The Varnish This is one seriously sophisticated cocktail bar, where the Varnish Bar is a true cocktail connoisseur’s dream. The Varnish Cocktail Bar represented Los Angeles in the 2010 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards in its nomination for Best American Cocktail Bar, while its head bartender, Eric Alperin, was also nominated for the American Bartender of the Year award. Hailing from New York, Alperin worked under Mario Batali’s restaurants and designed the drinks menu at the legendary Osteria Mozza’s bar. This venture, a cool speakeasy-type hideaway, is stashed behind Cole’s restaurant in downtown LA and specializes in gin-based cocktails. Never overwrought, his specialties include The Poet’s Dream with gin and vermouth; Eagle’s Dream with egg white, violet and lemon; and Gin Fix with gin, pomegranate grenadine, and a mountain of crushed ice. Of course Alperin mixes his other spirits well, like his Remember the Maine with rye whiskey, vermouth, Cherry Heering, and absinthe, or the signature cocktail, the Palma Fizz.
The Standard Rooftop Bar The Standard Hotel in West Hollywood provided LA party-goers with a reliable party destination on Sunset Avenue, however its the rooftop bar of its second venture, The Standard Downtown, that has really making a splash these days. Located on Flower Street, the bar is decked out as a retro 60s-style lounge by a glowing blue pool, with a bright red AstroTurf patio, dance floor, outdoor fireplace, and plush couches and eye candy. A projector continuously screens Hollywood classics on a neighboring building to provide ambient scenery, which you can enjoy while reclined on vibrating waterbed pods along the poolside. Mix and mingle with the chic and beautiful crowd that makes the cut for this velvet-rope trendy hotspot. Nightly DJs and delicious snack foods are staples at this reliably fun nighttime hangout. Enjoy the one-of-a-kind views in the midst of LA’s skyscrapers and be content that you’re enjoying one of the city’s most coveted party destinations. If you can’t bear to leave, check in to the hotel & make a night of it.
Seven Grand A downtown temple to whiskey, Seven Grand is located at the intersection of 7th Street and Grand Avenue (hence the name). Featuring a list of well over 100 whiskeys, the bar is the brainchild of Broadway Bar’s Cedd Moses, who renovated the glamorous Brock’s Jewelry Emporium into its current stylish iteration. Young, trendy urbanites proud of their skills of discernment drink expertly-crafted Manhattans and puff from bourbon-dipped cigars in this borderline kitsch nightspot, designed by Ricki Kline. If you’re looking for a more low-key drink, order the draft beer and watch as it comes out precisely from the impressive Nitrogenator NX. But as this is a whiskey bar, we suggest trying the Sazerac, a mixture of rye whiskey, peychaud’s bitters and sugars served in an absinthe-rinsed glass with a twist; or the Blood and Sand, a Grouse scotch with fresh orange juice, Cherry Heering, and Dolin sweet vermouth. Don't miss their Sundays and Mondays all-night happy hour, where you can sample many tastes from their menu.
Bar Marmont Privacy is paramount at this famous 80-year-old hideaway for movie stars and musicians, modeled after the Loire Valley’s Chateau d’Ambroise. The Bar Marmont, of the famous and palatial 5-star Chateau Marmont hotel, is elaborately decorated in a bohemian-chic style, featuring a tropical motif with a stuffed peacock and faux monarch butterflies along the ceiling. Bathed in red light, with corresponding whites illuminating the tables, the bar has a gypsy-like romanticism and an A-list celebrity clientele. Try one of their famous martinis (sipped by stars such as Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp), or their house specialty cocktails which are served in glass jars. Whether it’s one of their classic aperitifs, such as a Sidecar made with Hennessy and orange liqueur balanced with fresh lemon juice, or a gin-based specialty such as the Cucumber Collins with Hendricks gin, St Germain and lemon juice, you’re bound to choose a winner. Be sure to venture out into their more creative concoctions. Sophisticated cocktails to match a sophisticated venue.