Whatever Your Valentine's Mood, There's An LA Bar For You
Valentine's Day is one of the few holidays that compels people to get out of the house — except when it doesn't. Unromantic? Lazy? Cheap? Whether you love, hate or feel indifferent about February 14th, we have a Los Angeles bar that'll track with your personal brand.
If You're Recently Coupled And Still Want The Benefit Of Dim Lighting
Everyone looks glowy and good at post-Prohibition cocktail bar Melrose Umbrella Co. thanks to the soft candlelight bouncing off the wood and white brick walls. Squeeze into a booth with your honey in the crowded main room or head to the back patio for a quieter vibe — although the DJ starts at 10 p.m., which will rev things up. V-Day drinks include My One & Only with vodka, sweet vermouth, white creme de cacao, rose water and raspberry and the Smoking Wreck, a combo of anejo tequila, smoked bourbon, amaro, agave nectar and habanero.
7465 Melrose Ave., Fairfax. 323-951-0709.
Since craft cocktail bar Normandie Club took over the back bar formerly known as the Walker Inn, you'll find more dark corners and booths. Slip into one of them and gaze into your looooooooooover's face, illuminated by a single tealight. Come between 6 and 8 p.m. for $8 happy hour martinis, Moscow Mules and Old Fashioneds.
3612 W 6th St., Koreatown. 213-263-2709.
If You're Trying To Get With Someone And Want To Look Classy
Pick any corner in the gorgeously restored Formosa Cafe, order a martini and instantly look as classy as a George Hurrell black-and-white portrait. To score bonus points with your date, snag the booth made famous by the movie L.A. Confidential, which depicted Lana Turner hanging out with her gangster boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato. The silver screen star was a Formosa regular back in the day.
7156 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. 323-850-1009.
If You're Trying To Get With Someone And Want To Look Edgy
Dreamy synth-pop out of a David Lynch film and an intimate bar packed with artists, fashionistas and sleeksters set the scene at Pinky's. Record producer/multi-instrumentalist Johnny Jewel (Chromatics, Glass Candy) rarely DJs but on Feb. 14, he'll step behind the turntables at the upscale tropical bar while the beautiful people imbibe cocktails like the First Date Chartreuse Swizzle, the Second Date Boulevardier and the Third Date mezcal and bubbles. What does that menu say about the trajectory of a budding relationship? You decide.
1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. 323-763-0351.
If You're Single And Want Someone (Anyone) To Make You Feel Less Alone For A Night
You can't go wrong with a dance party thrown at popular singles bar the Bungalow, especially when it's hosted by female-friendly dating app Bumble. Flash the app at the bar and you'll be rewarded with either a free Queen Bee cocktail, made with vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit juice and sparkling moscato, or a glass of sparkling moscato on its own.
101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. 310-899-8530.
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If You're Single And Truly DGAF About Valentine's Day
What better refuge from manufactured romance than a bikini bar? There's no danger of encountering saccharine sentiments at Jumbo's Clown Room where you'll find talented, limber, tattooed performers and the barflies who love them. The Thai Town institution only accepts cash so bring a fat wallet to tip the dancers. They work hard for their money (so hard for it, honey) and they do it while wearing some of the tallest heels known to humanity.
5153 Hollywood Blvd., Thai Town. 323-666-1187.
If You're Single And Just Pretending You DGAF About Valentine's Day
Even though karaoke bar Boardwalk 11's website says it's the place for a perfect romantic evening, the joint doesn't plan to celebrate the holiday aside from a few pink and red balloons, maybe. Boardwalk 11 has been around for 18 years i.e. longer than most relationships. Soloists and duos can take to the stage to belt out Etta James' "At Last" or Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive." With a thick songbook and an extensive craft beer selection, including 32 beers on tap, everyone will step off the stage feeling warm and fuzzy.
10433 National Blvd., West L.A. 310-837-5245.
If You're Married And Want To Feel Less Boring But Also Want To Be In Bed by 10 P.M.
How's this for a date night? Sip posh cocktails and share bites at uber-hot Arts District bar Death & Co. It won't be crazy packed for V-Day as the bar offers two-hour, reservation-only seatings (at 6 and 8:45 p.m.). Vegan and non-vegan bites will be paired with cocktails or non-alcoholic beverages. Perhaps madame would care for a Buko Gimlet with a roasted beet salad? After, continue drinking in the Standing Room, which is open to the public all night, or in the Marquee Bar, which is private until the second seating's conclusion. Tickets cost $225 per couple.
810 E. 3rd St., downtown L.A.
For the holiday, Los Feliz's Big Bar celebrates perfect pairings. No, not Meghan and Harry. Think delicious duos such as a gin martini with a burger, a lemongrass gimlet with crying tiger lettuce wraps or a rye Manhattan with a Godiva chocolate cake. Order whatever your heart desires because it's all à la carte.
1929 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz. 323-644-0100.
Indulge in cocktail and chocolate pairings at sexy gin joint Genever. The three offerings ($19 each) pair Marti Chocolatt handmade chocolates with cocktails inspired by famous lovers or love stories. A Josephine and Napoleon cognac cocktail is served alongside hazelnut chocolate, while a bubbly Sappho gin cocktail comes with champagne and rose chocolate.
3123 Beverly Blvd., Historic Filipinotown. 213-908-5693.
If Your Friends Are Your Valentines
A night of tequila, mezcal and tacos is never a bad idea but Lanea has the good stuff with a curated agave list and tacos made by one of the best in the city, Barba Kush, known for its lamb barbacoa. Tickets for the event, which start at $40 per person, include chips, guac, handmade tacos and a flight of three tequilas and mezcals. For those who want to go all out, there are nine potential upgrades, ranging from $10 to $180. There's even a flight of pechuga mezcal (when the liquor is redistilled with a raw chicken breast) for an additional $30. A DJ spins Top 40 tunes all night.
217 Broadway, Santa Monica. 424-265-7437.
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If You're Newly Single And Bitter About It
Heal thyself at the Breakup Bar's Wall of Broken Relationships where attendees can add angry notes to their exes. The popup, located next to Severance Wine Bar, returns for a second year, this time with a chocolate fountain, a champagne bar and cocktails like "I Dealt With Your Parents for Years." (That one's a double, right?) The event is booked for Valentine's Day but is saving space for walk-ins. Or there are still openings on Galentine's Day and Saturday, February 15.
7276 Melrose Ave., Fairfax. 323-879-9067.
It's a night of cocktails and catharsis at Ever Bar, the watering hole in the Kimpton's Everly Hotel. The lovelorn have a chance to shred old love letters and photos of S(h)e Who Shall Not Be Named. Let's hope the paper shredder doesn't overheat. Afterward, you get a free well shot. The singles' soiree runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and features drink specials and a live band.
1800 Argyle Ave., Hollywood. 213-279-3532.
Get red-hot, flaming closure and a complimentary cocktail at Pacifique. The day after V-Day (February 15), bring in a photo of your dumb, jerky ex (we're not going to ask why you still have so many) and the bartender will hand over a complimentary cocktail then torch stupidface's picture. Stick around and enjoy $5 specialty cocktails.
631 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood. 310-359-0788.