaric now has an L.A. outpost with its own pizza oven, so this would be a good place to grab some sustenance. Snag a seat at the room-length bar and settle in with one of the tall drinks, maybe the Rain Dance Cobbler made with gin, madeira, blackberry syrup, ruby port and fresh berries and herbs.
7953 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. www.employeesonlyla.com
Surly Goat: By now, you’re probably ready for a beer break. Fortunately this craft beer bar by L.A.’s first cicerone, Ryan Sweeney, is in the middle of our route. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the choices that 26 beers on tap presents, ask the “beertender” for guidance. If you want to continue your barhop, stick to low-ABV options such as a 4 percent lager or Berliner Weisse.
7929 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. surlygoat.com
No More Heroes: The folks behind Ysabel and Laurel Hardware transformed the Now Boarding space into a rock ‘n roll den with artsy murals of everyone from David Bowie to Biggie Smalls. It’s meant to be the chill neighborhood alternative to the velvet rope scene, offering $14 signature drinks as well as a dedicated roster of frozen cocktails. The slushy house margarita is a good bet.
7746 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. nmh.la
Bar Lubitsch: This Russian-themed vodka bar has staying power, surviving the craft cocktail trend that killed martini bars like Lola’s. (RIP Appletini.) It’s a good spot to regroup and recover from palate fatigue with a clean vodka soda. They offer vodkas from all over the world, everything from A to V (that’d be Armenia to Vietnam). Want to dance? Duck into the Red Room in back to see which band or DJ is playing.
7702 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. barlubitsch.com
Barbette: Time for a steak frites and champagne break! Fortify yourself with protein and carbs in the form of a brasserie favorite. Opened in May, this French bar and bistro features a cocktail menu by bartender Brittney Olsen, who mixes classic and signature sparkling cocktails. Plus, they have a great selection of wines by the glass. If you don’t feel like cutting into a steak, order those addictive fries.
7511 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. www.barbettebarandbistro.com
Harlowe: The night is drawing to an end and so are you. Escape the crowded dance floor at the most beautiful of the 1933 Group’s bar by retreating to Harlowe’s patio lounge. Skip the free-flowing Old Fashioned on tap, a potent way to cut any barhop short, for a refreshing Mule made with lime, stomach-soothing ginger beer and a spirit of your choice.
7321 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. harlowebar.com
Jones: End the night at the Beggars’ Banquet, a late-night happy hour from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. featuring $4.50 beers and $8.50 cocktails, including their Dirty Sue Martini made with vodka or gin and Dirty Sue olive juice. You can also order a pasta, pizza or salad to help stave off a hangover. Save room for their sizzling apple pie.
7205 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. www.joneshollywood.com
Article courtesy of LAist.