Best of L.A.: 23 Extra-Stunning Restos & Bars

[UPDATE: This story was originally published on November 12.]
As Angelenos, we spend a lot of time outdoors. The weather is just so damn nice that it takes a good cajoling (or the promise of stiff martinis a-flowing!) to tempt us inside. On the occasion that we actually do head indoors for dining, heavy swilling, or both — you better believe it's for good reason.
So, with wide eyes and empty stomachs, we set out to discover the best spots in SoCal to sit back, relax, and take in the inspiring interiors and drop-dead gorgeous ambiance whilst noshing. From the boudoir circus ruckus of One-Eyed Gypsy to the kitschy quirk of the SLS Hotel, we present to you 23 of L.A.’s flossiest spots—all guaranteed to make you a regular.
Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Wearstler
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Il Cielo
While its name references the heavens, Il Cielo screams glamour and romance, which shouldn’t be surprising considering it remains a popular L.A. wedding venue. But, we suggest you swing by for dinner and head to the outdoor patio to take in the perfectly overgrown ivy and glittering lights. Or, seek out a table indoors, which is painstakingly embellished with mirrored decorum and an immense attention to detail throughout. Not to be outshined by frills, the Italian cuisine is the definition of divine dining.
Il Cielo, 9018 Burton Way (at North Wetherly Drive); 310-276-9990.

Another Notable:
The Phoenix, 14 La Cienega Boulevard (near Wilshire Boulevard); 310-289-5925.

Photo: Via Il Cielo
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Reservations are a must at this legendary Santa Monica eatery, where the Hollywood elite dine and the everyday folk know one of the unspoken rules is to keep it cool. Previously well-known for its foie gras, alas, this romantic French-fare outpost still slays with its seafood — don’t miss the mussels, the dessert, or the otherworldliness of the buttoned-up ambiance.
Mélisse, 1104 Wilshire Boulevard (at 11th Street); 310-395-0881.

Photo: Via Mélisse
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Boasting walls textured with vintage-decor items, reclaimed wood, and antique pulleys, Industriel's urban farmhouse aesthetic is cozy and very culinary focused. Once inside, you won't be surprised to learn that each day begins with a trip to the local farmers' market (plus, food presented in mason jars adorned with twine only stresses the point). This place manages to keep it real, though, and we swear you’ll kick yourself if you skip dessert.
Industriel, 609 South Grand Avenue (at West 6th Street); 213-488-8020.

Another Notable:
Sassafras, 1233 North Vine Street (at La Mirada Avenue); 323-467-2800.

Photo: Via Industriel
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Hotel Figueroa
Many know Hotel Figueroa as the must-book place for an Eastern-inspired soirée and as a 'lax spot to sneak in a dip when The Standard’s pool is too packed. With an ornate Moroccan motif, Hotel Fig maintains a subtle nod to L.A.'s glory days, and is truly a gem in the heart of DTLA. Now the secret’s out!
Hotel Figueroa, 939 South Figueroa Street (at West Olympic Boulevard ); 213-627-8971.

Photo: Via Hotel Figueroa
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Tres by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills
Seductive and modern, the grounds of the SLS hotel are worth a walkabout, if only to take in the eye-catching details from designer Philippe Starck's latest lounge. Go ahead: Grab a cocktail, get lost in the surreal, Alice in Wonderland vibe, then settle in at the communal table for a fittingly fun evening of superb see-and-be-seen people watching.
Tres by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, 465 South La Cienega Boulevard (at San Vicente Boulevard); 310-247-0400.

Another Notable:
The Edison, 108 West 2nd Street, #101 (near South Main Street); 213-613-0000.

Photo: Courtesy of the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills
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One-Eyed Gypsy
Sexy, irreverent, and perfectly boudoir, the Arts District’s latest watering hole from the folks behind Villians Tavern is exactly the kind of place you’ll want to wile away an evening with friends. Grab a whisky and a beer, then spend hours toggling back and forth between taking in the live musical acts and challenging friends and strangers alike to gratis skee-ball. And, don’t even think about leaving without a photobooth sojourn.
One-Eyed Gypsy, 901 E 1st Street (at North Vignes Street); 626-340-3529.

Photographed by Shawna Sellmeyer
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Seven Grand
Up the dark staircase past Mas Malo lies Seven Grand, where connoisseurs of fine whiskey (of all varieties!), work and play in a masculine, dimly lit atmosphere adorned with loads of antlers. For optimum enjoyment, it's best to visit this increasingly popular downtown spot on school nights.
Seven Grand, 515 West 7th Street, 2nd Floor (between South Olive and South Main streets); 213-614-0737.

Another Notable:
Library Bar, 630 West 6th Street #116A (near South Hope Street); 213-614-0053.

Photo: Via Seven Grand
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True to its moniker, Salvage keeps true to its DTLA locale by embracing design elements that reflect the bygone era of its address. Think vintage '20s fixtures, doors, panels, and windows, all painstakingly preserved and updated. The result is an atmosphere that is at once polished but also casual, a vibe worthy of spending a few hours — and a few dollars — within its confines.
Salvage, 717 West 7th Street (between South Flower Street and South Grand Avenue); 213-688-7755.

Photo: Via Salvage
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Now-legendary chef Roy Choi’s urban-rustic cabin serves up burgers with the best of them, all with his signature Korean twist, plus A+ cocktails and sensory-exploding side dishes, not the least of which includes Furikake popcorn. It’s mess-hall style, which means its got a serious casual air, perfect for late nights when using a fork feels like way too much effort.
A-Frame, 12565 Washington Boulevard (at Wasatch Avenue); 310-398-7700.

Another Notable:
Good Luck Bar, 1514 Hillhurst Avenue (at Hollywood Boulevard); 323-666-3524.

Photo: Via A-Frame
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The Penthouse at The Huntley
Although incredibly chi-chi, this place is uber inviting — not exclusive. Boasting priceless views of the Santa Monica coastline, visitors will appreciate this spot’s nosebleed top-story bar, super-chic Penthouse resto, and pitch-perfect martinis. Come with a date, and we promise you'll leave very happy.
The Penthouse at The Huntley, 1111 2nd Street (at California Avenue); 310-394-5454.

Photo: Via The Huntley
11 of 16
Villains Tavern
Arguably one of the best bars to host a birthday, Villains boasts a rotating roster of top-notch bluegrass Americana bands six days a week. Order up the founder's favorite, the Fatal Hour, carefully crafted from rye whiskey, chili bitters, and cherry syrup, and take in a set from the in-house band, the L.A. Hootenanny (you may recognize 'em from our 30 Under 30 shindig), a country band fronted by True Blood actor Todd Lowe.
Villains Tavern,1356 Palmetto (at South Santa Fe Avenue); 213-613-0766.

Photo: Via Villains Tavern
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Avalon Hotel
Stepping into the Avalon is to be enveloped in a cool poolside oasis. Reminiscent of Mid Century Palm Springs, the Avalon’s resto, Oliverio, dishes up the freshest Italian nosh inspired by the culinary exploits of Milan. Don’t want to spoil your appetite for martinis? Sip alfresco on any given evening just to take in the Kelly Wearstler-curated view.
Avalon Hotel, 9400 W Olympic Blvd (at South Canon Drive); 310-277-5221.

Another Notable:
Whist Restaurant at The Viceroy, 1819 Ocean Avenue (near Pico Boulevard); 310-260-7511.

Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Wearstler
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After the artisanal cocktails, Eveleigh’s biggest draw is its indoor-slash-outdoor appeal. Reminiscent of the chicest urban treehouse imaginable, take a seat at the round bar that stakes claim front and center with fellow patrons, or, head to the back of the sprawling space for treetop views and a proper meal with friends. Either way, go tapas — you won’t be sad you did.
Eveleigh, 8752 Sunset Boulevard (at Palm Avenue); 424-239-1630.

Photo: Via Eveleigh
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Cafe La Bohème
Seductive enough for a hot date, but unpretentious enough for a good time with friends, the transformed La Bohème (as of 2007, that is — still no spring chicken), charms the pants off patrons with an alluring abundance by way of fireplaces, candlelight, and sparkling chandeliers. Don’t miss happy hour, or the chance to impress out-of-town guests with a killer two-fer: dinner and a show.
Cafe La Bohème, 8400 Santa Monica Boulevard (at North Orlando Avenue); 323-848-2360.

Another Notable:
Las Perlas, 107 East 6th Street (between South Main and South Los Angeles streets); 213-988-8355.

Photo: Via Cafe La Bohème
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Church & State
Nestled in the old loading dock of the original Nabisco Building, travel in time to Hemingway's Paris at Church & State, where strings of bistro lights hang from vaulted ceilings, and brick walls, smoky mirrors, and an open kitchen create a distinctly European feel. Along with your cheese and charcuterie, we advise you to order The Hemingway, a cocktail crafted from Matusalem Platino Rum, Luxardo, lime, and grapefruit.
Church & State, 1850 Industrial Street (at Mateo Street); 213-405-1434.

Photographed by Hailley Howard
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Bow and Truss
If you have yet to hit up the NoHo Arts District, let Bow and Truss be your intro to the eclectic hood. Once there, make a beeline for the spacious, brick patio and order up some Latin-inspired cuisine, which pairs suspiciously well with the bevy of craft beers on tap. On chillier nights, head indoors and grab a seat at the bar — perfect for taking in the gorgeous industrial space and sharing a few dishes amongst friends.
Bow And Truss, 11122 Magnolia Boulevard (at Blakeslee Avenue); 818-985-8787.

Photo: Via Bow and Truss

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