Booze and Views: LA Beach Bars You Have to Try
A Cocktail Cruise Along the Cali Coast…
LA beaches don’t just have to be enjoyed from the sand. Sometimes you want to sit back and take in the view with the help of a cocktail or two. So, for the perfect mix of booze and scenery, here are some of the best LA beach bars to hit up. And if you’re like me and love bringing your pooch along, there’s some dog friendly spots on the list for you as well!
The Waterfront – Venice
The Waterfront has an amazing location on the Venice Beach strip. You will not feel like you’re missing out on the beach from here. This is one of those trendy spots with a young and vibrant crowd. The chic, beachy décor inside and out has a contemporary Latin aesthetic, and the patio space – with tables and pillows galore – is the place to be. Sip on some delicious cocktails, such as The Ginger or The Heat. For nibbles, try the Fish Tacos; they are a must-eat! Waterfront is perfect for sunset drinks and good times with friends. This place is also super dog-friendly so feel free to bring along your fur-baby!
The Bungalow – Santa Monica
Though venue photos may make this cute locale look calm, Bungalow is a party by the water! To join the fun and feisty throngs who orders bottle service to the outdoor tables, you need to know someone at the door. But if you’re looking for the fashionable, on-the-scene crowd on the coast, this is the only destination you need. And to go with your liquor, sample a few things from their menu: they have munchies like Buffalo Wings ($22) and Truffle Fries ($18) or more refined options like Shrimp Ceviche ($20) or Chicken Chop Salad ($22). And they do have killer cocktails if you want to go in that direction. You can prepare to be hungover by 9pm if you’re drinking the Purple Haze midday.
The Strand House – Manhattan Beach
Views, Booze, and Pizza. What more can you want! This multi-floor, indoor/outdoor space has ocean views from every level, utilizing dim glass walls to make the most of their beachfront location. Whether you’re there for brunch, lunch, dinner, or just drinks, their menus boast a large range of options from Fresh Baked Cinnamon Rolls to a Seafood Tower to a selection of wood-fired pizzas. I got the feeling the crowd was a mix of Manhattan beach locals and newcomers looking to scope the scene and watch the sunset. This place is great for a stop-in, as lots of bar seating is first-come-first-serve.
Georgia’s Cocktail Lounge – Redondo Beach
Though it’s a bit further from the water, Georgia’s gives sexy, speakeasy vibes still just a hop, skip, and a jump from the sand. While it is known for its dimly lit indoor bar, Georgia’s also has a large patio with fire pits – created for COVID-safe measures. They have an array of craft cocktails, and I recommend Crazy 8s which looks like a cross between a Moscow mule and a strawberry margarita, ideal for the coastal atmosphere. This is definitely a date spot, and their menu of mixed grilled cheeses is perfect for sharing.
Belmont Brewing – Long Beach
If beer is your scene, then this is the spot for you. You can enjoy a taster set of all 6 of their brews for $11. I’m not a beer drinker, but the Strawberry Blonde seems to be a winner here. No issues though for my fellow cocktail fans – there’s a separate menu just for you. As for food, try the Lobster Bisque, Fish and Chips or when in doubt, Fish Tacos seems to be a winner at any beachside spot. Catch the brilliant sunset views of the ocean from the outdoor seating space. And another plus point – this place is very dog-friendly! There’s also free parking after 6pm at Belmont Pier Parking.
Élephante – Santa Monica
Talk about a whole vibe! This place is ah-mazing! Recommend booking ahead and if not, you can try get lucky with a seat at the bar. Once you get out of the lift to the rooftop, you are transported into a chic vacation vibes atmosphere, and I would recommend getting a table in the Sunset Room which has beautiful ocean views. My drink of choice is the gin-based Social Butterfly, which was super refreshing. As for food, nibble on the Whipped Eggplant – it was to die for! I could just have a couple of these and be good. This place is perfect for any occasion and is an amazing date spot, although on the nosier side. Given the popularity and on-trend name, I expected more of an early 20s crowd, but the diners were very diverse with varied ages. The ambiance is elegant but easygoing and it’s not overly dressy either – smart casual is accepted. Élephante is also dog-friendly and my puppy enjoyed it almost as much as his Mommy. There is valet parking available for $20 or you can park in one of the parking garages nearby.