L.A.’s Buzziest Bars for Spring Cocktails

The Los Angeles cocktail scene has been buzzing with several new bar openings (and bar programs changing hands) throughout the city. With spring now officially here, it’s the time to check out the spring forward cocktails at L.A.’s latest hotspots.

This popular New York City bar recently opened a new location in in L.A., hidden under the historic North Spring Street Viaduct. Just like its Manhattan counterpart, the L.A. location has bartenders dressed in white lab coats concocting drinks focused on herbs and botanicals. Date nights call for a glass of the Aphrodisiac, made with thyme infused rum, cantaloupe, banana, lime, and muddled cape gooseberry.

Checker Hall
This new restaurant and bar in Highland Park is located on the second floor of a former Masonic Lodge. The menu brings unique cocktails such as Chapter Sweetheart (rye, agave, strawberry, sage, and pomegranate molasses). Stay for the Mediterranean food or stop in for a drink before going to a live music show at the adjacent Lodge Room.

This intimate women-owned bar and lounge opened recently in L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown after the three Filipina co-owners raised $38,000 on Kickstarter. The drink menu naturally features genever and gin. Get refreshing cocktails at this burgeoning neighborhood such as Major Tom, made with gin, lemon, Italicus, citrus oleo, and ginger bitters.

Hotel Figueroa
Hotel Figueroa just opened with three bars headed by bartender Dushan Zaric who co-founded New York’s Employees Only. There’s the lobby space Bar Figueroa and Rick’s behind the veranda that promises beach town inspired cocktails.For the full experience, head to the 28-seat Bar Alta where bespoke cocktails are prepared in front of each guest on bar carts.

David Chang’s L.A. venture is a worthy destination not just for the food, but also cocktails. Grab a spot at the bar to sip on Bright Eyes (gin, muscat, orange blossom, red grapefruit, tonic) or Cin Cin (soju, aperol, bergamot liqueur, vermouth bianco). Snap a shot of Thriller (mezcal, Strega, passionfruit, cardamom, ginger, and lime) served in a white kitty mug.

NoMad Hotel
Downtown LA’s NoMad Hotel opened amid much fanfare, bringing Leo Robitschek’s cocktail program to Los Angeles. On the ground, bartender Dave Purcell acts as Bar Manager for the Giannini Bar and Bar Amadeo (the Coffee Bar switches to aperitif and digestif focused Bar Amadeo in the evening). Giannini Bar’s large cocktail menu offers NoMad classics as well as new concoctions for the L.A. location.

Pacific Seas
The decked out tiki bar at Clifton’s Republic got over its rocky start and settled in with a solid new bar program from Beau DuBois (formerly of The Corner Door) and head bartender Bethany Ham (formerly of Birds and Bees). New menus are also getting rolled out for each of the bars at Clifton’s including Monarch Bar and Gothic Bar.

Petite Taqueria
If spring brings to mind margaritas and other tequila cocktails, head to the sceney Petite Taqueria. The Mexican hotspot from the h.wood Group serves up Margaritas, Palomas, along with drinks like Petite Daiqueria with rum, lime, angostura bitters served with a tamarind lollipop. The bar also offers a large selection of tequila and mezcal.

The Corner Door
Culver City’s neighborhood bar changed hands last year and is still going strong under new management Umbrella Hospitality Group (Melrose Umbrella Company) and new bar manager Liam Odien. Get a taste of a vodka redbull cocktail like you’ve never imagined before with Hangman’s Goose (vodka, lemon, Redbull, St. Germain, rosemary, cream) or enjoy tiki drinks such as the Treasure of the Sierra Madre (rum, lime, passionfruit, apricot, orgeat, bitters).

This hip little Indonesian spot in Venice also brings Southeast Asian influences into their cocktails. The Red Envelope is perfect for spring with its mix of gin, hibiscus tea, coconut, pandan, lemon, and egg white. For a stiffer drink, try the Monkey King with tequila, cynar, turmeric, ginger, and tamarind.