Cool Down With Refreshing Summer Cocktails at These L.A. Bars
With an abundance of sunshine, beaches and desirable temperatures, Los Angeles is known for our vacation-worthy weather. From outdoor patios to indoor hot spots, we have curated a list of the best bars where you should be sip your summer cocktails.
1886 at The Raymond is throwing back to your childhood years with their latest summer cartoon-themed cocktail menu. Get one stirred with the Spongebob Martini Pants with Lillet Blanc, yellow Chartreuse, Gran Classico rinse, pecan, lemon twist, and cardamom. For something fruity yet dangerously strong, the Tasmanian Devil combines three types of rum with Allspice dram, lime, pineapple, grapefruit juices, demerara, honey, and Angostura bitter float. For something cooler still, in the Dino and Bamm Bamm, guests can choose between a blueberry matcha ice cream or green chartreuse ice cream to top up their overproof daiquiri.
There is plenty of outdoor seating and no shortage of great drinks at Big Bar at The Alcove. There’s a pina colada riff with pineapple vodka, rum, coconut, pineapple, cream, and topped with bubbles. Named after the bar manager with the sunny disposition’s nickname, Sunnie in the Yucatan offers a taste of the tropical with mango infused tequila, Huana guanabana liqueur, lime, ginger beer, and house-made ginger foam.
Since it is summer, you’ll probably be hitting the beaches more this season, including Santa Monica Beach. In this case, it is time to revisit one of LA’s old favorites, Copa d’Oro with master barman Vincenzo Marianella. You can’t go wrong with any drink from the godfather of cocktails, but the Hoodoo would refresh anyone after a warm day on the beach, made with gin, strawberry, basil, lime, and soda.
The glamorous folk of the Old Hollywood would probably spend their summers drinking away at a bar like Harlowe. The bar with the vintage décor also receives plenty of summer sun during the day. Pair small bites from chef Eric Greenspan with both classic and seasonal drinks. The Birds of Paradise presents layers of vegetable and fruit flavors with Elyx vodka, St Germain, Suze, pineapple, rosemary, beet, and lemons.
The latest tiki bar in LA opened in Hollywood courtesy of the team behind Melrose Umbrella Company. Lono is named after the Hawaiian god of rainfall and the fun will rain at this new hotspot with cocktails designed by Mike Lay (formerly Broken Spanish) and food from SBE veteran David Lespron. The warm and inviting tropical paradise will offer punch bowls along with drinks combining coconut-infused cachaça with pineapple, coconut and banana gelato.
Plan to spend a good number of your summer days and evenings at this Mexican grill’s outdoor patio in Frogtown, eating tacos and sipping beverage manager Brandi Boles’ cocktails. Save room for more than one drink (and taco), with options such as Tell it to My Heart combines coconut infused mezcal, Lillet, coconut water, strawberry, and mint for a nice summer thirst quencher.
Yes, it’s now worth driving to the Valley for a drink. The new swanky restaurant from the Boneyard Bistro team has a gin-heavy menu. What better to drink your summer away than with gin and tonics? There are six different kinds of Spanish-style gin and tonics, each combining different gins with different tonics and various herbs and fruits, from lemongrass, strawberry, pink peppercorn, fennel frond, and more. For those who prefer darker spirits, the San Fernando Swizzle is equally perfect for summer, with Hennessy Privilage, overproof rum, cinnamon, grapefruit, and mint served on crushed ice.
The Church Key
The Sunset Strip may be filled with touristy spots, but The Church Key is one of the few gems that are always a solid stop for both food and cocktails – the latter concocted by veteran mixologist Rob Floyd. This season, try the Summer Elixir made with tequila, watermelon, mint, jalapeno, and Spanton cardamom tonic.
The new Peruvian restaurant from Chef Ricardo Zarate also boasts cocktails designed by consulting bartender Jeremy Lake, who has incorporated various unusual Peruvian ingredients in his drinks. He combines prickly pear and strawberry brandies with Chinese five spice and fermented fruit. The glasshouse back dining area also makes for a lovely summer sipping.
The Mexican food movement is going strong in Los Angeles, including the anticipated recent opening of Verlaine from prominent Baja chef Diego Hernandez. Verlaine arrives in West Hollywood with drinks from bartender Aaron Melendrez (formerly Salazar), who has concocted some drinks to embrace the season with. The aptly named Summer Serenade combines gin, strawberry brandy, Chareau aloe vera liqueur, mint, and lime.