The Best Summer Cocktails in Los Angeles


It’s the middle of the summer season and you may be feeling in need of something a little more refreshing than a cold beer and a crisp white wine (though those are on offer, too). I’ve compiled a list of restaurants and bars that boast some of my favorite summer cocktails. From The Cobbler at Redbird in downtown to the Oaxaca Flaca Flame at Norah in West Hollywood, these are the most revitalizing and stimulating cocktails for summer in Los Angeles right now. Warning: Mouth-watering cocktails ahead.


Alcove, Los Feliz – Big Bar at Alcove Bakery & Cafe has always had a spacious and serene patio making it the perfect Los Feliz location for drinking under the stars and now they’ve added summer cocktails to the menu. The Wicked Won consists of Spring 44 gin, Gran Classico, lime, and agave and is as bright and fresh as it looks.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 6.24.47 PM

Bestia, Downtown – One of downtown’s most buzzing restaurants is renowned all over the city for its meaty Italian fare, but once you taste their tasty cocktails you may head straight to the bar ditching the dinner reservation. Their cheekily named cocktails include The Rum Diary with aged rum, white rum, amaro nonino, cocchi americano, orgeat. kumquats, & lemon juice and the Aperol This Time with aperol, punt e mes, saffron syrup, lime juice, salt tincture., & seltzer.


Break Room 86, Koreatown – Break Room 86 is a 80s-themed Karaoke bar and the only karaoke bar on this list. So if you and your friends need some liquid courage before performing your rendition of “Bette Davis Eyes” this is the place to go. Cocktails include the decadent (and deadly) Cruel Summer, a Coconut Infused Plantation Barbados 5 Yr Rum, El Dorado 12 Yr Rum, Cruzan Black Strap Rum, & Spiced Banana Milk and the Purple Rain, which contains Beefeater Gin, Lime Juice, Pernod Absinthe, Panther Sweat, Angostura Bitters, & Club Soda.


Cliff’s Edge, Silver Lake – While mainly known for their incredible brunch and dinner patio and their extensive wine list, Cliff’s Edge also has an impressive and inventive list of cocktails made with top shelf liquor and fresh ingredients. I suggest ordering the Winnie Cooper, which has Ford’s gin, contratto bianco, chaucer mead, honey wax. Not only is it delicious, but it’s the cheapest cocktail on the menu. For brunch, order the Paloma coma, a refreshing mixture of aerate tequila reposado, grapefruit, pamplemousse rose, lime, & cava brut.


Factory Kitchen, Downtown – One of the best kept secrets in the Arts District, Factory Kitchen offers new summer cocktails like DT-LAst Word, made with chamomile-infused whiskey, Galliano, maraschino liqueur & lemon that are perfect if you need to cool off at sleek, stylish, yet relaxed downtown joint. If you imbibe a bit too much, don’t worry: Factory Kitchen has amazing pasta dishes including the tagliolini – long egg pasta, langoustine, black mussels, albacore tuna, & crustacean sauce 26 and the modenesi – egg pasta, parma prosciutto, house made truffle butter, & black summer truffle.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 1.54.11 PM

The Garden Bar, Beverly Hills – New at The Montage Hotel, the gorgeous Garden Bar offers small bites by chef Geoffrey Zackarian. The large bar spans the entire room and creates an energy felt throughout the whole space. A selection of handcrafted cocktails made with only the finest ingredients pays homage to time-honored recipes, including the Prickly Pearjito with Bacardi Rum, Zacapa 23, Prickly Pear Purée, Fresh Lime, Cane Sugar Water, & Mint and the William Tells All with Boulard Calvados, Apple Cider, Fresh Lemon, Agave Nectar, & Cinnamon. The 9021OHH! is a standout and not for the faint of heart, made with Absinthe Rinse, Plymouth Gin, Fresh Lemon, Demerara Sugar Water, Prosecco, & Tarragon.


Highland Park Bowl, Highland Park – This gorgeous reclaimed bowling alley/bar just opened On Figueroa earlier this year. The immaculately designed and restored space has cocktails to match: The Dude Abides is a modernized White Russian that pays homage to the film The Big Lebowski and Belle of the Bowl with honeydew-infused gin, lime juice, & house cucumber thyme soda are standouts. There’s also plenty of food options and four bowling lanes offered by the hour.


The Idle Hour, North Hollywood – This spectacular venue is an iconic example of vernacular architecture in the form of a giant barrel, a wine barrel. The El Mago is made with blanco tequila, lime, agave, Magic Hat #9 beer and blackberry-adobo-mint syrup. Business Time is the perfect after work cocktail: Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch, Lemon Juice, Ginger, Honey, Rhubarb Bitters, Laphroaig Spritz.


James’ Beach, VeniceThe West side restaurant and bar if you’re in the market for a cooling mojito by the beach. James’ Beach is often credited with spearheading Los Angeles’s mojito craze, and once you try their concoctions it’s easy to see why. The perfect place before or after a day in Venice, James’ Beach is a casual and airy eatery and a favorite among many.


Library Bar at The Roosevelt, Hollywood – Old Hollywood glamour meet’s modern craft mixology at this hideaway tucked into an alcove at The Roosevelt Hotel. There is no set cocktail menu, but Library Bar offers a fully stocked bar and a wide array of fresh fruit, seasonal vegetables, and herbs so you are able to choose the ingredients and flavors that pique your interest and their staff will create a libation made just for you.


Mohawk Bend, Echo Park – Mohawk Bend features 70+ beers on tap and boasts a delicious vegan-friendly menu, but don’t let that distract you from their 100% California sourced craft cocktails. The space has three dining rooms to choose from, or an expansive bar that usually has a stool or two open. This summer, I’d try the The Guardian, made with Ballast Point Three Sheets Barrel-Aged Rum, St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur, rosemary, ginger, & fresh lemon. $1 from every Guardian sold will go to benefit PAWSLA, so you can feel good with every order.


Norah, West Hollywood – Norah is ideal for large parties or private events. Their cocktail menu changes with each season and this summer’s selection of drinks does not disappoint. The Oaxaca Flaka Flame is a unique concoction of reposado tequila, mezcal, cherry, heated liquers medicinal, & traditional bitters. I was partial to the Stoned Fruit, a fruity mixture made with mezcal, pear, apricot, cardamom, lemo, lime, & heated bitters.


Paley, Hollywood – Hollywood’s latest dining and drinking hotspot, Paley has a bar menu that includes craft cocktails, a happy hour with insane 50% discounts, and a glorious ’50s Hollywood heyday mid-century design concept. Cocktails include The Minor Situation consisting of whiskey, house sour, blackberry and basil, and the Sunset Duchess with blanco tequila, house sour and jalapeño, and the “soft cocktail” Take Fountain made with cranberry, jasmine and orange flower water


Petty Cash, Mid-City – This semi-authentic Mexican eatery mainly focuses on pescado dishes and mezcal craft cocktails. Their margarita is, of course, a standard and a must. Petty Cash also offers three different mezcal flights to choose from, a better-than-it-sounds butter popcorn infused la nina mezcal, and a michelada they encourage you to “pimp” with a prawn and an oyster.


The Pikey, West Hollywood – This Weho gastropub changes their food menu seasonally, as well as their cocktail menu to take advantage of all the farm to table produce in the Southern California region. I’m partial to the bracing Laddie Dill – Svedka Vodka, Crushed Cucumber and Dill, Lime Juice, Salt and Pepper and their new summer punch made with Mt. Gaye Black Barrel Rum, lime, red Thai chile tincture, and Jarritos tamarindo soda.


Redbird, Downtown – Upon entrance, you’ll immediately fall in love with Redbird’s historic setting and then their creative cocktails will seal the deal and make this your new favorite DTLA destination. Their new summer cocktails include: The Cobbler, a light drink made with Amontillado sherry, Martinique cane syrup, and fresh berries, and their Indian Summer, which contains gin, byrhh, rose petals, hibiscus, lemon, juniper, pink peppercorn, & soda. Redbird also offers $9 bites like fried oysters or five-spice smoked ribs with kimchi slaw and an excellent happy hour.



Tiki Ti, Los Feliz – This longtime Los Feliz joint is open erratically, so check ahead before you make the trip out. Tiki Ti also has perhaps the strongest cocktails on this list, so be sure to eat a meal beforehand. For beginners, try the tropical Blood & Sand. Have one and yell “¡toro! toro! toro! ¡Olé!”


The Varnish, Downtown – By now, The Varnish is not only a DTLA institution but a fine drinking establishment known throughout all of the LA. The dark and moody atmosphere make for an excellent intimate evening and with live jazz almost every night after 9pm, it’s a great place to drink and listen to music. Their cocktail list is short, sweet, and to the point, but the drinks are made with spectacular care. I suggest starting off with the Bartender’s Choice and seeing where the night takes you from there.


Wolf, Hollywood – Hollywood’s latest dining and drinking hotspot by Top Chef alum Marcel Vigneron. The bar menu is classic, but specific, innovative, yet easygoing. Sip the Oaxacan to the Beet – Montelobos mescal, red apple, ginger, lemon, and beet.

Cheers, and, as always, drink responsibly!

Comments RSS You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “The Best Summer Cocktails in Los Angeles”

  1. Jarkyn_Kg_ says:

    Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.

Leave a Reply