LA may not get a dusting of snow this season, but there are plenty rum-spiked drinks to make the winter feel downright joyful in the city’s top bars. Warm up and sip your seasonal cares away in 10 of LA’s most festive bars.Read More
LA’s Most Festive Bars for the Winter
Order up a rum cocktail and celebrate the season at these bars and restaurants.
1. No Vacancy
Talk about setting the mood. Tucked into a restored circa-1902 Victorian home, this Prohibition-style bar doesn’t miss a late-night beat, from the secret entrance to the burlesque shows. Decorative touches that go up around the holidays fit right into the dimly lit spot that’s all dark wood and leather banquettes. The carefully crafted cocktails from expert bartenders look like mini works of sippable art, but if you’re with a group, try the rum-based punch bowl.
This old-school Burbank restaurant and its new cocktail lounge The Green Room are part of the family-run Specialty Restaurants group. Start your own winter tradition at the Castaway — with its sweeping views of the San Fernando Valley and Downtown LA, the twinkling city creates its own light show — and order up some dry-aged beef and a cocktail, perhaps the festive Island in the Sky, made with BACARDÍ Superior, tropical juices, and seasonally on-point allspice.
3. Black Market Liquor Bar
Looking for elevated pub grub and inventive cocktails? This Studio City gastropub does not disappoint in either regard. Celebrity chef Antonia Lofaso works her magic in the kitchen, while mixology pros Pablo Moix and Steve Livigni are responsible for a cocktail menu of “fancy” and “really fancy” drinks, among them the Painkiller, a nutmeg-dusted concoction of rum, pineapple and orange juices, and coconut cream. But if you’re looking for an off-the-menu cocktail, order up the Jungle Bird, made with BACARDÍ 8.
4. Faith & Flower
There’s a feeling of grandeur in the soaring elegant space, outfitted with tufted banquettes, sparkling chandeliers, and an expansive bar. Known for tasteful decor, the Financial District spot gets you into the spirit with small plates the likes of Dungeness crab dip and wine-braised short ribs, which go down best with one of the bar’s creative drinks. If you’re lucky, the bartenders will be whipping up some homemade rum-spiked eggnog, or there’s the Playa Fortuna, a mix of BACARDÍ Superior, coconut cordial, falernum, lime, and tartaric acid. Go on Wednesday nights for the added ambiance of live jazz.
No matter what time of year you’re craving that classic roasted meat Christmas dinner, Clifton’s in Downtown LA is serving it up. Roast turkey, roast beef, ham, and brisket are all carved by hand to order at this city icon, which first opened in 1935 and recently reopened to much fanfare. Don’t let the giant fake redwood, 250-pound meteorite, or waterfall distract you from the drink menu at its Monarch bar. Go full LA in winter with the Golden Globe cocktail, a subtle mix of BACARDÍ Superior rum, yellow chartreuse, lime and pineapple juices, and orgeat syrup.
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6. Gladstones Restaurant
What’s more LA than celebrating the winter season while sitting outside on a deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean? That’s the draw of this beachside Malibu restaurant. Chow down on seasonal oysters, seafood towers, or land-lubber options while toasting the mild weather with a mojito or Blue Hawaiian, both enhanced by BACARDÍ Superior rum. Kids get special treatment here, with a few coin-operated rides and waiters schooled in the art of tin foil sculpture.
Come to Westlake Village for its stunning light display, and stay for drinks at Bogie’s at the Westlake Village Inn. Situated at the edge of the 17-acre resort dotted with lights, Bogie’s features entertainment several nights a week with live music and DJs. Warm up for a night of dancing with one of its rum-forward cocktails, such as the Flight of the Dragon, made with BACARDÍ Dragon Berry rum and Rekorderlig organic strawberry lime cider, and then cool down outside by a firepit.
8. La Descarga
Take a well-deserved vacation to Cuba without even leaving LA. That’s the idea behind this speakeasy-style Koreatown bar that’ll have you dropping all your seasonal stresses on the dance floor to live salsa music — often with burlesque accompaniment. Reserve well in advance to avoid the line (and dress to impress) and flit from the cigar room to the packed dance floor and to the bar for rum-based cocktails such as a mojito or daiquiri, or choose from a long list of rums from the world over.
9. Paradise Cove Beach Cafe
Dreaming of a winter vacation where you can sit on the beach all day sipping some fruity, rum-filled drink? This beachfront Malibu cafe has you covered. Dip your toes in the sand of a private beach cove as you sip a fresh boba rum drink, made with BACARDÍ rum, or slurp down a watermelon daiquiri. Make a day of it with a full menu of seafood and beachside classics and the added bonus of parking validation when you dine at the restaurant. Paradise Cove is a longtime filming location for Hollywood (everything from Gidget to Lethal Weapon 4 has been filmed here), and it’s not unusual to spot a star or two lounging about.
10. The Abbey Food & Bar
No matter the holiday, the Abbey is the place in WeHo to celebrate not having to wake up for work (or life) the next day. Drag queens, go-go dancers, and plenty of buff, scantily clad patrons are the norm at this energetic gay bar and restaurant. The holidays come early here — the Abbey hosts an annual Christmas in September toy drive to benefit Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles — and the giving spirit sticks around through January.