Sizzling Spots for Summer Cocktails in Los Angeles

It may have been warm in Los Angeles for a while now, but the new season calls for different produce, new cocktails, and a slew of bar and restaurant openings around the city. It is also the season to hit up the poolside and rooftop bars, or perhaps cool down from the heat in a basement speakeasy. To help you take advantage of the season, we have rounded up ten spots where you should be drinking summer cocktails in Los Angeles.

APL Restaurant
Meat master Adam Perry Lang finally opened his own restaurant in L.A. You may remember him from the barbecue pop up he did in the parking lot of Jimmy Kimmel’s studio. You’ll come for the steak but wouldn’t want to miss the whiskey cocktails from beverage director Jonathan Michael McClune (sbe Group).

This chic French brasserie in West Hollywood comes from the people behind The Roger Room. The cocktail program is the creation of bartender Brittney Olsen (Break Room 86). Try the Pearl Cap with Dimmi, black rose, lemon and sparkling rosé or the vivid Northern Trick which combines gin, bergamot, lemon, coconut water, and the blue-colored butterfly pea flower.

Bavel is the new Middle Eastern restaurant in the Arts District, and it warrants a visit considering it’s the new restaurant from chef Ori Menashe of Bestia fame. While you’re there for the food, don’t sleep on the cocktails crated by barman Ricky Yarnall. This summer try drinks like the Omaira which combines pisco with pear liqueur, grenadine, lime, and pink peppercorn.

There’s a new beach-themed bar in West Hollywood, aptly named Beaches. It brings a welcomed drinking option in the neighborhood from owner John Bakalar and cocktails designed by bartender Aiden Demarest, both of whom worked at The Edison in its heydays. Get the party going with the 20-oz Waikiki Slushie with a blend of rums, coconut syrup, mango puree, pineapple, lime, and cayenne.

Blind Barber Highland Park
This speakeasy hidden behind a Culver City barbershop recently opened a second location. The new outpost is in Highland Park, taking over the Frank’s Camera Shop space, and it still has the barbershop out front and the bar hidden behind.  The bar has a midcentury feel and the cocktail menu is similar to the other locations with ten classics plus rotating cocktails. Refresh your palate with The Batman, made with Ford’s gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon, mint, and bitters.

Broken Shaker
Now that summer is here, it’s time to go back to one of the hottest rooftop bars in town. The award-winning bar from Miami brings downtown L.A. inspired cocktails this colorful poolside rooftop bar atop the Freehand Hotel. Enjoy the summer sun with a glass of the tropical Mrs. Roper, made with rum, banana, coconut, mole, and orange.

Employees Only L.A.
The West Coast outpost of the famed New York City bar opened in April this year. It took over the former space of Baby Blue BBQ and bartender Dushan Zaric’s cocktails will be paired with food from chef Sascha Lyon (formerly of Commerson). Zaric himself called it the best Employees Only location yet, so check it out yourself and enjoy warm weather cocktails like Rain Dance Cobbler with gin, madeira, blackberry syrup and port.  

Madame Siam
The latest from bars-with-secret-entrances masters Houston Brothers is a carnival-themed underground bar, Madame Siam Sideshow Emporium. Play ball toss and have a tarot card reading in between sips of approachable cocktails. The spicy Raja Gaj combines mezcal with Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, lime, agave, and serrano peppers.

Rooftop Bar at The NoMad
The pool-side rooftop bar at the new NoMad Hotel in DTLA is finally open, just in time for summer drinking season. The rooftop menu offers a wide range of cocktails from the NoMad classics like the Sakura Maru (genever, pisco, aged cachaça, green tea, yogurt, lemon, agave) to frozen pina colada. There is also a small but solid food menu from Daniel Humm’s team.

There are several restaurants and bars at the new Hotel Figueroa to check out, but the poolside al fresco Rick’s is the bar for the summer. The cocktails come by way of beverage director Michael Lay (formerly of Broken Spanish) and Dushan Zaric (Employees Only). Explore the two-story bar while sipping tropical cocktails such as Mai Tai ’44 or Joe’s Mojo (rum, lime, mint, tamarind).