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Looking for less mainstream, but awesome bars in LA

I'm going on my first trip to LA (for business) with 3 other coworkers, and I'm trying to get a couple of options together. Looking for some less mainstream bars that only LA natives would know of. Not necessarily dive-y or a hole in the wall; I'm aiming for super cool, swanky, awesome cocktails, intimate... food would be bonus, but not a must.

Also, I'm trying to gather some options for great restaurants. One of our group wants to go to Bottega Louie, as it's her favorite so we've got that down. Two of us don't like sushi and generally aren't crazy about Asian. I love trying new things and am totally not picky.

We'll be staying at the Millenium Biltmore, walking distance from the office, and we won't mind venturing out at night but we'd like to stay pretty much downtown.

Any suggestions would be awesome! Thank you in advance to anyone who replies!

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  1. Its not downtown, but Oldfield's in Culver City is really cool. Chill vibe, wasn't a club like atmosphere, more of an old school feel.

    1. The Varnish....downtown LA. You really can't get any better, IMHO.

      4 Replies
      1. re: latindancer

        It just won TOTC best bar of America. That is about as mainstream (read: hipster) cocktail as it comes. There's quaint, and there's claustrophobic.

        For WeHo hotness and a view, Eveleigh. For a quainter Hollywood, The Pikey. For the latest/greatest, The Parish, DTLA.

        Unknown "super cool, swanky" bar with "awesome cocktails" does not exist in LA. As an alternative, you could chose awesome restaurant bars -- Hungry Cat, Jar, Lucques, and Providence all have very capable bar keeps.

          1. re: latindancer

            pikey has good food too, and is it next door to a samuel french bookstore, i thought i noticed it driving by the non-officially strip section of Sunset.

          2. re: TonyC

            <Unknown "super cool, swanky" bar with 'awesome cocktails" does not exist in LA.>

            Just a hunch...
            Subjective for sure, but I think what you find 'super cool' and what I find is 'super cool' might be miles apart.

        1. Border Grill downtown has some tasty cocktails.

          Folks speak highly of The Edison but I've never been.

          Chaya's bar (downtown) is fun and with great food and wine. I have not had their mixed drinks.

          You won't make it there (too far) but Sedthee Thai in Glendale has amazing drinks. Their elixir, with vodka, coconut liquor, fresh lemongrass and herbs is stunning - and I can't believe i can get it in Glendale!

          OH and the revamped coles is getting good marks for it's cocktails - go there for iconic fun : )

          How about The Standard's rooftop bar, for ubercool fun?

          http://www.standardhotels.com/downtow...

          http://www.yelp.com/biz/coles-los-ang...

          1. just as a general rule:
            << less mainstream bars that only LA natives would know of>>
            rarely serve
            << super cool, swanky, awesome cocktails>>

            not too many secrets around here. . . . .
            most of the time, when someplace really good opens, it is jammed by week 2.
            there is a lot of pent up demand for something awsome.

            also, re: bottega louie,
            the take of that place is decidely mixed,
            ANDit is far from being a place that is "less mainstream."

              1. re: ipsedixit

                smells like downers cow thanks to beef dip.

                1. re: TonyC

                  Well, with that description, who would go there?
                  I've never heard Cole's described like that and lots would disagree.

                  1. re: latindancer

                    I think the term "downer" better applies to TC's post and not any cow in question...

                    1. re: Servorg

                      for what it's worth, i liked the old Cole's better when it was a tadbit filthier and decrepit. and some of the regulars actually looked like they had been glued to their barstools.

                  2. re: TonyC

                    A couple of sazeracs and those downers will start smelling like roses.