“The City Of Angels” is known for its sunny weather, it’s reputation as the center for the film industry in the United States, and its status as the biggest urban mecca of the West Coast. As you would expect from a city of its size and scope, Los Angeles is an excellent nightlife destination. There is so much to explore that it’s impossible to begin to cover without writing a book, but we’ll try to give you an overview.
Los Angeles is separated into many different neighborhoods encompassing its considerable sprawl. Each neighborhood has its own individual character, and the vibes in each area of LA can vary greatly. These sections include Hollywood, West Hollywood, North Hollywood, Cahuenga Boulevard, Long Beach, Hermosa Beach, Venice, Sunset Strip, Silver Lake/Echo Park, Culver City, Burbank, Van Nuys, Hermosa Beach, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Downtown, Pasadena, and Malibu. The first step to immersing yourself in Los Angeles nightlife is to figure out what neighborhoods you want to explore. Some cater more to the hipster/artist set (Silver Lake/Echo Park, Venice), some to the upscale crowd (Beverly Hills, Malibu), and so on and so forth, so you will really want to pick your spots when visiting LA to get the best out of your experience.
Los Angeles has a rich musical history from rock to hip-hop to jazz, and it is no surprise that there are a plethora of excellent live music venues. If you are looking to catch some of your favorite national touring acts, check out the Hollywood Bowl, the Greek Theater, or the legendary Troubador. For smaller live music venues, check out long-time LA punk staple the Smell, the Blue Whale in Little Tokyo for live local and national jazz, or the Satellite, a favorite among the indie crowd in Echo Park/Silverlake.
As you would certainly expect, Los Angeles is a great clubbing destination. Johnny Depp’s Viper Room is a common hangout for young, hip actors and actresses and is a great “place to be seen” in Los Angeles. The Winston is another famous LA nightclub frequented by Hollywood producers and agents. The Hideout, Opera, Boulevard 3, and the Spider Room are other popular LA hotspots. Be advised; it may not be easy to get into some of the top Los Angeles nightclubs due to their exclusivity, but if you are able, it is quite worth it.
You may want to delve into the grittier side of Los Angeles and check out its dive bar scene. You should hit up the Frolic Room on Hollywood Boulevard (once a drinking haunt of the legendary Charles Bukowski) for a few drinks before heading out into the Hollywood nightlife. Frank N Hank in Koreatown is known for its eclectic mix of patrons, and for being a common destination for those just leaving a show at the nearby Wiltern Theatre. If you want to really get down with some grizzled locals, hit up King Eddy downtown (boasting the hilarious Cheers-referencing slogan “where nobody gives a shit about your name”), which has been open for over 120 years, making it the oldest bar in downtown LA.
The Beach Boys famously coined the phrase “I wish they all could be California girls,” and when leaving an LA strip club, you will likely find yourself thinking the same thing. There is no better anthem for LA strip club culture than the Motley Crue song “Girls, Girls, Girls” and it is said that the Seventh Veil (featuring two all-nude stages) inspired the tune, which should tell you all you need to know about this LA staple. Cheetah’s is a great choice if you if you are looking for tattooed, pierced alternative women rather than the standard assortment of dancers you might find at most gentlemen’s clubs (you also might want to try Crazy Girls). Jumbo’s Clown Room is the place to be if you want to see dancers who really know how to perform and not just get by on the merits of their assets, while Fantasy Island is one of the more edgy, semi-bizarre strip joints in the city, if that’s your thing. LA is a veritable paradise of strip clubs so if this is something you enjoy, we suggest you take a advantage of it during your Los Angeles stay.
As the hub of entertainment that Los Angeles is, it is no revelation that it would be home to some excellent comedy showcases. The Meltdown, located inside Meltdown Comics on Sunset is the place to be for local comedy aficionados, featuring top up-and-comers and national favorites alike. For the frugal among us, Holy Fuck at the Downtown Independent on S. Main is an excellent free comedy showcase happening every Tuesday, while for the non-frugal among us, the $25 ticket price for The Paul F. Tompkins Show at Largo at the Coronet on the third Saturday of each month is well worth it. The popular variety show features top-name comedians and musical acts of the likes of Andy Richter and Fiona Apple.
Whether you are looking to mingle among the Hollywood elite, experience underground Los Angeles locals culture, or visit one of the ambiguous hotspots where the two meet, nightlife options abound in the City Of Angels. Los Angeles may have more influence on US nightlife and entertainment culture than any other city, which makes it easily one of the top destinations for late-night fun in the country.