While Los Angeles doesn’t skimp on gorgeous theaters, massive arenas, outdoor amphitheaters, and legendary Sunset Strip
rock venues, sometimes you just want to wander into an uncomplicated watering hole
with a live band. For those casual nights out, here are 12 bars that are sure to enchant both your taste buds and your ears.
The Mint has been around since 1937 and has seen the likes of Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, and The Wallflowers on its stage. The live music is the main draw here, but the kitchen – open until midnight most nights – offers reasonably priced sandwiches, salads, and appetizers, too. Most shows are under $15, while some have no cover at all.
The Mint, 6010 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 954 9400
Casey’s Irish Pub
Dark and cozy Casey’s began its life in 1916 as a Turkish bath house but has been an Irish pub since the late 1960s. Score traditional Irish fare, whiskey and beer, or play a game of darts or billiards. On weekend nights, expect the stage to come alive with live rock, indie, or folk music.
Casey’s Irish Pub, 613 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 629 2353
Casey’s Irish Bar | Courtesy of 213 Hospitality
Tucked into the Arts District, this retro watering hole offers accessible craft cocktails, great beer, and a charming vintage feel. Live bands take to the patio every night Villains is open. Acts tend to skew rock, indie, blues, rockabilly, and folk, and there’s no cover required for entry.
Villains Tavern, 1356 Palmetto St, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 613 0766
Villains Tavern | Courtesy of Villains Tavern
TRiP Santa Monica
Bar, American, $$$
TRiP Santa Monica
TRiP is a low-key bar that offers entertainment every night of the week, be it live bands, burlesque, trivia, or an open mic. Every Tuesday features live jazz. TRiP also serves over 60 craft beers and cheap, hearty bar food.
TRiP Santa Monica, 2101 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA, USA, +1 310 396 9010
The Three Clubs
Three Clubs is a dark and sultry Hollywood bar, done up in red and black. They offer craft cocktails at the bar, and a stage in the back features live music, comedy, burlesque and theatrical performances every night of the week. If the bar looks familiar, it might be because it’s from the 1996 comedy Swingers.
Three Clubs, 1123 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 462 6441
Three Clubs | © Joe Cantor
Paladino’s is an affordable dive in the Valley with trippy artwork, pool, happy hour, and a wide variety of live music. Expect cover bands, metal, and rock on the weekends; R&B, blues, funk, and soul on Mondays; and Latin nights on Thursdays and Sundays.
Paladino’s, 6101 Reseda Blvd, Tarzana, CA, USA, +1 818 342 1563
With a sprawling patio, Spanish fare and tapas, and an eclectic mix of live comedy, music, and burlesque performances, El Cid is a true gem. Guests are just as apt to see a classical Flamenco show as they are an energetic rock band or an all-woman Black Sabbath cover band. Just check their robust calendar.
El Cid, 4212 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 668 0318
Flamenco at El Cid | ©Juliet Bennett Rylah
Harvard & Stone
Harvard & Stone maintains a vintage, WWII-era feel while slinging classic cocktails in the front and new concoctions at their “R&D Bar” in the back. There’s plenty of space among the bar’s two stories and multiple lounge areas, but the stage area gets crowded during the regular live performances. Bookings include rock, blues, country, folk, rockabilly, indie, and a regular burlesque show backed by a live band.
Harvard and Stone, 5221 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 466 6063
Harvard & Stone | Courtesy of Harvard & Stone
The Redwood is not Los Angeles’ only pirate-themed bar, oddly enough, yet it’s one of the best. Slide in during happy hour (daily, 4–7pm) for a whiskey at the bar, appropriately decorated with a skull and crossbones. Stop by at night for loud rock, punk, and indie shows.
The Redwood Bar & Grill, 316 W 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA, USA, + 1 213 680 2600
Sassafras may be located in Hollywood, but the atmosphere inside hints at an Old West saloon deep in the Bayou. Craft cocktails and vintage decor are the pull for happy hour crowds, yet it’s the live jazz, blues and occasional DJ that make Sassafras an ideal nighttime haunt.
Sassafras Saloon, 1233 N Vine St, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 467 2800
Sassafras Saloon | Courtesy of Danielle Bernabe
Cody’s Viva Cantina
Cody’s Viva Cantina offers Mexican fare, margaritas, and free parking for both cars and horses. The real draw to this Country-Western bar is the live music. Catch country, big band, jazz, bluegrass, rockabilly, and garage rock acts – many of them free.
Cody’s Viva Cantina, 900 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA, USA, +1 818 845 2425
Grace Kelly performs at the Catalina in an episode of Bosch | Courtesy of Amazon