Love Stinks

The best bars and restaurants for breaking up

Breakups are tough, but finding a "we need to talk" rendezvous point doesn't have to be. If you're going to go your separate ways, you might as well get in one last decent meal, right? Whether you're looking for a quiet dark corner, self-medication on a plate (or in a glass) or a post-split energy cleansing, here are our favorite places to dine out for a breakup.

For a sloppy break: Barrel & Ashes, Studio City

One sure way to not get it on? BBQ. Barbecue isn't exactly date food, which is exactly the point. Think about it: a mountainous pile of smoked brisket, sauce-slathered pork ribs and the food coma that's not far behind. While you're there, might as well pile on the sides: pork and beans ($7), bean chili-topped Frito pie ($9) and butter-drenched hoecakes ($6). And if tears are going to be involved, you can count on the deafening dining room to drown out the wailing.

For sugarcoating it: République, Mid-City

Nothing dulls the pain of the "It's not you; it's me" talk better than baked goods. Eat your feelings with a slice of chocolate cake at this sunny daytime bakery. The Spanish-style space is just as good looking as the sugary display, which runs the gamut from bombolini to glazed sticky buns. Our salve involves a slice of the moist, dense old-fashioned cake ($7), tiered with salted caramel and Valrhona dark chocolate ganache.

For strategic seating: DeSano Pizza, Hollywood

What you need for a well-planned last supper is well-planned seating. And we can't think of a loftier space to break bread and break up than this East Hollywood pizzeria. Spaced-out picnic tables provide privacy and seclusion, while pizza straight out of Napoli sets the table. To really seal the deal, order the Altoid-defying Diavola pie ($15 small, $22 large), topped with spicy salami, pepperoni, Calabrian peppers and buffalo mozzarella.

For the hot tempered: The Musso & Frank Grill, Hollywood

If you're worried your soon-to-be ex might cause a scene, diffuse the situation by breaking the news at this timeless haunt, which oozes a cool-as-a-cucumber Old Hollywood vibe. Have a hush-hush conversation at one of the red leather booths as waiters in red jackets and bow ties serve old-school classics like creamy Chicken à la King ($25), roast lamb with mint jelly ($32) and a proper porterhouse ($49). To drink: a classic martini topped with an olive—just watch out for that drink in your face.

For those who need a drink the second it's done: Cole's, Downtown

Can't commit to a full steak dinner? Do the red leather booths without the blockbuster bill at this casual, old-school alternate. (Bonus: There's a happy hour with $5 Manhattans, French dip sandwiches and $1.50 fries.) Stake out a seat in the dimly lit dining room, preferably a back corner booth for optimal tête-à-tête. Just don't be surprised if you see anyone stepping out of the hidden door: It leads to The Varnish, where you can drown your sorrows in an expertly made cocktail afterward.

For keeping it cool: The Know Where Bar, Hollywood

Sneak into this hidden gem on Hollywood Boulevard, tucked away from the foot traffic and assorted riffraff outside. The nondescript bar is relatively unknown, so chances are slim that you'll run into a familiar face. Your reason for being there: It recreates the look and feel of your living room—courtesy of dim lighting, a record player, cozy banquettes and unpretentious drinks—but allows you to have the talk on neutral ground.

For the karmically concerned: The Springs, Downtown

How about a breakup meal followed by cleansing your aura? After all that negative energy, you're gonna need it. Feed the body and the mind at this Arts District restaurant/juice bar/yoga studio/retail space. The all-in-one locale offers vegan feel-good plates like a spicy "tuna" roll ($15) and an addictive sweet miso salad ($9 half, $16 full), plus a list of wellness treatments: all-day yoga, craniosacral massage and Reiki ($100 for 60 minutes, $140 for 90 minutes) to clear those post-breakup bad vibes.