Los Angeles Magazine - June 2019

23 of the Best Bars in Downtown L.A.

Where to go for a drink and a hang in DTLA

There are lots of reasons to go downtown (too many to name, in fact), but whether you’re checking out a museum, going to a show, meeting friends for dinner, or, you know, you live there, stopping for a drink will likely be part of the agenda. Here are nearly two dozen spots to choose from, whether you’re looking for tiki in Chinatown or a dive in the Arts District.

The Association

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You might not spot this hidden gem at first, considering it’s underground and hidden behind a heavy unmarked door, but keep looking. Inside you’ll find a low-lit lounge with stately décor and an impressive selection of classic cocktails. Don Draper would be shook. 110 E. 6th St., downtown.


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A new addition to the DTLA drinking scene, Atlas takes over the space that was formerly Blue J. The interior has a sleek new look, and a large, wrap-around bar should mean there’s a place to sit most times you drop by. The food menu is short but has some fancy touches. A seasonal list of house-devised cocktails is full of bright flavors, like the “Welcome to the Jungle” with mezcal, pineapple, lemon, aperol, and strawberry. 333 S. Alameda St., Little Tokyo.

Bar Clacson

Inspired by retro Italian drinking culture, this high-ceilinged room down the block from Grand Central Market is heavy on spritzes and amari. It’s a perfect spot for happy hour, with $5 cocktails and abundant lower-ABV options. If you decide to stick around for more of a party scene, the ‘80s themed Slipper Clutch bar can be accessed through a door at the back of Bar Clacson. 351 S. Broadway, Historic Core.

Bar Franca

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Look for the neon cherries to find your way to this snug cocktail spot. Inside, under the domed, pink ceiling, you’ll sip on classic cocktails and selections from a well-curated list of natural wines and craft beers. The bar is the newest project from set designer-turned-bar owner Rachel Thomas, formerly behind Perch and the Must. Bar Franca is conveniently located next door to the Regent Theater, making it a perfect spot for a pre-show drink. 438 S. Main St., Historic Core.

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Gina Borgia