The York was one of the first trendy bars to open its doors in Highland Park and is the most well-known bar in the area. The industrial yet bohemian feel of the cocktail bar-gastropub is reflective of Highland Park’s new reputation. The exposed brick walls enclose a packed crowd of both locals and newcomers throughout the weekend, but the energy remains high any night of the week. Not only are the cocktails well crafted but also the beer selection, which rotates seasonally and includes both tap and bottled varieties from around the world. This bar is a great place to stop in for a late-night drink (they are open until 2am every day), meal or aperitif.
The York, 5018 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 255 9675
Just down the street from The York is the former escort club-turned-brewpub, The Hermosillo. Last year, Highland Park Brewery began brewing in the old VIP area of the club and has added an easygoing vibe to this neighborhood hangout. Since The Hermosillo is home base for the brewery, it offers small-batch brews that aren’t available to other bars in the area. Their wine list is not to be overlooked either — The Hermosillo has an extensive list of reasonably priced wine from around the globe. The consistent flow of customers makes this bar a lively yet laid-back choice in Highland Park.
The Hermosillo, 5125 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 739 6459
One of the only establishments on York Boulevard that still thrives despite the gentrification of Highland Park is Johnny’s Bar. A few upgrades have been made, but this place remains simply decorated, dimly lit, and a straightforward place to grab a drink. The eclectic, regular set of customers and friendly staff along with the stag’s head mounted behind the bar give Johnny’s a homey feel. The drinks prices here remain very low compared to other bars on York, and many patrons enjoy the pool, foosball, and pinball machine in the back of the bar. In addition, the jukebox has a wide array of music, which can match the mood of any night out.
Johnny’s Bar, 5006 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 982 0775
The Offbeat is all about the drinks. This bar draws a heavy crowd later in the evenings — well after the end of happy hour, which is over at 9pm. Although the price of drinks has risen substantially since the building’s prior inhabitants, Dusty’s Sports Bar, the prices are still reflective of its local bar feel. Decade nights here bring in a wide variety of patrons plus local DJs and entice people onto the makeshift dance floor on the weekends. Although not all Highland Park residents are happy about Dusty’s new image, The Offbeat is drawing a much wider crowd, the majority of which seem happy about the transition.
The Offbeat, 6316 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 739 9696
Although Sonny’s Hideaway can be easy to miss while traveling down York Blvd, it would be a mistake to miss its eclectic, delicious food or excellently crafted cocktails. Sonny’s is more expensive than its neighbors, and dishes up both dinner and drinks perfect for a post-work happy hour or a great night out. The cocktail list includes traditional and creative drinks with flavor profiles that cannot be found anywhere else in L.A. Their Ticket To Prague includes Becherovka, a Czech liquor, which brings a distinctly herbal finish to the initial bourbon flavor. If you are looking for a low-key yet polished place to visit in Highland Park, there is no better spot than Sonny’s.
Sonny’s Hideaway, 5137 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 255 2000
Another street to explore in Highland Park is Figueroa, which runs perpendicular to York Blvd. Here you will find La Cuevita, a mezcal and tequila bar offering both a cool, dimly lit interior and a large outdoor patio. Their weekly events include Jazz on Sundays and DJs spinning on weekend evenings, but the most popular night at La Cuevita is Taco Tuesday. After 10pm on Tuesday nights, this spot serves free tacos, and the crowd is always bustling. Don’t go too early, as no food is regularly served. However, happy hour runs through 9pm, and even the most refined mezcal or tequila enthusiasts will adore La Cuevita.
La Cuevita, 5922 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 255 6871
The Greyhound Bar & Grill
The Greyhound sits proudly on the corner of Figueroa and 56th and provides a lofty space perfect for groups and those wanting to chat with other bar patrons. The bar is high energy, hosting weekly events like quiz nights and release parties for local musicians. Die-hard L.A. sports fans can also be found here watching games on the TVs when their teams are playing out of town. Their menu offers killer sandwiches and other entrées such as fish and chips, shrimp and grits, and steak and fries. An extensive drinks menu and all-day specials on shots and beer will ensure that those looking for more than just dinner and a pint can find refuge here as well.
Although not within the main cluster of bars in downtown Highland Park, Footsies is a great place to check out if you’re visiting the area. Fewer bars in Los Angeles are filled with as many hipsters as Footsies, and the clientele matches the versatile music selections from the decade-centric DJs or the jukebox blasting out on the dance floor. The bar has an authentic, grungy charm. Drinks are moderately priced, and although no food is served at the bar, food trucks can often be found out back adjacent to the patio. The parking lot in the back is a rare bonus.
Footsies, 2640 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 221 6900