L.A. has some of the swankiest hotels in the country – we all know that. But did you know that some really sweet bars are often located inside them? Bet you didn't. Now that their cover's blown, it's about time someone compiles a list of the best hotel bars in the city. Anyone up to the challenge? Still waiting. All right, consider it done. But you owe me.
Veranda Bar: It's a cozy lounge that offers a spectacular view of beach. That reason alone should have you hoofing it over to the Veranda Bar located in Santa Monica's Casa Del Mar Hotel. You'd think that a luxurious spot like this would have overpriced drinks and a snooty staff. Well, far from it. The staff is always friendly and attentive, and they even host happy hour every Monday thru Friday form 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Beers are $5, with cocktails, wines and select appetizers running you $9. The Veranda Bar is also an ideal setting for people watching – just another great reason to visit.
Casa Del Mar Hotel, 1910 Ocean Way, 90405; 310-581-5533
Bar and Kitchen: For an intimate late night dinner, with reasonably priced food and drinks, look no further than Bar and Kitchen. One of the great things about this place is that the menu is separated into two parts: Small Eats, in which no item is over $14; and Big Eats, which has everything from goat cheese and herb gnocchi, to grilled chicken, all of which are $18 or less. They also have a pretty definitive drinks menu and wine list, which you can check out here. Just be sure to look for the O Hotel on Flower Street. Bar and Kitchen is located inside.
O Hotel, 819 S. Flower St., 90017; 213-784-3048
Whiskey Blue: Let's face it, there's a certain type of stigma attached to bars located in the lobby of a fancy hotel like the W. So how does a place like Whiskey Blue, with its Entourage-chic décor, differ? Two words people – happy hour. Yes, because when put together, those two fabulous words are what brings regular people
The W Hotel – Westwood, 930 Hilgard Ave., 90024; 310-443-8232
Drai's: Drai's, located inside the W Hotel, is a Vegas-style nightclub in the heart of Hollywood. The club also features a spectacular rooftop pool that offers breathtaking views of Los Angeles, as well as crowds of well-dressed people partying the night away. Even if you can't make it to Vegas, at the very least you can pretend like you're there. Like all nightclubs in Hollywood, however, Drai's tends to be expensive – especially if you plan on getting bottle service. But if you can't make it to Vegas, Drai's is probably the closest substitute you'll have in L.A.
6250 Hollywood Blvd., 12th Floor, 90028; 323-962-1111
Thompson Beverly Hills: Aside from being one of the best known rooftop bars in the city, the Thompson offers its guests and members relatively inexpensive eats and drinks, as well as a pristine view of the Los Angeles at night. Plus you're staying in Beverly Hills, which is always a bonus as far as bragging rights go. The summer is usually the best time to go, just because the Thompson is known for its legendary Sunday pool parties. It could be a bit intimidating for the average person, however, especially if you're untanned and lack a sculpted gym body (this is L.A. after all!). That being said, it's definitely a sight to see – at least just once. For more information on the Thompson Beverly Hills, visit its website.
9360 Wilshire Blvd., 90212; 310-273-1400