The 6 Best Bars In LA's Koreatown

| © Sam Howzit/Flickr
Marnie Sehayek

From traditional Korean seafood joints to dive bars that define the genre, from plush speakeasies with craft cocktails to the best local beer selection in town, Koreatown offers a number of eclectic watering holes to barflies of every stripe. Whether you’re in and out for happy hour or committing to karaoke, each of these places packs unique flavor into Los Angeles’ densest neighborhood.

Loved by over 40s

R Bar

Bar, Pub Grub

R Bar is an American-style speakeasy that proudly keeps their status on the down low – you even need a password to enter the place (check their social media or call ahead!). With a raucous Metal set every Monday, power-packed karaoke nights on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, resident DJs for busting a move to on Saturdays, and the odd trivia night, live music performance, and storytelling show, the bar’s calendar is always overflowing with good times. Weekly drink specials keep the regulars coming for a revolving selection of tasty cocktails, and their weekend brunch is a force to be reckoned with. This place may be for lovers of the underground, but the secret’s out.

Lock & Key

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub

The Lock &Key Interior
©Nick Drinks
What’s behind door number one? Lock & Key is a plush, upscale and languid speakeasy-style bar virtually non sequitur to its surroundings in the heart of bustling, urban K-Town. After entering through a fairly inconspicuous red door on the corner of Vermont and 3rd Street, patrons are greeted with a guessing game: a wall of door knobs – only one leads to the desired destination. Sensational cocktails bear names that recall the Roaring ‘20s, and the menu is a short but mighty list of inventive bar foods including a deep-fried PB&J.

HMS Bounty

Bar, Restaurant, American

HMS Bounty is a proudly kitschy affair, nautical theme and all. Located on the ground floor of a Koreatown high-rise, visitors enter what seems like the dark, wood-paneled hull of a ship. The dive bar’s essentials are the beer and shot specials, which set loyal customers back a mere $5. Pair your drinks with a happy hour cheeseburger and you’ve got a night on the town for the cost of what one cocktail will get you elsewhere. When you’re looking for a bit of a moody atmosphere and cheap and easy selections, this is a solid choice.

EMC Seafood & Raw Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, Pub Grub

EMC draws the hungry, highfalutin hordes with its $1 oyster special during happy hour on weeknights – it’s a great deal if you’re comfortable with getting cozy with your barmates. While you’re at it, try the live uni or soft shell crab sliders. Seafood most certainly reigns here, but the short, heavy-hitting cocktail list provides palate-cleansing balance with tried-and-true classics like a whiskey flip and a Moscow Mule in addition to more inventive takes with a barrel-aged Old Fashioned and a house sangria dubbed ‘The Hello Kitty.’


Cocktail Bar, Food Truck, Restaurant, Bar, Korean, Asian

Bara Chirashi at Tsujita
© T.Tseng/Flickr
Nestled in the corner of the lobby of the Line Hotel is POT Bar, which corresponds to Korean culinary genius Roy Choi’s esteemed POT restaurant just behind a nearby door. The lobby bar turns to full-on lounge on the weekends, complete with booths and bottle service. This spot is almost invariably bustling with 20- to 30-somethings anticipating a meal at the restaurant (yes, there’s a line) or hanging around to wash down a meal and mingle. The cocktails are the sort of creative fusion we’ve come to expect from Choi, like the Soju Curry which includes curry-infused soju with red wine, pickling liquid, lime, and agave syrup.

Beer Belly

Restaurant, Bar, Gastropub, Pub Grub

When you’re looking for a good beer in Koreatown, Beer Belly is undoubtedly the king of the neighborhood, overflowing with 12 rotating California drafts and a dozen more available on the can and bottle lists. Knowledgable barkeeps will tell you what’s what over a sample, but it’s hard to go wrong with their unequivocal selection. For the indulgent, brave the menu for guilty pleasures like their Death by Duckfat fries, quadruple layered grilled cheese or their crispy Brussels sprouts with pancetta. It can be tough to land a table indoors as this place is ever-popular, but patio seating is first come, first served, so slip on in.
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.