The Best Bars in Highland Park, Los Angeles

Aerial view of Highland Park, Los Angeles, California
Aerial view of Highland Park, Los Angeles, California | © Chon Kit Leong / Alamy Stock Photo
K Santos

Highland Park is a Los Angeles neighborhood defined by its diverse community, and now increasingly influenced by a new-found popularity amongst the youth of LA – due in large part to its abundance of nightlife options.

Historically, Highland Park is home to a mix of working-class families, artists, and some of L.A.’s most successful local businesses. Despite criticism regarding rapid gentrification of the area over the past decade, the neighborhood remains a vibrant hub where people from all walks of life can get together for a drink. From speakeasy-style cocktail clubs to the diviest of hole-in-the-wall bars, Highland Park has a watering hole for every Angeleno and out-of-town visitor.

1. Electronic Nights at Lodge Room

Bar, American

Once home to Highland Park’s Masonic Lodge, Lodge Room is now a bustling music venue that hosts bright young talent in different genres, including electronica. Located on the second floor of 104 N. Ave 56 – in the heart of the neighborhood – this all-ages hangout also offers movie screenings. There is a full bar and an in-house restaurant, Checker Hall, that serves New American cuisine.

2. Jukebox Tunes at Footsie's

Bar, American

Footsie’s Bar is Highland Park’s most beloved dive and an Eastside institution. This darkly lit space is open daily until 2am, and there’s free pool, cheap beer, an outdoor smoking section, and a substantial music collection on the jukebox. Take your seat in one of the vinyl booths and sip one of the immaculate cocktails as you hum along to a Prince song,

3. Back to Prohibition at Highland Park Bowl

Bar, Pizzeria, Contemporary

Highland Park Bowl, which hails from the Prohibition era, once housed an upstairs doctor’s office that allowed “patients” to get prescriptions for whiskey. Downstairs, visitors could bowl while legally quaffing their “medicine.” Almost a century after the joint opened, new owners discovered the mostly untouched bowling alley. The space lives on as a premiere cocktail bar complete with a high-end pizza menu, karaoke nights, and (on weekends) bowling until 2am.

4. Latinx liveliness at La Cuevita

Bar, American, Pub Grub

Highland Park’s Latinx residents make up more than 70% of its population. In the 1970s, the area was popular among Chicanx artists, and today many Latinx-owned businesses line the streets. La Cuevita celebrates Mexican culture with lively music, great tacos, and an impressive array of mezcal and tequila cocktails. The cocktail bar also functions as a jazz club on certain nights. With a spacious outdoor patio and free tacos on Tuesday nights, La Cuevita is one of the neighborhood’s liveliest late-night spots.

5. Concoction cocktails at Good Housekeeping

Bar, North American

A great local bar should have a few key elements: an excellent happy hour menu and cozy seats are two of those things. Good Housekeeping, on Figueroa, offers both, among other amenities, including a busy events calendar. The cocktails are ultra-fun and top-notch. Popular events have included I Wanna Get Tiki With You and National Sidecar Day. Weekly vinyl DJ nights bring out a diverse crowd of music-lovers, locals, and visitors alike. Open for more than a decade, Good Housekeeping has established itself as a place where good times are bound to happen.

6. Brew down at the Hermosillo

Bar, Charcuterie, American, Pub Grub

Craft beer may have already had its moment in the spotlight, but that doesn’t stop The Hermosillo from serving delicious local brews to a large crowd every night. Housed in a formerly shady nightclub, the bar offers 16 beers on tap from Highland Park Brewery and natural wines from all over the world. The food menu includes a variety of elevated small bites, from pork tacos to cheese plates. Open nightly until 2am, this is a go-to beer spot that brings in a crowd of cyclists during the day and the after-work crowd at night.

7. Relive 'Friends' at The York

Bar, Pub, Gastropub, Pub Grub

For many Highland Park locals, The York serves the same purpose as Central Perk did for the characters in Friends. High ceilings, open seating, a consistent food menu, and weekly events (including a popular trivia night) are among the reasons this gastropub has become Highland Park’s ideal weeknight spot. It’s also one of the best daytime spots thanks to competitive happy-hour prices and the decently priced brunches.

8. Vintage vibes at Gold Line

Bar, American

DJ Peanut Butter Wolf’s recently opened Figueroa Street night-time spot is an elegantly designed vinyl ‘n’ cocktails bar with vintage vibes. The drinks menu includes various types of highball cocktails. The sounds are chosen from Wolf’s personal collection of thousands of albums, which are stacked above the bar. Only time will tell if Gold Line can make the transition from hot new spot to neighborhood staple, but the signs are good.

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