L.A.'s 10 Best Spots For Outdoor Summer Cocktails

by Emily Green · June 21, 2011

    I don't want to jinx it, but now that we're three-quarters of the way through June, it's about time it start feeling like summer. Let's hope his isn't just a tease and that it lasts because my white, white thighs are weeping for some color and I'd really like to be able to retire the coat I had to wear out this weekend until the next winter. Summer weather means outdoor cocktails and happy hour and we have your guide to the best places to make that happen. Without further ado, here are 10 of the best spots in L.A. for getting your outdoor summer drink on:

    1. High @ Hotel Erwin

    Get panoramic views of the city and up and down the coastline from what feels like the top of the world in Venice on the roof of the beachside hotel. Pair your cocktails with some snacks and huddle up under some complimentary blankets while watching the sun set as temps drop and it can get a tad chilly with the ocean breeze.

    2. Polo Lounge

    If you feel like being fancy, or have always wanted your own Raoul Duke/Hunter S. Thompson moment, grab a Gilligan-style bucket cap and a fly swatter and hit the way overpriced Beverly Hills Hotel patio lounge. They'll let you hang there for as long as you feel like and will accommodate additional guests to your party.  It don't matter if you're black, white, or Lindsay Lohan, they'll always treat you very well and bring you as many refills of the complimentary munchies you need. [Photo via]

    3. The Eveleigh

    Pronounced "everleigh", the way the Aussies say it, the newly opened restaurant is a little retreat off of Sunset Strip with a quaint garden patio in front and spacious sun-lit dining deck in back. The place always has a music snob-approved playlist to set the mood and serves up delicious specialty drinks perfect for summer without the sting/gag-factor of super-sweet cocktails that guarantee a splitting headache. These drinks are refined with all homemade juices and ingredients, so if a vodka Red Bull is what you're looking to get into, this may not be the place, but why not live dangerously and try something new? Perhaps an Elevation or Sad Bastard and grab a bite for dinner or a weekend brunch. [photo via]

    4. Tropicana

    The site of one of our favorite weekly summer parties, Tropicana usually has plenty of space to lounge, lay out, and lunch. A full-service bar will satisfy all of your cocktail needs and parties throughout the week at the hotel's poolside bar step up the relaxed summer vibes for some dancing, swimming and latenight fun.

    5. SKYBAR

    With some of the best views of the city, SKYBAR has remained a favorite amongst Angelenos for years. The wooden-plank deck surrounding the pool is ideal for an easy post-work/weekend afternoon drinks with friends and the cabana at night can be the site of a cozy romantic rendezvous. Just look out for Mel Gibson.

    6. Reel Inn

    The 25-year-old PCH outpost is a dingy Malibu institution for the seafood lover. Situated along the coast, the restaurant and it's outdoor patio are loved for their rustic minimalism and commitment to keeping it simple and straightforward. No bells and whistles here; the sandier, the better, and an update or move towards a renovation would be devastating to the locals and die-hard patrons so don't expect one anytime soon. Hit up the Reel Inn for some pre- or post-beach day brewskis or margaritas to go along with your shrimp tacos. [Photo via]

    7. Venice Whaler

    This casual seaside spot attracts a largely Marina/Venice crowd where patrons can order off the sizable menu of snacks and seafood fare. The entire upstairs boasts an open-air patio enclosed by plexiglass walls to shield you from the chilly ocean breezes and has got you covered with flatscreens to watch the games you can't miss. [Photo via]


    8. The Standard Downtown

    In between the skyscrapers of Downtown L.A., the roof of The Standard affords awesome views of the surrounding urban landscape. Plop yourself on a couch, vibrating waterbed pod, or spot on the AstroTurf with a cocktail in hand and soak up some daytime rays or nighttime stargazing overhead. Frequent weekend and evening events may convince you to get down on the dance floor or jump in the pool of the urban oasis. No matter what you do there, it's fun to feel like you're cocktailing in the L.A. sky.

    9. Geoffrey's Malibu

    If you're prepared to schlep out to Malibu, this is a great spot for a summertime meet-up. Located on the coastal side of PCH, enjoy appetizers and cocktails after a long day at the office, or mimosas for a Saturday brunch, all while overlooking the ocean. With plenty of heat lamps to keep you nice a warm, you won't get cold sitting outside, even with the breeze off the water. This is an upscale restaurant so keep it civilized. If you're looking to get trashy somewhere in Malibu, there's always Gladstone's. [Photo via]

    10. Chateau Marmont

    One of the prettiest garden patios in town and a crowd to match, Chateau Marmont is, and has been a top destination for outdoor dining and/or drinking, day or night. The lush surroundings make you feel removed from the city despite being just above Sunset Strip but you'll be reminded when you see a mega superstar of the Leonardo DiCaprio variety seated at the table next to you. And, as you might be familiar, you can pretty much get away with anything at Chateau. [Photo via]