Making a “Best Bars” list for any city is a monumental task. So much of what makes a great bar great comes down to personal taste. The decor, the staff, the… vibe. It’s a strange sort of alchemy, dependent on wide-ranging elements. Besides, anything with “best” or “greatest” in the title is sure to invite angry comments and some Twitter burns. Who needs that?
Now consider how tough it is to make an authoritative Best Bars in Los Angeles list — picking among all the watering holes in the second most populated city in the nation — and you can see the challenges begin to mount. Which is why we’ve trimmed our list to the absolute f*cking essentials. These are the dives that you can drown sorrows in. The nightclubs where you can go “full hedonist” before scoring some of the city’s tastiest late night tacos. The post-mod gin joints where you can play it cool while a man with an ornate mustache mixes you a drink topped with “espuma” (don’t worry, it’s just foam).
Whether you’re on your first visit to Los Angeles, a new transplant, or a longtime local, this list is loaded with unarguably fantastic bars. Are they “the best?” Maybe. But more than that: They’re welcoming watering holes that connect people in this vast, often lonely city of angels, sinners, saints, and dreamers. For that reason alone, this is the best “Best Los Angeles Bars” list. Ever.
PART I: AUTHOR’S PICKS
Las Perlas – 107 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA
This Oaxacan-style cantina serves up the city’s finest Mezcal cocktails. Period. With garnishes ranging from Edible Hibiscus Flowers to chili-salted rims, the menu at Las Perlas never fails to dazzle the senses with their delicious Tequila and Mezcal concoctions.
Catch the Weekend Brunch on Saturday or Sunday from 1-4 p.m. for a Jarritos Grapefruit Paloma and chow-down on some tacos, carnitas, chorizo, or mulitas. And absolutely grab the Spiced Daisy! The deep greens and red-chili-rim of this drink perfectly reflect its bold flavors as the sweet bite of the tequila paves the way on your palate for the spice of the pressed jalapeño; which reaches into your sinuses, only to set off pleasure centers in the brain.
Pineapple and poblano peppers with a touch of cumin make the mezcal-based Poblano Escobar another favorite. As flavorful as its appearance would suggest. Get both!
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Celebrate #NationalMargaritaDay tomorrow at #LasPerlas! Join us Thursday, February 22 for Draft Margaritas with @MezcalElSilencio & Olmeca @altostequila. Choose between classic, spicy, berry, piña, or Cadillac. We'll have a DJ spinning cumbia 5-8pm and live music by @SpaghettiCumbia starts at 10pm!