Your crazy college roommate just landed at LAX, three of your friends have birthdays today, and you just wrapped up a month-long rosewater-only body cleanse. It’s time to party. Finding a restaurant that allows you to get drunk isn’t hard to do in this town. Finding a place that also isn’t a completely vile rat den is more difficult.
We can’t promise that all of the restaurants on this guide have the greatest food or most attentive service, but if you’re looking to get a little wild in an enjoyable atmosphere, these are the 14 places we’ll send you first. And hurry, your crazy ex-roommate is already here, and he just did a shot of Fireball off the bartender’s bicep.
It’s 9pm on a Friday night, you’re with four hungry friends, and everybody wants to drink. Go to El Coyote instead. The massive Mexican restaurant on Beverly has been around since 1931, and while the food will never be the reason you come here, it does what it needs to do - put food in your stomach while you gulp down their legendary margaritas. Reservations are the smartest choice, but the place is so big that even during peak hours, you never have to wait more than a half hour for a table to open up.
At its core, Everson Royce Bar in the Arts District is really just a bar with food. But if you come to ERB and only drink, you’re doing it wrong. Whether it’s the housemade biscuits, the pork belly steam buns, or the best burger in LA, this is the kind of bar food you want to be eating while drinking too much beer with your friends. Their back patio is definitely the place to be.
The fact that LA isn’t littered with outdoor beer gardens is one of our city’s biggest mysteries. Luckily, we do have Red Lion Tavern to fill some of the void. The classic German bar/restaurant in Silver Lake is where you go when you want to chug giant steins of beer, eat sausage platters with your friends, and sit out on their gloriously kitschy back patio that kind of feels like the Germany section of Epcot. Come Friday and Saturday nights, this place becomes an all-out drunken mob scene.
Located in a part of town known for turning in early (Venice), La Cabana is open every day of the week until 3am, and that’s a gift. The fact that this 55 year-old Mexican restaurant has solid food across the board (get the El Verde burrito), giant pitchers of margaritas for $47, and a back patio where the party goes all night is just a bonus. Keep your eye out for the mariachi band - sometimes they play on the roof.
If you feel you’ve heard of James’ Beach and you’re not sure why, it’s because this is the place that Jason Segal’s character in I Love You, Man proclaims to have “the best fish tacos in the world.” While we’d definitely fight him on that, we do like the food at this casual Venice spot for what it is: straightforward and good for putting in your stomach before spending the rest of the night at the bar meeting people.
Even if you’re halfway into your REM cycle, if a text comes through saying to meet people at El Compadre, you get your ass up and go. Located on Sunset right on the Hollywood/Weho border, El Compadre is completely slammed every night of the week with people eating excellent old-school Mexican food, listening to the mariachi band, and housing the strongest flaming margaritas in town. Reservations are definitely required.
The South Bay has no shortage of restaurants where you can get drunk and no one will question you about it. Abigaile is our favorite. This giant brewery/restaurant in Hermosa Beach is one of those places where you could spend the whole night, moving to different areas depending on your mood. You’ll start the night in the main dining room or by the firepits on the patio, eat a bunch of good bar food, and drink beer from their microbrewery. When you’re ready to kick things to the next level, head upstairs to Alta House, which has DJs on the weekends and a dance floor that gets sloppy in a hurry.
Go to any of Night + Market’s three locations and you’ll eat some of the best Thai food in the city. But go to the original location in West Hollywood and you might walk out drunk-dialing your landlord. The colorful space is massive and has a back patio that’s always able to accommodate big groups on short notice. Also, there are beer towers. We don’t care how much khao soi you put into your body, those things will always sneak up on you.
The Attic is open every day from 9am-10pm, but you’re at this Long Beach staple for brunch. On Saturday and Sunday, you’ll find this converted bungalow’s big wraparound patio slammed with people eating mac and cheese topped with Cheetos and pounding giant Bloody Marys garnished with short rib sliders. Nothing is subtle at The Attic and that includes your eventual midday hangover.
This indoor/outdoor restaurant on a side street in West Hollywood feels like you’re eating on someone’s front patio, and that alone will likely encourage you to drink as much as is physically possible here. No one comes here for the mediocre Tex-Mex, but the food won’t offend you, especially after those $24 margarita pitchers hit the table.
Step aside Bungalow, there’s a new disaster bar in Santa Monica, and it’s got way better views. Located on an ocean-facing rooftop on 2nd St., Elephante is one of the most impressive spaces to open on the Westside in a while. It has a totally fine Italian-leaning food menu. In reality, you’re here to drink expensive cocktails, stare at the Santa Monica Pier, and flirt with well-dressed people who make more money than you.
This list would be void if we didn’t put at least one Lisa Vanderpump restaurant on it, so we’re choosing Pump. The gaudy restaurant in the heart of Boystown looks like it was designed by a Victorian ghost with a chandelier fetish and the crowd is mostly comprised of tourists looking for Bravo! celebrities. While most of the food is best eaten with your nose plugged, there’s no denying the expensive cocktails are both good and strong. After four or five or six of them, it’ll hit you - this place is pretty fun.