The Best Hotel Bars in LA

The Best Hotel Bars in LA

by Emily Regenold
09.29.2010

If the phrase “hotel bar” evokes the image of a few stools surrounding booze in the lobby of a Red Roof, you obviously haven’t been to LA. Here, hotel bars are just as fabulous as the five-star hotels, not to mention hot-spots for celebs drinking top-shelf only. So whether you’re staying the night, or just trying to make it past the bouncer for a few hours, these are the hotel bars you must try whether you’re a tourist or LA native. 


Best Hotel Bar in LA: Teddy’s at Hotel Roosevelt
7000 Hollywood Boulevard

Teddy’s accents of antique furniture and design draft in the essence of old Hollywood much like you’d expect from a twentieth century Academy Awards ceremony – and it’s no surprise, seeing as the hotel hosted the inaugural Oscars in 1927. But it’s not just vintage Hollywood making its appearance – Hotel Roosevelt is surely a name you’ve seen featured in the tabloids for P. Diddy, Kid Rock and the rest of the new Hollywood crew hanging out. Each night Teddy’s has a star-studded appeal, but the old trumps the new for what’s unique about this joint. Memorabilia and old photographs line the walls, almost creating a mini-museum. Hey, you can find stars sipping cocktails anywhere in Hollywood…but this stuff’s interesting. You may need to adjust your credit card limit before entering or take an extra trip to the ATM – your tab will no-doubt be on the high-end.


Best Hotel Bar in LA: Tropicana at Hotel Roosevelt
7000 Hollywood Boulevard

If you love the tabloids put on your best outfit and if you hate ‘em find a cheap pair of sunglasses. The paparazzi flow about as heavy as the alcohol in the Roosevelt’s poolside featurette, Tropicana. Depending on what night you go, the door can be pretty tough. But you can always try the spot during the day, when the tightly-toned bikini clad will be sunning themselves in linen-covered chaise lounges and fighting for attention from the servers. Service is on the slow side, but if you’re willing to wait, the energetic atmosphere makes up for the staff telling you that your late drinks are not their faults. Drinks are also subpar, but it won’t take you long in here to realize the alcohol’s not what you’re paying for – you’re paying for the package, the celeb-sightings and a chance to make your way into the background of a shot in US Weekly.


Best Hotel Bar in LA: Whiskey Blue Lounge at W Hotel in Westwood
930 Hilgard Ave.

Things you may expect from a Hollywood bar: a young and elite clientele, stunning blue and white decor, celeb DJs spinning Top-40 hits, an attractive staff, and overpriced drinks and valet. Well, that’s Whiskey Blue Lounge in a nutshell. There may not be much here to surprise you, but that’s not to say Whiskey Blue will let you down when you’re seeking a high-end night out. And although its drinks run the standard Hollywood high-end, its bottle service is surprisingly affordable starting at $300 a pop. It also offers a happy hour, where drinks and appetizers are available for an honest $7. And although you may have a hard time stopping guzzling its uniquely-flavored martinis, it’s worth taking a break to try some of the food. Arrive early and stay for a while once you make it inside – it’s a slow-moving line, filled with youngsters seeking to catch a glimpse of the owner’s wife, Cindy Crawford.


Best Hotel Bar in LA: Gallery Bar and Cognac Room at Millennium Biltmore Hotel
506 S. Grand Avenue

If your appetite is a bit too sophisticated for mini-burgers and chicken fingers and you’re sick of listening to of-the-moment-DJs’ sets, try stopping by the Gallery Bar and Cognac Room, where you can indulge in jazz, sushi, lobster and international cheese plates instead. Having long been considered one of LA’s most elite hotel bars, it offers a high-end list of wines, signature cocktails and exclusive liqueurs. The Gallery Bar also features a “Manhattan Menu,” offering six variations of the classic cocktail. Waiters in black vests and bow ties will serve you from the polished marble bar, which is adjacent to comfortably worn-in leather couches, providing an old-style feel. Once you step inside it will be no surprise the clientele is mostly in its thirties, as the prices are too high for young hipsters and the ceiling of carved angels and dim lighting are too posh for the trust-fund kids looking to go shot-for-shot. Make sure to try its signature Black Dahlia martini (the Gallery Room is apparently the last place the murder victim was spotted) to infuse your tastebuds with Chambord, Kahlua and a twist of orange.


Best Hotel Bar in LA: Cameo Bar at Viceroy
1819 Ocean Avenue

Whether you prefer to intimately converse one-on-one or slink back in a cabana with a group of friends, The Cameo Bar at Viceroy has something for you. But it is definitely not for everyone. This bar is one of the priciest in LA, allowing it to weed out the wannabes and mold its clientele into only LA’s most fabulous. If you’re pinching pennies from waiting tables, you may find your time to catch a glimpse on Friday afternoons when it offers $2 drinks at 2 p.m., $3 at 3 p.m., $4 at 4 p.m. and $5 drinks until 6 p.m. Otherwise bring your fully-loaded credit card, but be aware that Cameo does seem to follow the ‘Super-Size Me’ motto, charging more but pouring with a heavy hand. This three-part bar includes a parrot-green and grey mid-twentieth century inspired lounge, the pool and the library room, which offers a quiet escape with tables set up for one-on-ones. Take your date here and she’ll be batting her eyelashes in seconds.


Best Hotel Bar in LA: Roof Bar at Standard Hotel Downtown
550 S. Flower Street

Score a photographic image of LA from atop the Standard Hotel Downtown – and trust us, this image is one worth framing. Roof Bar would be worth visiting simply to catch the view, but it doesn’t bank on its prime real estate. Its ultra-mod decor would make Andy Warhol proud, as it boasts a Candyland rainbow of brightly colored furniture next to its single bar that’s attention-grabbing in apple-red. Although its large couches and water-bed pods seem to fill up quickly, there’s always room in the pool if your feet are tired from the dancefloor or simply don’t feel like standing on the Astroturf. And the view isn’t the only external feature Cameo relies on – old Tinseltown flicks are projected on a neighboring skyscraper. This place isn’t only hot any night of the week, but also during the day, as it opens at noon, with a $20 cover beginning at 2 p.m.


Best Hotel Bar in LA: Bar Marmont
8171 Sunset Boulevard

Slide in around 11 p.m. just in time for the party to get started. It’s a casual party, but a party nonetheless. You won’t find Marmont blasting your typical bar tunes, in fact, you may have never heard some of them before – but they’re thoughtfully interesting and eclectic. Marmont isn’t looking to be another late-night spot on the Sunset Strip, but a trailblazing bohemian hangout. You may be fooled into thinking the butterflies and moths wallpapered on its ceiling are real if the dim, red glow isn’t hitting them just right, or if you somehow miss the giant stuffed peacock that clues you into everything being pseudo. Expect a menu of fruit-infused drinks that offer interesting tastes from mixes you won’t find a few doors down. They may not be selections you could pound one after another night after night, but you’ll be captivated for your stay. The best bonus is that all appetizers come with a free drink, so order up.


Best Hotel Bar in LA: Polo Lounge
9641 Sunset Boulevard

You’ve inevitably heard of the Polo Lounge for its rich history of being a Hollywood top-spot. And although the furniture’s gotten a little older, the food and drinks are still great. And the staff, still clad in pink polos and structured white blazers, still treats everyone like stars, not just the actual stars likely sitting to both your left and right. We recommend its champagne brunch and infamous cocktail hour, which begins each night at 6. It may be cliche to dip into the 90210 zip code, but there’s no use in denying Polo Lounge when it deserves every pinch of its popularity. Young twenty-somethings and their parents alike will enjoy its live piano and jazz aside their well-designed and presented food and drinks.



Best Hotel Bar in LA: Bona Vista Lounge
404 S. Figueroa Street

Ascend in the red elevator 35 floors and you’ll find yourself spinning – literally. Only one elevator will take you to the Bona Vista, a lounge that rotates to reveal a picturesque 360-degree view of the LA skyline, on the top floor of the Westin. The lounge spins are nothing like a nauseating roller coaster (it’s so slow you almost won’t notice you’re moving), but the place is about as touristy as amusement parks can get. You may have to fight a Midwesterner for a window seat, and they’ll probably be much more convinced than you that the overworn decor is “chic.” They’ll also probably be much more impressed with the unoriginally-named cocktails served in California-themed souvenir glasses. This place is so LA and so un-LA at the same time it’s worth a visit, just maybe not one you have to whip out your Manolo Blahniks for.


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