Bars are Back! Where to Sip Safely Outdoors in LA

Bars can now serve outdoors in California, and we've got a great list to visit in the Greater Los Angeles Area

As vaccination eligibility changes and the hope of reopening inches desperately closer, Californians will soon be able to change where they wet their whistle. While many locations remain closed, a smattering of great bars are back in action all across Los Angeles. Sipping a tasty beverage indoors may soon be possible, but until then, we have put together a list of where to sip safely outdoors in LA. Here are some great picks for al fresco cocktails, nibbles, & more (in no particular order):

Keep in mind: some of the bars below also offer indoor dining, if you are so inclined.

1. Lanea 

217 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Street tacos and delicious drinks take center stage at Lanea

Enjoy the spirit of Mexico in the heart of Santa Monica at Lanea. From its massive 400+ selection of Tequilas and Mezcals to the authentic south-of-the-border cuisine — there’s a lot to love. Delightful concoctions include classics like the Aperol Spritz (aka Cult Classic) and the Paloma. Plus, you can find delectable new twists such as Watermelon.Sugar.High and the PCH (Picante Coast Highway). Munch on street tacos or quesadillas, or devour one of six flavorful brunch street tacos; served on weekends until 2 pm. The team at Lanea takes temperatures of patrons and staff, who also wear masks and gloves. In addition, they use UV-light to sanitize and offer hand sanitizer. 

The outdoor patio at Lanea is intimate and safe.

2. Mister O’s 

11838 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604

The Wu Wei Zi is made with Bombay Saphire Gin, Schisandra Berry-infused St. Germain, Honey, and Sparkling wine. (photo courtesy of Mister O’s)

Design fans will note that the interior of Mister O’s has a distinctive retro, vintage vibe. While this Studio City-favorite has yet to open indoors, rest assured the day is approaching swiftly! The bar motto is “Come for the food, stay for the drinks,” which is understandable given the varied selection of libations. Notable options include the Lucky Charm (Jameson, Fernet Branca, cashew orgeat, lemon, cacao spice bitters, Peychaud’s bitters) and the Strong Silent Type (Saint Teresa Rum, Charred Pineapple Bourbon, vanilla-infused demerara syrup, cacao spice bitters). In addition to tasty cocktails, they also partnered with Paperback Brewing Co. to offer great beer offerings. On the other hand, you can find plenty of tantalizing food options: Buffalo Cauliflower, Duck & Pork Chorizo Bolognese, Tuna Poke, and Alaskan Halibut, among others. Did we mention they silently project movies or sports onto the wall? Cause they do.

Tuna Poké Bowl with rice, avocado, cucumber, tare, furikake, wasabi mayo, and sesame oil.

3. Death & Co.

810 E. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

The warm, inviting lighting of Death & Co. is sure to put you in a good mood.

This sultry cocktail bar & lounge is happily welcoming back indoor diners starting Wednesday, April 14th. Patrons can dine outside nightly Thursday-Sunday from 5-11pm — both walk-ins and reservations are accepted. The first Death & Co. opened in Manhattan’s East Village (NYC), and the company has brought that same artistic flair to the City of Angels, and more specifically to the eclectic Arts District. 

Photo courtesy of Death & Co.

Tantalizing bites include Fried Chicken with Honey, Strawberry Panzanella, and Chocolate Chip Cookies served with sea salt and banana liqueur. Their drink menu is chock-full of unique flavors, from the Ecstasy of Gold (Old Overholt 100 proof Rye, Empirical Pasilla Chile Spirit, Grapefruit, Wildflower Honey + Lemon) to Pirate Radio (El Dorada 8 year Demerara Rum, Krogstad Aquavit, Banana, Lime, Coca-Cola).  Plus, the bar provides hand sanitizer and an envelope to store masks while you imbibe.

4. All Season Brewing 

800 South La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036

All Season Brewing took an old Firestone tire shop and turned it into a fantastic brewpub.

One of the most exciting new additions to the LA bar scene, All Season Brewing is a truly rad place. Established by the Pouring with Heart crew (Casey’s Irish Pub, Seven Grand, and others), this brew pub takes advantage of an old Firestone tire shop for a midcentury modern look that is one-of-a-kind. Before you get upset that a brewery is on the list, bear in mind All Season’s words, “Even though we’re a brewery, we’re a bar first.” All Season cleverly points out that Los Angeles doesn’t have seasons and neither does drinking. (Plus, I love the savvy nod to all-season tires) Chicas Tacos provides the onsite food, including tacos, burritos, nachos, and plant-based options. Sip on one of their many delicious brews or go for a draft cocktail: Vodka Pineapple Collins, Jameson Mojito, or a Mezcal Paloma. They’re open ’til 12am Thursday-Saturday!

All Season Brewing has plenty of room for safe sippin’

5. Gracias Madre

8905 Melrose Ave.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Gracias Madre has extended their outdoor patio to add substantially more seating.

Gracias Madre is a staple of the West Hollywood community, offering a sensational vegan menu you won’t find anywhere else. They also opened up for indoor dining very recently, complete with their ethically sourced, additive-free tequila. Tequila is available in abundance here with hundreds of options, from Mezcal and Blanco to Añejo and Reposado. Plus, their signature cocktails pack a punch, with mouthwatering Sangria, a Slushie (with watermelon), and the classic Michelada, among others. Vegans and vegetarians will love the Enchiladas Verdes, Potato Pimiento Flautas, and Crispy Mushroom Mole.

Taco Tuesday includes a House Margarita, Jackfruit Taco, Al Pastor Taco, and Chicharon Taco for just $25!

6. The Raymond 1886

1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105

This charming local favorite hideout has a rich history in Pasadena. Discover the fascinating rise and fall of The Raymond Hotel, which gave rise to the craftsman cottage that the 1886 Bar is housed in today. Stop by their Happy Hour Tuesday through Sunday from 4-6pm with $7 cocktails. If you’re in the mood for a full meal, you can also enjoy a New York Steak, Seabass, or a Classic Burger. All the necessary precautions are in place, including temperature taking for all guests, social distancing, and face-covering enforcement. 

The caretaker’s Craftsman-style cottage transformed into the Raymond Bar seen today.

7. The Mermaid

428 E. 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The tables at The Mermaid are distanced and well lit by overhead lights.

The Mermaid is one of the youngest bars on our list, nearing three years in business soon. But don’t let its age fool you, this is a great spot with an enticing underwater/mermaid theme. From tropical punches to specialty cocktails such as Mermaiden Voyage (rum, hibiscus syrup, and lime) and Making Waves (a frozen slushie with mango and citrus), there’s a little something for everyone. Their food menu is very appetizing as well, featuring Buffalo Wings, Short Rib Tacos, and a Fried Chicken Sandwich, to name a few. They’ve expanded into the parking lot at the Honda Plaza for outdoor dining, a mere hop, skip, and a jump from Death & Co., another great bar on our list.

8. Harlowe Bar

7321 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046

The romantic nighttime lighting at Harlowe is tough to beat.

Harlowe is another perfect example of a beautifully decorated and fashioned bar forced to adapt to the times. The inside of this special spot captures the feel of an invigorating social club from Hollywood’s Golden Era. That being said, their outdoor patio is romantic and adorable, complete with twinkling lights overhead. Their drink menu reflects the bar’s old soul, More Fancy Less Free (Blood Orange Infused Rye Whiskey base) and French Parakeet (Real McCoy Rum blend, Green chartreuse, and more) for example. Scrumptious appetizers include Shucked Oysters, Spicy Tuna Tartare, and the always classic Charcuterie Board. Only 30 seats are available, so reservations are encouraged!

The mixologists at Harlowe love crafting specialty cocktails.

9. Big Bar

1927 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Big Bar has ambiance, great drinks, and the option to order food from Alcove.

Big Bar is attached to the Alcove in eclectic Los Feliz, transporting cocktail aficionados outdoors. Their Spring and Summer 2021 is dotted with refreshing concoctions, including the Stimulus Rich (Two kinds of Rum, Gin, and Apricot Brandy) and Let The Mango! (Tequila + Mango-Infused Cointreau), and the Pandad Bod (Mezcal, Tropical Fruit + Honeydew Milk). Chow down on classic American fare with their Happy Hour menu, featuring Sweet Potato Fries and Truffle Fries for $6 & a Lazy Boy Burger for $12. In addition, Big Bar keeps patrons safe with sanitizer stations and a reduction to 102 seats at 29 tables.

Every Wednesday enjoy the perfect pairing of the savory Big Bar Burger + a crisp & silky martini.

10. Lowboy

1540 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Lowboy takes full advantage of their patio and sidewalk space.

Lowboy is lowkey a beloved Echo Park haunt, setting the standard for neighborhood hospitality. They filled their front patio and sidewalk space to seat as many customers as possible. Plus, they are now offering indoor seating too! Cocktails include an Agave Mule, a Mai Tai, and The Lowboy Special (Coors Banquet “Stubby” and a shot of Old Grand Dad Bourbon) Snack on Handcut Fries or Old Bay Popcorn, or chow down on more filling options such as an Impossible Lowburger, a California Burrito, or K-Town Wings (which can be spiced up with Satan Sauce). It’s a hidden gem that delivers on quintessential comfort foods and delicious drinks to wash it all down.

About Michael Bruer

Michael Bruer is a Los Angeles native, and serves as the Social Content Creator at JohnHart Real Estate. Michael received his Bachelor's Degree in English from Saint Mary's College, and has spent the last 10 years honing his skills in Copywriting, Social Media Management, and SEO best practices. He is an avid fan of basketball, soccer, and college football, and even captained an improv team for a couple of years!

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