Cheers: The Haute 5 Local Bars in Los Angeles

Sometimes the simplest requests can be the hardest to answer. For instance, where to get a drink. Oh sure, there are no shortage of places that serve alcohol, even offering a respectable selection. But where are the reliable,  time-tested classics that promise a fine frolic without a lot of bullion. Here are our five:

Polo Lounge

The trendy spots come and go, as they will, but the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge is eternal. The circa-’40s restaurant and bar has been updated, naturally, but the spirit has not. Here, veteran barmen mix spirits properly, and it’s hard to quibble about prices when tasty nibbles, and guaranteed stories from nearby stools, are always included.

The Beverly Hills Hotel is of course located at 9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills (310) 276-2251

Arroyo Chop House

While the Arroyo (pictured above) is well known as one of the enduring great places for Prime steaks in LA, for some reason reviews rarely mention its grand-scale classic bar, always packed with a good-looking, upscale crowd. Maybe I shoudn’t have said anything. Oops, just ignore me. Read on…

Arroyo Chop House is located at 536 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena (626) 577-7463


The San Fernando Valley is a challenging place to find a comfortable neighborhood spot not still stuck in the ’70s, which is why Firefly is so precious. Whether at a coveted spot in the library-like lounge, at the  convivial woody bar, or in the covered patio dining “room,” it’s hard not to feel at home here. But please, don’t put your feet up on the table.

Firefly is located at 11720 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City (818) 762-1833

Las Brisas

In bucolic Laguna Beach, locals swear by Las Brisas, the elegant tribute to the Mexican Riviera, whose fine food is well accompanied by a sturdy menu of margarita and martini varieties, as well as a respectable selection of sipping tequilas. Breathtaking view included.

Las Brisas is located at 361 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach (949) 497.5434

Citizen Smith

With indescribably enveloping design by Thomas Schoos, this Cahuenga corridor bistro is a tasteful respite from the usual Hollywood madness.

Citizen Smith is located at 1600 North Cahuenga Boulevard (323) 461-5001