If LA’s good at one thing, it’s summer. With more than a few months to practice outdoor patio season (OK, it’s almost year-round), Angelenos know a thing or two about sipping cocktails in the sun. These 12 LA bars have the warm-weather drinking thing down pat, with special attention paid to quality margaritas. The most mouthwatering margaritas found on cocktail menus are made with infused tequilas, premium liqueurs like Grand Marnier, or with playful add-on ingredients. The result? An eccentric expression of a tried-and-true classic summer libation. Let summer begin.Read More
Where to Find Los Angeles’s Most Unique Margaritas
Everson Royce Bar
Hot summer nights were made for this Arts District bar’s back patio. With lots of picnic tables for chowing down on food that’s much better than it needs to be (hello buttermilk biscuits and that burger), pretty string lights, and some greenery, it’s a drinking oasis. Say three cheers to summer with its very long list of spirits, well-rounded cocktail menu, and plenty of beer and wine.
This no-nonsense downtown bar cares enough about its cocktails to source its ice from LA-based Penny Pound Ice, but that doesn’t mean it’s fancy — even if there’s a long list of liquors, some high-end, from which to order. Inside it’s dive-bar dark, and amusements hew to the drinking classics: pool, darts, and ping-pong. Best of all there’s pizza to satisfy any hunger pangs. Look for the homage to Hunter S. Thompson, who is rumored to have visited the bar in a past life.
Officially a mezcal bar, Las Perlas does pretty well with tequila and margaritas too. Take the Conejo Cadillac. As with all Las Perlas cocktails, it’s got fresh-squeezed juice — in this case lime — plus top-shelf Partida reposado tequila and a Grand Marnier float. The tacos (carnitas, carne asada, and pollo) have a following and are just the thing to keep the party going.
When it’s peak summer in LA, you have to sit by the rooftop pool sipping a cool mixed drink as temps rise. It’s intimate enough for you and your significant other but spacious enough to accommodate your whole crew. Choose among bar bites like nachos, a Cubano sandwich, or, perhaps, a side of Funyuns (yes, in a bag). Downstairs at Best Girl, Angelenos belly up to the bar with a cocktail to peruse a menu from chef Michael Cimarusti (Providence, Connie & Ted’s) that runs from shrimp cocktail to a porterhouse for two.
Sometimes you want quality eats and drinks without a lot of fuss. That’s where Hyperion Public, either in Silver Lake or Studio City, comes into play. It’s got just enough fun on the menu to keep things exciting (see the sliders that come with beer cheese for dipping), while still delivering on drinking classics such as wings. A solid lineup of tap beers, wines by the glass, and classic cocktails with names that nod to Los Angeles round out this spot that’s open for brunch, lunch, dinner, happy hour, and late-night.
Steeped in history, this downtown LA bar is a bit like a theme park for the drinking set, with multiple floors, bars, and themed rooms. There’s a semi-secret upstairs Pacific Seas Tiki Room for classic rum cocktails, a giant redwood tree that rises dramatically through the floors, taxidermied wild animals peppered about, and a 250-pound meteorite. Crowded weekend nights often bring live music and swing dancing.
Pink Taco Sunset
A good times spot on the Sunset Strip, Pink Taco puts a little rock and roll attitude into its tacos and margaritas. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, the end of the work week, or just being able to soak up the summer sun on a patio, this bright pink spot is the place — you can’t miss its facade. Come to while the day or night away while hanging with friends, nibbling fried lobster tacos, and putting away a few margaritas. Of note is the Cadillac, made with Signature Patrón Reposado Barrel Select and served with a mini bottle of Grand Marnier.
Palmilla Cocina y Tequila
It’s summer and you’re looking for a different kind of shake — one that’s a little bit sweet, a little bit salty, and finished with a splash of Grand Marnier. When at Palmilla in Hermosa Beach, you shouldn’t miss the restaurant’s namesake margarita, made with Cazadores reposado that’s hand-shaken with homemade agave and sweet and sour mix, served on the rocks, and finished with Grand Marnier. Atmospheric basket lights create the mood inside, while the shaded patio looks out onto the Hermosa Beach boardwalk for ace people-watching.
Blue Plate Taco
The name is only half the story at this small but lively Santa Monica spot right on sceney Ocean Avenue. Stuff your gullet with guac, salsa and chips, and plenty of tacos — bites ranging from steak to pork belly to lobster — but don’t neglect the margaritas. Warm your insides with the simple but nicely balanced Cadillac, made with tequila, Grand Marnier, lime, and agave (and available by the pitcher!), as you soak up the sun on the patio.
The Corner Door
A big focus on cocktails makes this Culver City bar stand out, but anytime favorites like a burger and fries and fish tacos don’t hurt either. You’re here for the drinks, of course, and you can always expect the ‘tenders to do something interesting with the classic, like their summer-ready take on the margarita, the Kelly’s Caddy, which incorporates Espolón blanco, lime, bell pepper shrub, and Grand Marnier. Whether you stop by for discounted fare at happy hour or you wander in late, you’ve got nothing to lose but time.
Heat up your summer at this lush West Hollywood rooftop spot with views of the hills. Drapey greenery, comfy banquettes, and wood tones set the stage for a grand night out. Of course, there are plenty of signature cocktails that dovetail with warm days, but start things off with the East-Coast Kali. Made with jalapeno-infused Casamigos blanco, Grand Marnier, Campari, passionfruit, and orange, this is no shrinking violet of a drink — and its spicy kick plays well against the menu of sushi and Asian-inspired dishes.
Javier's Restaurant - Newport Beach
The view from this upscale Mexican restaurant along the Pacific Coast Highway is pure ocean magic —and it’s especially inspiring at sunset. The decor, with its curved archways, rustic lighting, and thick-beamed ceiling transports you to a high-end hacienda south of the border. Take it all in with a Javier’s margarita. The beguiling mix of Patron Repo tequila, Javier’s signature premium margarita mix, and Grand Marnier adds brightness to a meal of ceviche, carnitas, and perhaps an order of wild Mexican white prawns sauteed in garlic butter and wine sauce.