With the Pacific Ocean on one side, and mountains on the other, the City of Angels is as geographically diverse as the sites and people who populate it.
The Griffith Park Observatory sits scenically in the Hollywood Hills. The Dodgers play in one of the oldest ballparks in baseball. Muscle beach sees strapping weightlifters and lithe roller-skaters alike fill the boardwalk. And all of the tourists who come to La La Land funnel through one of the busiest airports in the world: LAX – over which constellations of planes hang in the air.
But, once you’ve touched down in cinema’s most famous city, where should you be heading for that all-important night cap? The temperatures may be rising just enough for us to entertain a rooftop bar in Britain this week, but the sun always shines in LA — and those rooftops are always buzzing as a result.
Spire73, if you're looking for views
Sitting atop the tallest building in Los Angeles is Spire73. Although you get no points for guessing which floor this bar is on — the clue’s in the name — we would forgive you for feeling a little light-headed. Why? Because, above the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, this is the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere.
Expect breathtaking views of the entire city, spirited fire pits and a wide, wild selection of whiskies — each perfectly paired with culinary mini-dishes of the highest order.
What to order? We’d go for the Kumquat Old Fashioned, a neat spin on the classic drink using Hibiki Harmony whiskey, bitters, fresh kumquat, cane sugar and orange peel.
Upstairs at Ace Hotel, if you're looking to relax
Inspired by Hollywood’s hippest, hardest-to-find spot — Les Deux Cafes — this is an easier-to-locate alternative. The cool cherry on top of the even cooler Ace Hotel below, these are laid-back vibes at their most reclined. That’s just one of the reasons this bunker-like bar is GJ’s favourite haunt whenever we find ourselves stateside.
And any rooftop bar with a pool is alright by us — especially when it’s a chic concrete pool inspired by the minimalist work of Donald Judd.
What to order? There are palm trees about, so we’d opt for It’s A Dry Heat, a masterfully-mixed blend of rye whiskey, dry vermouth, pineapple and bitters — to bring island living to the city.
Upstairs at Ace Hotel
Skybar, if you're looking to party
Boasting some of the finest views of Los Angeles, Skybar is a glamorous open-air bar perched above the pool at Mondrian Los Angeles. The heart of the sunset strip, this bar turns into one of the best nightspots in LA once the sun sets, with carefully curated and perfectly pitched pool parties, and live music.
It’s a hub for celebrity spotting, too. Sylvester Stallone and Justin Bieber are just two of the few stars to enjoy the poolside oasis of flowering walls and nooks – Mojitos in hand.
What to order? Skybar serve up a mean mojito. It’s your usual blend of Bacardi Superior Rum, Fresh Lime Juice, Sugar, Club Soda and Mint, but mixed with panache and enjoyed in fine surroundings. Cheers.
Filifera, if you're looking for sophistication
Who knew that one of the only vantage points with views of the iconic Capitol Records building, Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory was also a trendy bar and restaurant? It’s like all your panoramic and gastronomic needs have been met in one fell swoop.
One of LA’s most bustling brunch venues, this is a bar almost a chic as its clientele. That means no rolling up to Filifera in jeans to do some serious day drinking; if you are to get leathered on the glass-walled terrace, please do so in loafers and designer sunglasses. Even that name sounds high class — Filifera…
What to order? It may sound — and look — a little fruity, but the Penthouse Passion has to be one of the most innovative uses of bourbon we’ve ever sipped. Pairing this typically-cowboyish, rooting-tooting spirit with the delicate lemon, passion fruit and chickpea-based Aquafaba was a masterstroke. And a delicious one at that.
The Roof on Wilshire, if you're looking to end your day on a high
As exciting and vibrant as the Boutique Kimpton Hotel below it, The Roof on Wilshere is the perfect place to end up after an exhausting day of exploring L.A. Why? In our opinion, the reasons are threefold.
Firstly, where better find a bar than on the Miracle Mile — a stretch between LA and Beverly Hills. Second up, there’s a pool by which you can perch and soak your aching feet. And thirdly — most importantly, we add — is the drinks menu, with everything from twists on classics to a slew of innovative mules.
What to order? The Cue Southside. With a relatively tame blend of gin or vodka, cucumber, mint and lime juice, it may sound a little underwhelming. But just wait until the blazing Californian sun is beating down on you — because this cocktail is refreshing like no other.
The Roof on Wilshire
Wrong side of the pond? Here are three of the best eateries in London instead — and they’re all in the same building…