With no shortage of rooftop bars and beachside lounges, Angelenos need no excuse to sip alfresco all year 'round. From Downtown to Venice, we round up the city's top spots for elevated cocktails and spectacular views.
① Upstairs at Ace Hotel in Downtown
The restored gilded theater, a Stumptown coffee bar, the L.A. Chapter restaurant—The Ace has a lot to talk about, but its greatest asset is perhaps the rooftop bar. A panorama of DTLA, including a dead-on view of the Eastern Standard crown's turquoise patina and estancia-meets-the-Mojave vibe set the scene fourteen stories up, where Downtowners sip not-too-fancy cocktails and nibble on New American bites all day long.
② Palihouse in West Hollywood
Come Thursdays to Saturdays, the rooftop deck is open to those wanting twilight views sans the scene. The tiny bar, with its Tiki-slash-bistro vibe and cushy seating, feels almost like a friend's backyard party. There's a long list of libations—New and Old World wines by the glass and bottle, elevated classic cocktails—and a few great bar snacks, including fried chicken sliders ($8) and crack-like, crispy molten cheese and bacon-topped tater tots ($8).
③ Perch in Downtown
Take the elevator in the decades-old Pershing Square building to the 13th floor, then switch elevators to the 15th floor, where a vast bar/lounge suggests another time. It has bohemian charm (velour sofas and bar stools), live jazz and arched windows that look out to a wraparound patio. Even further up, the rooftop deck opens up to views of lit Downtown skyscrapers (and the Egyptian revival Los Angeles Public Library) with fireside seating and dark corners for a date-night digestif.
④ High at Hotel Erwin in Venice
The advantage of being perched over the Venice boardwalk? Prime people-watching elevated six stories up from the Speedway riff-raff. Another attraction: Views from South Bay and Hollywood Hills to Malibu and the Pacific—one of few such lookouts. Sprawl out on sectionals on the long deck (be sure to book ahead), and expect stiff cocktails with a beachside sunset.
⑤ The Standard Biergarten in Downtown
Break from the usual poolside vodka sodas and the Downtown views—yawn—for a Bavarian night out. Turn a corner on the rooftop deck and you'll find a tiny foliage-lined patio full of lederhosen, wurst and steins. Prost! over sky-high hefeweizen or a side (wurst, pretzel and the like), which is what one ticket ($8) buys you.
⑥ Altitude Pool Deck in Beverly Hills
José Andrés interprets poolside dining at the sleek SLS sixth-floor rooftop lounge. His all-day menus include everything from an extensive menu of interpretive cocktails—tea-infused Andrés Palmer ($16), anyone?—and cava by the bottle to boozy push-pops ($10). You can even rent a private cabana for the day, complete with mini bar and TV.
⑦ Skybar in West Hollywood
Proof that Angelenos love their bars with a view: After eighteen years, the Strip's quintessential hotel bar is still going strong, its poolside daybeds continuously filled with pretty young things. The Mondrian's sexy alfresco bar recently expanded to include Sayulita, a grassed patio with tequila cocktails, such as the Butterfly Kisses, with tequila, mescal, tamarind Jarritos and strawberry ($18), and taqueria bites.
⑧ Malibu Pier Restaurant & Bar in Malibu
Up the ante of Pacific views by being on top of the water. This PCH address is right on the newly restored Malibu Pier, with seaside seats (choose the vast patio or indoor galley-like bar) for both daytime and nighttime boozing. Order a beach-appropriate cocktail, such as a Singapore Sling ($12) or rum swizzle ($12).
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