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10 Bars Under the Stars

The day winds down; you’re meeting friends for drinks. So why not sip that cool concoction of gin, cucumber and mint outside? With so many alluring outdoor bars around town, you could choose a different one every week until September. Here are our top picks.

Best Drinks

The backyard at the W hotel: Beside a trickling pebbled fountain and a pool ringed by posh cabanas, Westwood’s Backyard bar mixes a mean cocktail. Steph’s Berry Saintsation hits the not-too-sweet spot with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, vodka, strawberries, mint and a splash of soda. 930 Hilgard Ave., (310) 443-8218

Best city scene

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Elevate lounge: Twenty-one stories above the financial district, Elevate evokes ‘80s noir with bare, backlighted walls, razor-sharp right angles, low-slung white benches and a 3,000-square-foot patio. Sip a cold sake and take a spin around the wind-swept dance floor. 811 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 623-7100; www.takamisushi.com

Best view

Mosaic Bar & Grille at the Montage Resort: The new cliff-top hangout in Laguna Beach is a study in the casual good life: intimate Mexican-tiled bar, fire pit, low glass walls and staggering views of the rugged coastline and the Pacific below. 30801 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, (866) 271-6953; www.montagelagunabeach.com

Best vibe

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Tropicana at the Roosevelt Hotel: Stretch out on a plush lounger beside the pool with its David Hockney paint job, gaze up at the slender palms and sip a perfect martini. It’s got to be the classiest outdoor boite in town. 7000 Hollywood Blvd.; (323) 466-7000; www.hollywoodroosevelt.com

Best snacks

The patio bar at Wilshire Restaurant: Skip the high-voltage scene inside and make your way through the terrace to the lovely low-key bar out back. Fire pits float above goldfish ponds, papyrus and horsetail sprout in pools along the walls and the wine list rocks. Pair hamachi with ponzu and cilantro with a glass of German Riesling or try the Kobe beef sliders with a Pernand-Vergelesses. 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 586-1707; www.wilshirerestaurant.com

Best hipsters

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La Cita: Two years ago, the kitschy watering hole was purchased by the scene-makers behind Short Stop and Footsie’s. Things get downright feral on the back patio Thursday nights when street-art giant Shepard Fairey

hosts his Dance Right party. 336 S. Hill St., Los Angeles, (213) 687-7111; www.myspace.com/lacitabar

Best new layover

Hopscotch pool bar and grill at the Custom Hotel: The ultramodern poolside lounge just north of LAX has a slick bar backed by glowing orange tiles. On Friday nights, a DJ spins world beats, and free hors d’oeuvres are offered from 7 to 8 p.m. 8639 Lincoln Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 645-0400; www.customhotel.com

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Best party

Minx: Hopeful young singles with seduction on their minds swarm a wraparound deck and its VIP booths, bobbing to thumping dance beats and sipping strong drinks with silly names. 300 Harvey Drive, Glendale, (818) 242-9191; www.minx-la.com

Best drink in broad daylight

Twin Palms: Billowing canvas shade-sails and the brassy rhythms of a New Orleans-style jazz band on Sunday make sipping a mango-tini the ne plus ultra of weekend fun. 101 W. Green St., Pasadena, (626) 577-2567; www.twin-palms.com

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Best all-around

The Standard rooftop: Sleek lines, a great vibe and 360-degree skyline views add up to the best outdoor bar in town. The Standard Hotel, 550 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, (213) 892-8080; www.standardhotels.com

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Jessica Gelt

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