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The dense urban village of West Hollywood is one of the smallest cities in Los Angeles County geographically, but offers one of the most prolific arrays of drinking and entertainment options in Southern California. Nicknamed, “Boystown,” the neighborhood is a regional hub for LGBT nightlife. The watering holes of the Sunset Strip attract both well-heeled Hollywood stars and scruffy rock musicians, while Santa Monica Blvd. east of La Cienega boasts a diverse offering of trendy joints. Whether you are looking for a quiet nightcap or a frenzied dance party, a no frills dive bar or a refined cocktail lounge, ‘WeHo’ has a bar to suit your fancy.
Formerly the epicenter of the Sunset Strip’s glam-metal rock scene back in the 1980s, the “Bow” is perhaps the only joint in LA where the male patrons still have their hair down long and loose. Bands like Mötley Crüe and Led Zeppelin dominate the sound system; you might occasionally hear some Nirvana but never any music from the millennium. Despite its age, Rainbow’s color has not faded. The interior dining area offers a menu featuring hearty pizzas and sandwiches, but the bar on the outdoor patio is where the action is– the smoke is pervasive and the drinks are poured stiff.
If you dread economy class, head to Now Boarding, where you’ll receive the royal treatment. The bartenders at your service are dressed as airline pilots in a venue modeled after a 1960’s airline lounge. The bar’s swanky mid-century modern design and photographs on the walls of model flight attendants call back the days when flying was ‘sexy’. Aside from the decor, focus on the drink list, one of the most innovative in town. The gin and cucumber Jetsetter is exceptionally refreshing, while the Lolita, a rum old-fashioned made with coffee bitters, lemon and orange, will perk you up with its rich mocha flavor. Creative flares round out the drinking experience – for instance, the Mexican Dove, a version of the Margarita tempered by grapefruit and squirt soda, is served in a squirt can.