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Readers' Choice 2012: Bars & Nightlife

Beer Selection
Father’s Office
3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, 90034
(310) 736-2224
1018 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, 90403
(310) 736-2224 
If only our own offices came stocked with 36 beers on tap — we’d get so much more done! Home to the celebrated Office Burger, Father’s Office specializes in pairing craft brews with stellar, locally sourced cuisine.

Inland Empire: The Back Abbey (Claremont)
L.A. Central/Hollywood: Wurstkuche
Orange County: Beachwood BBQ
Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley: Yard House
SF Valley/Foothills/Ventura: Tony’s Darts Away
South Bay/Southeast: Naja’s


Cocktail Selection
320 Main
320 Main St.
Seal Beach, 90740
(562) 799-6246
320 Main has mastered the modern art of cocktail construction. This Seal Beach mainstay has a handle on classics like Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, but its signature cocktails are what separate it from the pack.

L.A. Central/Hollywood: Lola’s
Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley: Vertical Wine Bistro
SF Valley/Foothills/Ventura: Black Market
Westside: Copa d’Oro


Dance Club
Avalon Hollywood
1735 Vine St.
Hollywood, 90028
The site of DJ Sasha’s first West Coast residency, Avalon is one of Hollywood’s loudest landmarks. The 2,000-person capacity club is widely regarded as the epicenter of dance music in L.A.

Inland Empire: Brandin Iron
Orange County: Atomic Ballroom
Westside: 31ten


Dive Bar
Cozy Inn (tie)
11155 Washington Place
Culver City, 90232
(310) 838-3826
With a good mix of regulars, locals, working stiffs and studio execs, the Cozy Inn is more like a community than a bar. Throw in a pool table, a well-stocked juke box and (yes!) a shuffleboard table, and you’re set for the night.

Frolic Room (tie)
6245 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, 90028
(323) 462-5890
Looking for a Hollywood bar that’s not so … Hollywood? Check out the Frolic Room, located right next to the Pantages Theater. The place is utterly unpretentious. 

Inland Empire: Eden East
Orange County: DivBar
SF Valley/Foothills/Ventura: Tin Horn Flats
South Bay/Southeast: Gasser Lounge


Gay Bar
The Abbey Food and Bar
692 N. Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, 90069
(310) 289-8410
Over the past 15 years, the Abbey has grown from a small West Hollywood coffee house into a 16,000-square-foot juggernaut. Locals and celebs alike flock here.


Happy Hour
3801 Highland Ave.
Manhattan Beach, 90266
(310) 796-0200
FishBar’s happy hour (Monday through Friday, 2 to 6 p.m.) is truly epic, with $3 cocktails, domestic beers and house wines to accompany $1.50 oysters and a host of appetizer specials.

Inland Empire: BJ’s
L.A. Central/Hollywood: Vinoteca Farfalla
Orange County: 320 Main
Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley: Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Westside: The Misfit


Hotel Bar/Lounge
Andrea at Pelican Hill
22800 Pelican Hill Road S.
Newport Beach, 92657
(949) 467-6800
To have a great hotel bar, you’ve got to start with a great hotel. In the case of the Resort at Pelican Hill, “great” might be an understatement. This luxury retreat is like an Italian seaside village re-created in miniature.

Inland Empire: McKinley’s Grille
L.A. Central/Hollywood: The Standard
Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley: The Langham
South Bay/Southeast: Shade Hotel
Westside: Avalon


Karaoke Bar
Cabrera’s (tie)
655 N. Lake Ave.
Pasadena, 91101
(626) 795-0230
Home to a lively atmosphere and a solid Mexican menu, Cabrera’s comes alive on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, when karaoke is king.

Backstage Bar & Grill (tie)
10400 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, 90232
(310) 839-3892
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Backstage Bar & Grill comes alive with the sounds of tipsy amateur crooners belting out the hits during its hugely popular karaoke nights.

L.A. Central/Hollywood: The Parlor
Orange County: Capri Bar & Grill
South Bay/Southeast: Pancho’s


Live Music/Blues/Jazz
Lucy’s 51
10149 Riverside Drive
Toluca Lake, 91602
(818) 763-5200
This hidden gem in Toluca Lake is home to some of the best live jazz and blues music — and some of the best martinis — in Los Angeles.

Inland Empire: Hip Kitty
L.A. Central/Hollywood: Catalina’s
Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley: Colombo’s
South Bay/Southeast: Sainte Rock
Westside: Harvell’s

Outdoor/Pool Bar
The Standard
550 S. Flower St.
Los Angeles, 90071
(213) 892-808
The Rooftop pool bar at the downtown Standard is absolutely one of the coolest places in L.A. to drink, eat, swim or (yes) take a snooze on a waterbed. 

Orange County: Coliseum, Pelican Hill
Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley: The Langham
South Bay/Southeast: Cielo Point


Lucky Baldwins
17 S. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, 91105
(626) 795-0652
This British beer haven is a celebration of European pub culture, serving traditional British cuisine in an atmosphere that’s appropriate for the whole family.

L.A. Central/Hollywood: Molly Malone’s
Orange County: The Olde Ship
SF Valley/Foothills/Ventura: Fox and Hounds
Westside: Finn McCool’s


Sports Bar
Pelican Grill
22651 Pelican Hill Road
Newport Beach, 9265
(949) 467-6800
Pelican Grill celebrates the best of coastal California dining. For sports fans, the twin 9-foot plasma screens are absolutely epic.

Inland Empire: Finish Line Sports Grill
L.A. Central/Hollywood: Big Wang’s
Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley: Barney’s Beanery
South Bay/Southeast: FishBar
Westside: Busby’s


Wine Bar/Wine Selection
Bodega Wine Bar
260 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, 91101
(626) 793-4300
Bodega Wine Bar is perhaps the least pretentious wine bar in the history of modern civilization. Bodega is more about fostering a comfortable, conversation-friendly atmosphere where you can gather with friends and relax.

L.A. Central/Hollywood: City Sip
Orange County: Hi-Times
South Bay/Southeast: District Wine in Long Beach

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