Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life
Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel - Mingle with the Stars
The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel is an iconic Hollywood hangout where the rich and famous go to see and be seen. Located within the famous pink Beverly Hills Hotel, the Polo Lounge has been a glamorous haunt of the entertainment elite since it opened in 1941. With its refined yet relaxed vibe, green and white striped booths, and signature McCarthy Salad, the Polo Lounge oozes Old Hollywood glamour.
It's the perfect place to live out your Hollywood dreams, indulge in a bit of celebrity spotting, or simply soak up the ritzy atmosphere. As soon as you step inside, you'll be transported back to Tinseltown's Golden Age. Keep your eyes peeled and you might just spot a legendary director, silver screen icon or modern day superstar among the well-heeled patrons.
According to Hollywood lore, you never know who you might rub shoulders with at the Polo Lounge. Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Katharine Hepburn were known to frequent the bar back in its heyday. In recent times, star sightings have included everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Kim Kardashian. The discrete staff is well-versed in keeping their celebrity clientele happy, so don't be surprised if they whisk A-listers into one of the private booths or discreet side rooms.
Aside from Potential celebrity sightings, the charm of the Polo Lounge also lies in its timeless, sophisticated decor. With its green leather booths, dark wood paneling, chandeliers and equestrian art, the lounge beautifully blends Old World charm with modern glitz. The garden patio is the perfect spot to soak up the sun with a Polo Lounge signature cocktail in hand. Menu highlights beyond the famous McCarthy salad include the McCarthy vodka martini and filet mignon tartare.
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- Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel - Mingle with the Stars
- Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - Spire 73 at the InterContinental - Unbeatable City Views
- Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Rooftop at The Standard Downtown LA - See-and-Be-Seen Hotspot
- Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - Blind Dragon at The Raymond 1886 - Hidden Speakeasy Vibes
- Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Living Room at The Peninsula Beverly Hills - Refined Old Hollywood Glamour
- Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Rooftop at The Nomad Hotel - Chic Vibes in Downtown LA
- Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Formosa Cafe - Historic Hollywood Hangout
- Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Bar at Musso & Frank Grill - Old School Hollywood Haven
Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - Spire 73 at the InterContinental - Unbeatable City Views
Rising 73 stories above downtown Los Angeles, Spire 73 at the InterContinental Hotel offers some of the most breathtaking city views in all of L.A. Perched atop the tallest building west of Chicago, the sleek bar lives up to its name, giving visitors a bird's eye perspective of the sprawling metropolis below.
The vistas show off the City of Angels in all her glory, with unobstructed 360-degree views of the surrounding skyline. To the north, the iconic Hollywood sign is visible in the distance, a reminder that Tinseltown glamour is never far away. The high-rises of downtown LA fan out to the east, while to the west, the skyscrapers give way to the lush greenery of MacArthur Park. When the sun sets, Spire 73 becomes the perfect spot to watch the glittering city lights sparkle to life below.
Beyond the incredible views, Spire 73 also stands out for its chic, sophisticated ambiance. The minimalist decor features clean lines, neutral tones, and floor-to-ceiling windows designed to maximize natural light and highlight the jaw-dropping vistas. Comfy lounges and cozy nooks invite visitors to relax with an expertly-crafted cocktail in hand. A spiral staircase connects the bar's two levels, offering ever-changing perspectives.
Spire 73 attracts an upscale crowd of locals, business travelers, and visitors who appreciate the luxe setting. Guests rave about the extensive drink menu, which includes craft cocktails made with the finest liquors and fresh ingredients. Bar bites like truffle fries and charcuterie boards make it easy to linger for hours, soaking up the glamorous atmosphere.
Some visitors time their visit to Spire 73 around sunset, when the golden hour light bathes the bar in a warm glow. Watching the sunset and the city transition from day to night is an experience that connects visitors to the dynamic energy of Los Angeles. As one recent guest described it, "Sipping a drink here as the sun goes down and the skyscrapers begin to twinkle is nothing short of magical."
Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Rooftop at The Standard Downtown LA - See-and-Be-Seen Hotspot
Located in the heart of vibrant downtown Los Angeles, the Rooftop at The Standard hotel is one of the city's quintessential see-and-be-seen bars. The sleek, trendy rooftop lounge attracts beautiful people from far and wide, all flocking to soak up the glamorous atmosphere and be part of the scene.
While the interior spaces at the Standard exude an edgy, indie vibe, the Rooftop aims for more mainstream appeal with its plush couches, dance music, and well-stocked bar slinging colorful cocktails. Scantily-clad models and hip creatives rub shoulders with Hollywood executives and visiting celebrities, giving the lively Rooftop an intoxicating air of exclusivity.
At night, the open-air lounge comes alive with non-stop energy. Groups of fashionable friends laugh and mingle over drinks while others hit the dance floor or pose for photos against the spectacular backdrop of the LA cityscape. During the day, the vibe shifts to a more relaxed yet still buzzy weekend pool party atmosphere. Beautiful people lounge poolside on the sleek white couches and cabana beds, soaking up sunshine and sneaking glimpses of the stylish crowd.
While people watching is a favorite pastime, the jaw-dropping views are an equally big draw. The Standard is strategically located in the heart of the Financial District, with unmatched panoramas of the surrounding skyscrapers. Sunsets are particularly stunning as patrons watch the orange glow dip behind the iconic buildings. At night, the twinkling sea of lights is mesmerizing. It's the perfect way to take in the dynamic energy of downtown LA.
Given its reputation as an "it" spot, the Rooftop takes care to maintain its allure by enforcing a selective door policy on crowded nights. Would-be patrons hoping to get in on the action arrive early and dress to impress. Once inside, people tend to go all out, ordering bottle service and living the high life.
Recent patrons describe the vibe as electric and fun with a healthy dose of pretentiousness. While some may find the door policy and bottle requirements annoying, most agree that they're a small price to pay for the unforgettable experience. As one recent visitor put it, “From the amazing views to the beautiful people, the Standard Rooftop is a quintessential LA experience. The energy is palpable; you know you're somewhere special.”
Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - Blind Dragon at The Raymond 1886 - Hidden Speakeasy Vibes
Tucked away in the historic Raymond 1886 restaurant lies one of Los Angeles' best kept secrets: the intimate, enchanting speakeasy lounge known as Blind Dragon. Located in the charming town of Pasadena just northeast of LA proper, Blind Dragon channels the clandestine, transportive feel of Prohibition-era watering holes.
To gain entry into this hidden gem, visitors must first walk through the refined main dining room at Raymond 1886, pass through an " Employees Only" door, and then make their way down a dimly lit corridor. This journey heightens the anticipation and intrigue before entering the moody, enveloping world of Blind Dragon. The payoff is well worth the build up.
Once inside, guests are enveloped in Old Hollywood romance and vintage oriental flair. Red velvet banquettes, dramatic candle lighting, and exotic lanterns and wall hangings evoke the exotic adventure of 1920s Asia. Patrons huddle in intimate nooks as dapper bartenders - some sporting unique hats - mix bespoke cocktails inspired by Chinese apothecary traditions using hand-carved ice and premium liquors.
The drink menu features clever takes on timeless classics along with one-of-a-kind originals like the Iron Fist with bourbon, Chinese five spice syrup and angostura. Food offerings include Asian-inspired small plates perfect for sharing. Standouts like the pork belly bao buns and crispy shrimp chips deliver bold flavors without overwhelming the palate.
Everything about the look, feel and service at Blind Dragon aims transport you to another time and place. As patrons whisper and relax beneath the ambient glow of lanterns, the outside world melts away. According to recent visitors, Blind Dragon offers a truly magical, transformative experience that satisfies a craving for mystery and romance.
The intimate 40-seat space accommodates walk-ins on weeknights but reservations are a must on weekends when the spot fills up fast. Once inside, guests tend to linger for hours, reveling in the moody atmosphere. Part of the allure is the paradoxical sense of privacy in a public space. The combination of shadowy lighting, secluded booths and discreet service allows patrons to feel hidden away.
Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Living Room at The Peninsula Beverly Hills - Refined Old Hollywood Glamour
The Living Room at The Peninsula Beverly Hills radiates refined Old Hollywood glamour from the moment you step inside. As the centerpiece of the Peninsula's lobby, the stately yet inviting Living Room immediately transports guests back to the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1930's and 40's.
The soaring space features elegant architectural details like towering Corinthian columns, marble floors, and a stunning stained glass ceiling that casts an ethereal glow. Luxurious furnishings like plush sofas, carved wood tables, and grand piano give the Living Room a peaceful, sophisticated aura reminiscent of old Los Angeles. This is where Hollywood's early elite like Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant came to see and be seen.
Today, the Living Room continues to attract discerning guests who appreciate the timeless glamour and top-notch service. Visitors gush over the Living Room's ambiance and how special it makes them feel. According to a recent guest, "As soon as I walked in, I felt like a golden-era movie star transported to the 1930's. The Living Room is so beautifully maintained and exudes luxury and romance."
Another visitor described feeling like they were "immersed in Great Gatsby grandeur." Even locals who frequent Beverly Hills' top hotels cite the Living Room as their favorite lobby escape. The Peninsula carefully preserves the integrity of the space while maintaining modern comfort and amenities.
A focal point of the Living Room is the celebrated afternoon tea service, a Peninsula tradition since 1991. Butlers dressed in tailored suits deliver an exquisite tiered display of sandwiches, scones, and sweets for an experience one guest called "divinely decadent." Visitors recommend booking a table on the outdoor terrace for unparalleled people watching.
Cocktails and wine are also served daily in the Living Room's cozy bar area. Bartenders craft artisanal drinks made with the finest liquors and fresh ingredients. Sipping a Manhattan beside the white marble fireplace, you're transported to the Golden Age. Period details like art deco sconces and console tables further the vintage vibe.
No matter when you visit, the Living Room maintains its aura of timeless elegance and charm. The local pianist provides a soundtrack befitting the refined setting while discreet waiters anticipate guests' every need. Visitors remark on the genuine warmth and attentiveness of the staff.
Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Rooftop at The Nomad Hotel - Chic Vibes in Downtown LA
The Rooftop at The Nomad Hotel is a chic oasis overlooking downtown Los Angeles that locals and visitors alike rave about. Perched 11 stories above bustling South Broadway, The Nomad Rooftop provides a bird's eye perspective of LA’s dynamic urban core. Sharing a neighborhood with architectural gems like The Orpheum Theatre and The Bradbury Building, The Nomad embraced the area’s rich history while creating a contemporary yet comfortable ambiance.
Stone walls, hanging greenery and Moroccan-inspired light fixtures infuse exotic flavor. Plush furniture in soothing neutrals creates a luxe lounge vibe. The outdoor terrace features cabanas, fire pits perfect for gathering, and views of the LA skyline stretching to the Pacific. But it’s the stellar service and details like live music nightly that elevate the experience. As one recent visitor described it, “The Nomad Rooftop is an unexpected oasis with a glamorous vibe. Great views, music, cocktails - it transports you.”
Another big draw is the extensive craft cocktail menu utilizing fresh ingredients. Bartenders whip up unique creations like the hint-of-smoke Penicillin with Scotch and ginger-honey syrup. A thoughtful selection of wines and beers rounds out the offerings. Small plates like seared tuna lettuce cups, chicken satay and avocado toast satisfy cravings without weighing you down.
The relaxed yet energetic ambiance attracts an eclectic mix of creatives, couples, locals and out-of-towners. Well-heeled professionals sip cocktails after work as DJs spin lively beats. Groups of friends laugh and toast over a round of drinks. Designers sketch concepts in their notebooks as the sun sets over the city. Nomad Rooftop regulars cite the communal vibe, describing it as welcoming and inclusive compared to other rooftop scenes. A recent patron said “the crowd was diverse, the music funky, the views sublime.”
While reservations are recommended, walk-ins can usually snag a spot at the bar or comfy couches. Visitors describe the setting at night as “electric” with lights twinkling across LA’s skyscrapers. The heat lamps, lush greenery and flickering fire pits make the rooftop an appealing daytime escape too. On weekends, locals flock to the terrace to soak up sunshine and lingering views of the downtown landmarks.
Site highlights include glimpses of the LA River, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the terra cotta Eastern Columbia Building, and classic Art Deco towers. Watching the sunset is a popular pastime, reflecting rosé hues off the sleek glass high rises. As downtown transitions from day to night, the vibe shifts too, getting increasingly buzzy.
Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Formosa Cafe - Historic Hollywood Hangout
The Formosa Cafe stands as a living landmark from Hollywood’s Golden Age, transporting patrons back to the glamorous 1930s when stars like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall ruled the silver screen. This historic watering hole just off the Sunset Strip has served as a go-to haunt for generations of actors, directors, writers, and industry types looking to grab a drink in a setting dripping with Old Hollywood mystique.
From the classic neon signage to the red leather booths to the nostalgic black-and-white celebrity portraits lining the walls, everything at The Formosa captures the romance of vintage Los Angeles. For devotees of Hollywood’s formative era, visiting this time capsule provides a magical glimpse into Tinseltown’s storied past.
First opened in 1939, The Formosa Café was an instant hit with celebrities working at neighboring Warner Hollywood Studios. Legends like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Frank Sinatra all dropped in, cementing The Formosa as an iconic industry hangout. During Hollywood’s Golden Age heyday, aspiring young actors hustled to be seen at the “it” spot, hoping to get noticed by bigwigs.
Decades later, The Formosa endures as a beloved LA institution. In the 1990s, seminal LA bands like Guns N’ Roses and Red Hot Chili Peppers made it their regular hangout. Patrons today continue the tradition of grabbing a booth, ordering a stiff cocktail, and soaking in the glamorous vibes. From the dramatic red lighting to the tuxedo-clad servers, everything aims to transport you back to 1930s Hollywood.
Recent patrons rave about the “one-of-a-kind ambiance” and “palpable sense of history.” Visitors feel as if they’ve been dropped into a classic Hollywood film, with some describing the experience as both “surreal and magical.” Even the most casual movie fan can’t help but indulge their inner Hollywood fantasy.
The Formosa strikes the perfect balance between preserving its retro heritage while integrating subtle modern updates. Yes, the scarlet decor remains unchanged, but new owners injected fresh energy and expanded the menu beyond Chinese-American staples to include updated LA comfort food and craft cocktails. Devoted regulars say the revived Formosa still captures the unmistakable charm that makes it such a special LA treasure.
Key to the ongoing allure is the classic Hollywood photography documenting Tinseltown icons who have tipped a glass within the vaunted red booths over eight decades. Images of inter-war titans like Charlie Chaplin and Clark Gable mingling with 1980s shots of rocker Johnny Rotten underscore the venue’s enduring cultural influence.
Patrons note that even in the era of Instagrammable replicas, the Formosa remains utterly authentic and singular. As one recent visitor put it, “In a city filled with imitations trying to capture old Hollywood magic, the Formosa Cafe stands alone as the real deal.” Its longevity speaks to how lovingly LA locals guard their iconic landmarks.
Sip in Style: 14 Iconic L.A. Hotel Bars for Visitors and Locals to Live the Hollywood Life - The Bar at Musso & Frank Grill - Old School Hollywood Haven
The Bar at Musso & Frank Grill stands as a sanctified sanctuary of Old Hollywood, transporting patrons back to Tinseltown's formative era when legends like Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles held court within its hallowed walls. Opened in 1919, Musso's remains the oldest restaurant in Hollywood and the quintessential spot for an authentic glimpse into LA's storied past.
Beyond the rich history, Musso's has endured for over a century by epitomizing the consummate Hollywood hangout. The intimate, wood-paneled bar exudes an old school charm while delivering impeccable martinis and flawless service. Visitors gush over the authentic vibe, describing Musso's as the "antithesis of all the fabricated Hollywood-themed bars."
Recent patrons highlight the bar's "time capsule feel", emphasizing that Musso's makes no attempt to reinvent itself or pander to modern trends. From the red leather stools to the romantic chandeliers to the white-jacketed bartenders, Musso's retains its distinctive flair. As one longtime regular put it, "Musso's transports you to the Golden Age of Hollywood. The bar is beautifully preserved in its original glory."
Yet another delighted guest called the bar "steeped in nostalgia but not dated," citing thoughtful updates like an expanded wine list featuring local vineyards. Quality cuisine also remains paramount. Bartenders will happily bring items from the famed dining room menu like flaky ocean trout or hearty comfort fare. Visitors recommend the grilled lamb chops and chili-spiced fries.
Beyond the food and drink, the legendary patronage enhances Musso's time-travel effect.Charlie Chaplin had his own private booth, while fellow icons like Greta Garbo, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe mingled at the bar. The coveted corner booth was John Fante's preferred writing nook. Musso's pays homage to these legends and others with an impressive collection of autographed photos blanketing the walls.
Patrons delight at identifying which screen siren or novelist raised a glass in the very seat they're occupying. Recent guests emphasize this palpable sense of history as Musso's special allure, citing the "ghosts of Old Hollywood" that seem to linger at the bar. Others praise Musso's stately yet relaxed ambiance as the perfect place to indulge in great drinks and better conversation for hours on end.