• Pamela Froman

Fun And Funky Bars In Los Angeles

Craving a cocktail? There are so many spots in Los Angeles that are much more than a drink. We've got fun-filled tiki bars, poolside cabanas, and bars that are so hidden you have to be in the know to realize they are even there!

Tiki bars reflect Polynesian culture with their island-esque themes and fruity concoctions. The Los Angeles tiki scene is perfect for summer. Who doesn't love a delicious drink with a little paper umbrella as a garnish?

The Tonga Hut in North Hollywood opened in 1958 and remains a Polynesian party spot. Bamboo, pecky cedar walls, a kidney-shaped drop ceiling, fountains, and Tikis decorate this fun-filled space. Enjoy a classic 1934 Zombie created by the Godfather of Tiki, Don the Beachcomber, or split a flaming scorpion bowl. Sip on a classic Trader Vic-style Mai Tai made the original way, garnished with fresh pineapple and mint. Additionally, Tonga Hut boasts an original menu of exotic cocktails.

Tiki No is located in the heart of the NoHo Arts District. Built by the legendary "Bamboo Ben" Bassham, it utilizes the natural thatch and bamboo reminiscent of an island village. There is a mix of classic and original cocktails along with live music, karaoke, and Happy Hour seven nights a week.

A North Hollywood tiki bar with aloha flair, Kahuna Tiki features rattan, tiki torches, and surfboards for its décor. The menu features sushi, pupus and Hawaiian style specialties. This tiki bar works only with beer and wine, so there are inventive drinks that are extremely original. On Sundays, Kahuna hosts an authentic Polynesian luau with dancers, live music and of course, plenty of food.

VenTiki in Ventura is guaranteed to take you away to a tropical oasis. They serve the best traditional cocktails, modern tiki drinks, Polynesian-inspired cuisine, and sushi. Step foot onto the Lanai patio where you can feel the warmth of the islands with a tiki waterfall, wahine muraled flower garden, tiki torches, and a fire pit for those chilly island nights. As you enter the Lounge you are greeted with tikis, custom art and the best rum selection in Ventura County.

What better way to have a cocktail than with a stunning view? The ambiance that is offered up with a gorgeous setting enhances the mood to create a fun-filled evening.

One of the best destinations in Los Angeles, 71Above is the highest restaurant around, located in the iconic US Bank Tower. There is elegant modern American cuisine by Chef Vartan Abgaryan, and the vistas! You can see views from Malibu to Laguna Hills, along with the Los Angeles basin and the surrounding mountain ranges.

The Bona Vista Lounge at the Westin Bonaventure features a revolving lounge floor. Take the elevator up to the 34th floor, where you can enjoy the stunning view that awaits you. Treat yourself to a scrumptious appetizer and a specialty drink that comes in a souvenir glass.

With the moniker of the "highest bar in Hollywood," Filifera is located on the 22nd-floor. The views include the Capitol Records building, Hollywood Sign, and Griffith Observatory. As well, the cocktail and snack menus add an elegant touch.

A favorite spot for locals and tourists, the rooftop bar at the Ace Hotel is always on top. They feature a rotating menu that stays fresh and often hosts events like art shows, pop-ups, and DJs who keep the party moving. All this as you enjoy a gorgeous view of Downtown Los Angeles.

It's summer and that means hot weather! What better way to relax and enjoy yourself than a rooftop pool bar? There are tons of these shady spots all over Los Angeles, so feel free to take a dip as you sip!

The Highlight Room is a luxe 11,000 square foot outdoor rooftop, lounge, pool and grill with unparalleled views of the Hollywood sign and the Los Angeles skyline. The chic sundeck is the best way to relax by the pool on a plush lounge chair or in an elegant private cabana while enjoying delicious food and handcrafted cocktails.

Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City invites you to experience the largest pool in the San Fernando Valley. Come for the rays – and stay to indulge in a cocktail from the pool bar, or escape to the soothing Jacuzzi. A wide selection of colorful lounge chairs and shaded tables provide plenty of opportunities to kick back and relax.

Hang out at the palm tree-lined oasis pool of the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City. Sunbathe in a relaxing lounge chair, or lay in the shade in a complimentary cabana while sipping on a delicious cocktail from the Oasis Pool Bar. Weekends are even hotter as the hotel breaks out the BBQ for delicious dining choices.

The weather is always perfect when it comes to indulging in some quality poolside time at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills. Enjoy gorgeous views year-round within the comfort and convenience of the atrium-inspired indoor pool. Or head outside where you can lounge the day away in a garden setting at the Urban Oasis featuring intimate cabanas, fire pit and a bar for socializing and relaxing.

Take a break from the sun or just enjoy the view with lunch poolside at the Serenity Pool, located within the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village. Snacks, sandwiches, smoothies, and salads offer the perfect choice for a refreshing lunch, served to you at your chaise lounge or private cabana. Cool off with a signature poolside cocktail such as an Antioxidant Mojito.

Traveling below ground creates a special feeling of mystery and adventure. In few places is this more apparent than in an underground bar. With secret entrances, hidden staircases, and the fact that you need to be in the know – it's truly part of the appeal. Here's a few of L.A.'s best in subterranean drinking, dining, and dancing.

Birds & Bees is a gorgeous Mid-Century Modern inspired speakeasy in Downtown Los Angeles. The furnishings show off as a modern bachelor pad. You follow the wooden fence alongside the red brick wall to get in through the secret entrance. Inside you will find an excellent cocktail menu inspired straight from Mad Men.

The Reserve is a humongous nightclub and lounge that is truly underground – it's located in the vault of the old Hellman's Commercial Bank. This lavish, stunning space serves cocktails and bar food. There are also themed events and special DJ nights in several different rooms. This is a true club experience with a bank-themed décor – gold bars and safe deposit boxes are everywhere!

Are you looking for a blast from the past? Then check out Break Room 86. This '80s-themed karaoke hotspot is located at the back of the Line Hotel in Koreatown. There are cocktail stylings that will remind you of your favorite boy band and a soundtrack reminiscent of a colorful mixtape. You can even book a private room to imbibe with your friends.

An underground bar that is true to the genre is R Bar. To get in you'll need a password – which you can find on their social media channels. But once you're in, you'll enjoy drink specials and a great atmosphere. There are also individually themed nights, so dress accordingly.

Located in the back of the legendary Vitello's in Studio City, The Rendition Room is a little space which is actually a members-only club. However, you can get in – provided there's room – in the intimate 35-seat joint. The interior features wingback chairs and classy booths, a 1929 Wurlitzer jukebox, yummy cocktails, and small bar food bites.

El Tigre Magnifico in Glendale is the ultimate in secret spots. It's not technically a bar – it is actually located in an apartment! Roommates Cary Daniels and Matt Blackburn host these intimate cocktail gatherings, usually made up of about a dozen or so guests. They feature an expanded collection of rare spirits and liquor discoveries, so come check it out!

With no actual visible signage, the only way you'll find The Red Door in Toluca Lake is to enter in the red door that anchors the space. This Latin-themed lounge offers great ambiance as well as featuring yummy drinks and a delicious food menu.


Grand Reopening of the Formosa Cafe in Hollywood

The 1940's-era celebrity show stopper Formosa Cafe in Hollywood is back! It's been several years of waiting as well as tons of upgrades to do it, but the Formosa Cafe is has reopened its doors. Sponsored and funded by the 1933 Group, this iconic West Hollywood beauty has been restored to all of its shining stardom.

Even better, David Kuo of Little Fatty has jumped onboard to stylize the food and modernize the restaurant's Chinese-American dishes, with modern sensibilities and flavors. Try the General Tso's cauliflower, orange chicken, and beef with broccoli. The cocktails speak to the venue's history with the ingredients specialized to fit.

Inside, Formosa Cafe stays true to its roots. The décor features iconic terrazzo floors and deep red booths, silk lanterns, as well as the trolley car inside, dating to 1904. The walls are spotted with vintage headshots, along with historic newspaper clippings, art, and carvings.

In addition, don't forget to check out the Yee Mee Loo bar in the back for a specialty cocktail!

The Formosa Cafe is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Lunch service in the front bar, a weekend brunch, and a rooftop lounge area are also coming up in the works. Formosa Cafe is located at 7156 Santa Monica Blvd., in West Hollywood.

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