If you find yourself in the Westwood area chances are you’re either a student, a young-professional, or in some other way affiliated with UCLA. Whatever brings you to this affluent college-town, if you’re in need of a spot to enjoy a cocktail and appetizers with co-workers after a long day of work, want to party on game-night, or simply kick back with a cold craft beer, here’s our guide to the Westwood area’s finest bars.
Restaurant, American, $$$
Barney’s Beanery, Broxton Avenue | Courtesy of Barney's Beanery
Barney’s in Westwood is a Bruin watering hole with a lot to offer. This lively sports bar features more than 50 giant flat screen TVs, 40 (fairly inexpensive) beers on tap, and a full newspaper-themed menu of American comfort food. Daily specials cater to those on a budget — these include a weekday Happy Hour, Monday night $3.50 Stella Artois, Thursday night $5 select draft beers, and many others. Often crowded, the bustling bar manages to deliver a laid-back feel in an eclectic, vibrant atmosphere; picture colorful Christmas lights, scattered license plates and 1950s paraphernalia dispersed over two floors. Head over to Barney’s for a big game night, or Karaoke on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
A charming, low-key gastropub to get drinks with co-workers or catch up with friends, Bar Food will satisfy your hunger and quench your thirst in a warm and cozy setting in which you will actually be able to hear the person sitting next to you! Devour tasty ‘bar snacks’ like potato puffs and parmesan rosemary popcorn and enjoy a full bar featuring 30 beers on tap, a generous wine list, and a seasonal cocktail menu with specialties like the ‘Dark’ N’ Stormy’ (rum, lime, ginger beer). Attention whiskey lovers: Bar Food has an extensive whiskey list with over 200 selections of Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish varieties. Take advantage of Bar Food’s relatively lengthy weekend Happy Hour from 4-8pm or win beer and other prizes on weekly trivia night.
Built in the spirit and tradition of a German beer hall, this bar is a haven for craft beer fanatics and those who value exceptionally knowledgeable and friendly service. Brü Haus gets serious about providing premier brews like the light bodied carmely Schwendl Weissbier, the darker creamy Schwendl Holy Night and the Oktoberfest Schronramer Gold. Owner Wen Yeh travels to remote localities of Bavaria each year to discover unique high quality beers to bring back and serve at Brü Haus — many of which are available at only a few establishments in the entire United States. Beyond the impressive beer selection — semi-communal seating, bright lighting, 13 flat screen TVs, and an open kitchen serving alcohol-absorbing appetizers packed with flavor (sweet sriracha chili chicken wings will win your heart) make Brü Haus a neighborhood favorite.
Interior of Cabo Cantina Brentwood | Courtesy of Cabo Cantina
Those who missed out on spring break can take a vacation in Cabo Cantina where the festive, rambunctious atmosphere is perfectly paired with the bar’s signature ‘mega margaritas’ (which come in 22 mix and match flavors including cucumber and key lime pie). Party seekers and sports enthusiasts descend on Cabo for popular fight matches and the college-kid favorite: Taco Tuesday. Let your hair down and say adios to your worries as you indulge in hot cheesy asada fries, a two-for-one happy hour and weekend bottomless mimosas and bloody marry’s. Fair warning Cabo’s popularity can sometimes make it a difficult spot to find a table.
At the Glendon Bar and Kitchen, sit under the incandescent glow of dangling chandeliers while sipping on a hand crafted cocktail such as the sugary Gentleman’s Tea (Seagrams sweet tea vodka, lemon, mint, chai herb simply syrup) or the refreshing Jane Fonda (vodka, cucumber, lime, agave). Serving up California cuisine and posh drinks in an upscale yet inclusive ambiance, this cocktail lounge dazzles a mixed crowd of college students, and business colleagues. Rustic décor and romantic lighting make the Glendon Bar and Kitchen a brilliant choice for a first-date — as evidenced by the establishment’s weekly ‘Tinder Tuesday’ — or those who want to play dress up for the evening.
The ambiance at Mom’s Bar feels affectionate and genuine like only a mother’s embrace could. Completely devoid of any pretension, this legendary little dive bar — open 365 days a year — is the place you go to kick off your shoes and listen to that drink of choice in your hand encouraging you to try a new dance move. Mom’s bar doesn’t care if you’re a wealthy celebrity (they’ve received their fair share) or a poverty-stricken screenwriter; all types of people come together at Mom’s for pure, unadulterated fun. Unlike many bars on the Westside, Mom’s makes a concerted effort to serve a large selection of strong drinks at relatively low prices including many seven and eight dollar cocktails — make sure you try their unique take on a Moscow Mule (Mom’s Mule). Bonus: the bartenders are genial and generous!
Palomino Restaurant and Bar has a killer Happy Hour, lets start there. The big-hearted Mediterranean establishment offers an all day Happy Hour serving modern dishes like caramelized cauliflower and crispy calamari and features a list of $5.95 cocktails that includes a bubbly cranberry mojito and a basil gimlet muddled to perfectly release the flavors of its sweet and herby ingredients. Palomino is clean-cut and elegant with a sophisticated vibe that will bring some class to your night. Beware: Happy Hour can get crowded.
Chalk up those pool sticks! Cool and casual Q’s is a laid-back sports bar with a perpetual red glow and a somewhat masculine energy. The two-story venue is large and roomy with 12 pool tables ($15/hour) and 30 TVs. Mid to late twenty-somethings frequent this venue especially on the weekends and for Beer Pong Sundays. Serving the usual suspects (Blue Moon, Coors, Bud light, etc), Q’s is a great place to get rowdy watching a game or enjoy some friendly competition in a pool match.
Westwood’s resident old-timer, Sepi’s is a classic. For over a decade the intimate sports bar has served sandwiches and cheap pitchers to UCLA students, faculty and nostalgic alumni. Covered in sports memorabilia and Bruin gear, Sepi’s feels like hometown pride. Although the bar gets crowded on game nights, the majority of the time Sepi’s serves as a peaceful, vintage spot to eat, drink, and chat with buddies.
Wellesbourne Fairytale cottage meets English country club in this boozy sanctuary featuring a wooded interior, dignified leather booths, a large crackling fireplace, and an ice-cold jug of complimentary cucumber water for your enjoyment as soon as you enter. Bartenders prepare a mixed bag of innovative cocktails as well as the more familiar classics. The Wellesbourne is particularly notorious for nailing an old fashioned and does not disappoint (flaming orange twist and all). Step into the swanky bar on the weekends to mingle and dance with friendly patrons or listen to smooth jazz on Rendez-vous Wednesdays when the Wellesbourne hosts a live trio. By Amanda Muruato Amanda is a senior at the University of California in Santa Barbara. She has been described (by her mom) as wildly intellectual and creative. She is passionate about fostering a kinder, more educated and understanding world through her writing and adventures around California.