Top L.A. Spots for After-Work Drinks

Whether you’re waiting out traffic or meeting with a colleague, after-work drinks are a way of life in Los Angeles.

Need a new watering hole? Here are a few gems around town.

Meeting with friends to watch the game? Talking shop with the team? Looking to just hang out with a fun crowd? This Westside hotspot has you covered. Situated on Santa Monica Boulevard in the neighborhood of Little Osaka, aka, the Sawtelle District, Nickel Mine offers up craft beer and whisky flights with a side of sports on the big screen.

The bar offers a curated selection of cocktails. I recommend the Uptown Donkey, a refreshing Manhattan whisky mule. Having a girls night out? The Bison Punch is an Instagrammable blend of vodka, rosemary and blackberries. Nibbles include New York-style pizza, wings, garlic knots and salads.

Bison Punch
Bison Punch

Expect excellent service and a bar staff knowledgeable about the liquors they feature. The crowd is chill, so you won’t have to shout to be heard.

The front of the space is well-lit and airy, with large open windows — perfect for warm summer nights. The lounge area toward the back of the bar features reclaimed wood, leather armchairs and exposed brick, along with a small library and collection of board games. While the place is hopping, you won’t have a hard time a seat, plus there’s plenty of metered parking in the back.

For those of us who pull late nights or are natural night owls, this Santa Monica beachside bar doesn’t get hopping until about 10 p.m. Giving off a secluded beach club vibe, h.wood Group’s SHOREbar specializes in craft cocktails — the type that go down so easily that you might want to arrange for an Uber.

The bar is definitely a see-and-be-seen locale, so reserve table service if you want to sit down. The crowd ranges from locals in flip flops to girls in tight tops, all swaying to the beat of a DJ.

Many of the drinks feature tequila, which can also be replaced with a smoky mezcal should the mood strike you. I highly recommend the Members Only, with mezcal, Ancho Reyes liqueur, agave, bitters and grapefruit zest. If you like something with a bit of heat, the Spicy Siena is for you: tequila, jalapeño, basil, lime juice and agave.

If you like something with a bit of heat
If you like something with a bit of heat

For patrons who really want to make an impression, the bar offers membership, which provides access to the more subdued lounge upstairs, complete with sofas and storage lockers for personal bottles of wine or fine spirits.

Looking for a solid cocktail and a hearty meal? This bar, nestled on Ventura Boulevard, is an excellent respite from the Valley heat, with an awesome burger to boot.

This is the kind of place where you’ll want to pace yourself, so start with some lighter bites. I suggest the grilled street corn lollipops: a small cob served on a stick and served with a Tapatio lime aioli. The Woodman pub chips are also a great snack to share with the table.

Grilled street corn lollipops
Grilled street corn lollipops

Whether you’re in the mood for a craft cocktail or a satisfying IPA, the Woodman has you covered. The Campfire Punch is a nice blend of Wild Turkey Rye, bitters and smoked orange peel, while the Fire Wood spices things up with tequila, lime, jalapeño, cucumber and mint.

If you brought your appetite, go for the Wagyu Bacon Burger — a juicy combination of Kobe-style chuck topped with smoked gouda, provolone and cheddar, garlic aioli and, of course, bacon. While the menu is filled with other bar food delights, the Woodman does offer up a couple solid salads — the chicken kale and and blackened chicken cobb — for those looking to meet their veggie quotient.

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