Too many bars in town tend to be cliquey, loud, sectioned-off, and generally not conducive to talking to anyone other than who you showed up with. From karaoke to line dancing to full-scale shuffleboard battles, LA has some great bars where you might actually be able to mix it up with some strangers. Here are the 24 best places to make that happen. It gets rowdy here, but no one is face-planting on the bar.
But if visions of secret entrances and flapper girls twirling from the ceiling are flowing through your head right now, take a pause. Expect live music most nights of the week, late-night DJs, and a makeshift dance floor that gets rowdy in a hurry. The crowd is always cool, casual, good-looking, and definitely ready to mix it up.
Welcome to the golden boy of the Downtown gay scene. Precinct is a massive, warehouse-y bar in Bunker Hill and probably the most popular gay bar in the entire city right now. Though lines can get bad especially on the big drag show nightsthe crowd is far more laid-back than what you usually find in Weho.
In short, people are here to party. High Tide is a hybrid of a bunch of different concepts - a beer bar, a seafood spot, a place to dance - yet somehow, it all works. They also have a great Wednesday night trivia - maybe the only trivia in town where you could go home with someone.
Some nights, everything goes wrong. This is the time when you need to remember Barkowski. The Snake Pit is a bar you stumble past at am, decide to go in for one drink, and end up closing the place down. This is the best kind of dive - great bartenders, cheap drinks, and a jukebox that will turn you into a dance floor star. Sports bars are usually a good bet when you want to meet someone, because sports are a fantastic conversation starter even if the other person hates sports - you can talk about that.
A large chunk of LA gay bars have a well-deserved reputation for being expensive, tourist-clogged hell-traps. Akbar is the antithesis of all of that. The Eastside gem is a place people go to grab a cheap drink and actually hear themselves talk. Songbird is a hidden bar in Chinatown with live music most nights, and a great all-ages crowd every night. Barbecues are an excellent place to meet people. But your Weho studio balcony can barely fit you and your cat, let alone a whole party.
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So use Resident in the Arts District as your personal outdoor barbecue - without the actual barbecue. You order drinks from an Airstream trailer, and then head into the back, where there are long benches to sit next to friendly, laid-back strangers at the fire pits. And the name of the game at this local dive bar is karaoke. And dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. This bar in Venice is a much-needed addition to an area that oddly struggles with worthwhile places to grab a drink.
Though the interior is pretty trendy, the overall atmosphere at The Lincoln is casual and friendly. Which, by the way, will be Top Gun -themed.
As a default, games bring people together. Add strong beer and some hot dogs, and you have a day party. Everyone here is always having a good time, and you will be too. You never have to wait in line, the crowd is always good, and if you time things right, they might even have some Pliny on tap.
Bootie LA is definitely not a bar. Even though the themed event has become more and more popular, the crowd has generally remained cool, laid-back, and entirely ready to have a lot fun. Everyone here is probably in some sort of costume, and you should be, too. Harlowe is proof that all it really takes to fill up a bar with people under 30 is a place to dance and a playlist where Usher comes on every fifth song. This is an empty restaurant until every night, but an hour later, there will be someone from The Bachelor making out with a UTA intern in the middle of the dance floor.
The crowd is cool and interesting and they probably came to drink good cocktails. Admittedly, Chestnut Club can get pretty overwhelming on the weekends. Either way, the crowd is ready to party. Home Cities Pick the perfect spot for every situation. Travel Guides Plan your trip and eat like locals.
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But these 24 bars will certainly help. Bar in Venice. Luke Gibson. Downtown LA. Arts DistrictLittle Tokyo. Santa Monica. Sorry—looks like you screwed up that address. Smart move. Excellent information will arrive in your inbox soon.
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Highland Park. West Hollywood. Echo Park. Beverly GroveFairfax. Suggested by our writers.