Hollywood is the ultimate meet-up-for-a-drink neighborhood. For one, there’s a lot of places to choose from, all catering to different crowds and situations. Secondly, its centralized location means you can suggest it and feel confident that people will actually show up - no matter what corner of the city they’re coming from. From a quiet natural wine bar to bright hotel rooftops, here are 12 great places to drink outside in Hollywood.
Gigi’s is one of the toughest reservations to get in town right now, but if you’re able to snag a table, you’ll be treated to a night that feels like the opposite of when you played dress-up with your ficus until you fell asleep on the couch. Located on the increasingly exciting Sycamore Ave., this French bistro perfectly threads the needle of being both upscale and casual at the exact same time. It’s a great place to grab a few cocktails with a friend as the sun goes down or get all dressed up (remember doing that?) and take down some steak-frites and a bottle of wine with someone important.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
While we’d come here just for the excellent Neapolitan pizza (the place has been cranking out pies in their original Naples, Italy location since 1870), the incredible back patio is the reason we’ll stay and hang out all day. With red brick walls, a full fireplace, and enough trees to qualify as a miniature forest, this sprawling space is exactly where we want to be drinking wine and Aperol spritzes this spring.
Boardner’s has been around since 1942 and is another old Hollywood institution in the heart of the neighborhood. They’re currently open every day from 5pm-2am with an expanded back alleyway patio and a massive bar menu that features everything from tacos to shrimp scampi. That said, the time to come is during Happy Hour, which runs Monday-Saturday until 8am (plus all night on Sundays) where everything on the consolidated menu is $7.
Mama Shelter is an all-day rooftop where we always have fun - they’ve got great cocktails, a solid wine list, and a surprisingly casual crowd considering you’re on top of a hotel in Hollywood. Keep in mind that capacity is limited, and they don’t take reservations. They’re open Sunday through Thursday until midnight and 2am on the weekends.
Tabula Rasa in East Hollywood is one of our favorite wine bars in LA. There’s a fantastic selection of biodynamic wines, a good craft beer list, plus a rotating menu of excellent bar snacks (if you see the Cubano, get it). It had been operating primarily as a to-go wine shop during the pandemic, but has recently reopened for both patio and sidewalk seating. They’re open every day starting at 2pm, with food service beginning at 5pm.
The Cat & Fiddle
The Cat & Fiddle at Melrose and Highland has reopened outdoor dining on their excellent back patio. It’s definitely a bit quieter and subdued than other spots on this list, but you might be still warming up to this whole being around other people who you don’t know thing. Open daily from noon until 9pm, The Cat & Fiddle is the perfect, low-key spot to meet a friend you haven’t seen in a while, eat delicious fish and chips, and put away one too many Pimm’s cups.
Sometimes you just want to drink a flaming margarita with your roommate after a long day at work. When the urge hits, head to El Compadre. The Mexican spot on Sunset has expanded their back patio into their parking lot, meaning you won’t have to wait nearly as long to get a table. They aren’t taking reservations, but if you come early on a weekday, you’ll be able to walk right in. One of their massive enchilada combo platters is always a good idea after a few rounds.
That’s right, the seminal 1970’s house party-themed bar has officially reopened. While it’s by no means the rager you’re picturing in your head from 2015, it’s still a great option to grab cocktails with friends on an astroturfed backyard patio. They’re currently open Thursday through Sunday from 8pm-2am with table service only and a 90-minute maximum per table. You don’t need a reservation, but we recommend getting there early as you never know when the crowds will show up.
This historic bar on Santa Monica Blvd (it originally opened in 1939) has gone through several iterations over the years, but the current one has reestablished itself as the kind of place you can head to last minute with a coworker or a few friends. Plus, you can always count on there being an extra table waiting for you on their rooftop patio. All their tiki cocktails are excellent, but we love the green tea martini which comes with Jameson, peach juice, aquafaba, and matcha.
Our favorite post-cringey improv show hangout spot has reopened in Franklin Village. Though there is some indoor seating now, there’s also a great sidewalk patio ideal for meeting up with someone for one drink and one drink only. There’s a big beer list, some wine, and a poultry-heavy menu ranging from chili to pot pie. There’s also a daily Happy Hour from 3:30-6:30pm with $5 drafts, wine, and well drinks.
You can find Stout in the midst of Hollywood’s rowdy clubs and rooftops, but this surprisingly calm burger spot has a big wrap-around outdoor patio ideal for actually hearing your friend talk. They have a massive tap list that usually includes a bunch of hard-to-find Belgian beers that go great with any of the burgers. Our favorites include the “Morning After” - basically a bacon, egg, and cheese burger - and the arugula- and chutney mayo- topped “Bollywood.”
Located on the grounds of Yamashiro, Kensho is a tiny Japanese wine bar with views that include the Hollywood Sign, the sun setting over the surrounding hills, and your friend making a mental note that you know how to plan drinks. The menu is filled with snacks like mushroom inari, a perilla bowl, and charcuterie plates, but keep an eye on their calendar, as different pop-ups happen throughout the week (Thursday and Friday yakitori night is a must). Make sure you get involved with their excellent natural wine and sake as well.