The Drinking Guide to Highland Park

In the 100-plus years that Highland Park has been a part of Los Angeles, the neighborhood has seen many changes and spurred countless conversations. From sprawling arcade game parlors to intimate cocktail bars, the neighborhood’s bar scene is right in line with its reputation for trendsetting.

The following are some of our favorite spots to sample some hip and innovative—or comfortingly traditional—libations in this Eastside enclave.

The Hermosillo & Highland Park Brewery

The Hermosillo & Highland Park Brewery

Highland Park’s nightlife can be tracked through highly walkable clusters of businesses situated along York Boulevard and the perpendicular Figueroa corridor. On York, the Hermosillo reigns as a craft beer destination. The original home of Highland Park Brewery, this former nightclub was until this year the only place to find their coveted beers, which span the spectrum from European style Pilsners to out-there creations and some of the best West Coast IPAs in the country.

Feeling blue on Tiki Tuesday | Photo: Sonny's Hideaway, Facebook
Feeling blue on Tiki Tuesday | Photo: Sonny's Hideaway, Facebook

Sonny's Hideaway

One of the first new-wave cocktail joints to open up along York, Sonny’s Hideaway has persisted since 2013 by providing a vintage-Hollywood inspired atmosphere in which to sip the fruits of the 2000s cocktail revolution. Sonny’s is known for generous happy hours, a long-running “Tiki Tuesday” with weekly tropical specials, and offers a small menu of bar bites to go with your classic daiquiri or your pisco/Suze/peanut orgeat concoction.

Michelada at Block Party in Highland Park
Mmm... Michelada... | Photo: Block Party

Block Party

Just down the street from Sonny's Hideaway, Block Party takes the beer-and-shovelboard combination to the next level. Do not be fooled by the somewhat austere interior decor, once you step out onto the enormous back patio it is all beer garden-meets-summer camp vibe. A playground for beer nerds seeking activity, the bar’s massive tap selection serves as a social lubricant for shovelboard and Nintendo Wii games. Block Party proudly proclaims its stance as “an environment that allows for you to experience that life is awesome and anything is possible.”

Bar and video games at Barcade Los Angeles
Barcade Los Angeles | Photo: @my.designerlife, Instagram

Barcade LA

On the continuing drinks-plus-games theme, Barcade Los Angeles opened in May 2019, serving booze and nostalgia to arcade gamers and ex-Brooklynites. The self-proclaimed largest arcade bar in America offers a large craft beer selection and a whimsical cocktail menu including the pineapple Daiquiri-riff “Rainbow Islands” that promises drinkers will “encounter the formidable beings of legend and folklore!” Bar fare is similarly awash with fun and kitsch—Flamin’ Hot Cheetos wrap and all—and it might be best to raise a glass, grab a fistful of quarters, and enjoy the ride.

The Offbeat

If you tire of the of house-made, hand-crafted, and time-consuming drinks of contemporary cocktail bars, The Offbeat on York is the loud, easy dive bar you are looking for. A favorite of weeknight locals and Occidental (“Oxy”) students, this is the spot for a beer and a shot, and weekly drag performances, 80s dance parties, and copious DJs.


Gin No Juice cocktail at Hippo in Highland Park
Gin No Juice at Hippo: Mulholland Distilling & Moletto Gins, basil eau de vie, Italicus, Amaro Angeleno | Photo:, Instagram


Hippo is part of the Figueroa Street triple threat that includes Triple Beam Pizza and Highland Park Wine Shop, and has become an area standout for both food and drinks. It is the creation of a hospitality conclave consisting of James Beard award-winning chef Matt Molina, wine director David Rosoff, and industry heavyweights from Everson Royce Bar and Silverlake Wine, with Clare Ward crafting the culinary-inspired seasonal cocktail menus. Watch for the rotating $10 cocktail menu, and enjoy the sustainably produced, organic or biodynamic wines selection.

Primary image for La Cuevita

La Cuevita

Formerly known as Little Cave, this revamped dive bar boasts a raucous atmosphere, plenty of agave spirits, and much-beloved free tacos on Tuesdays. Live music and DJs make frequent appearances, and the daily happy hours last until 9:00 p.m. If you are searching for an “Old World Mexican grotto” decorated for Dìa de los Muertos with a side of camp, this is your spot. Free tacos are a fierce draw, so be prepared for crowds. 

Sun Kissed Sky at Cafe Birdie in Highland Park
Sun Kissed Sky at Cafe Birdie: mezcal, blood orange, hibiscus, tamarind, sumac rim | Photo: @cafebirdiela, Instagram

Cafe Birdie

Cafe Birdie is the place to take a date you want to impress, but still relax and have fun. The “comforting and approachable” yet very classy dinner menu is accompanied by lively cocktails with ingredients like tepache, yuzu and lapsang souchong; and a wine list with some local and indie cred.

Good Housekeeping HLP

Good Housekeeping HLP

More focused imbibers can head through Cafe Birdie’s back door and up the patio stairs to a “secret” cocktail lounge, Good Housekeeping. The cocktail menu is representative of the cocktails themselves: pared down to three or four essential components, perfectly balanced. This is the next iteration of the speakeasy—all of the know-how with none of the pretension.

$1 oysters at ETA in Highland Park
$1 oysters every day at ETA till 7pm | Photo: @etahlp, Instagram


Fans of maximalist literature will recognize the Infinite Jest references in the bar’s name and menu, and these are just a hint of ETA’s many understated treasures. An unbeatable happy hour running seven days a week until 7:00 p.m.; clever, seasonal, themed cocktail menus with classics and re-imagined classics; and live jazz on Mondays take this erstwhile minimalist lounge to the next level.

Golden Hour at the Gold Line bar in Highland Park
Golden Hour at the Gold Line bar | Photo: @swankyyyy, Instagram

Gold Line

Named for the Metro line servicing the area, the Gold Line bar is on the cutting edge of the “hi-fi bar” trend, one of a handful of Japanese-inspired, vinyl record-stocked cocktail dens popping up all over the city. The creation of musician and label owner Peanut Butter Wolf, this moody bar houses a reported 7,500 records from Wolf’s own collection to keep the music spinning. The focus is on Japanese spirits and highballs in particular; watch for the Suntory highball machine.

Highland Park Bowl
Highland Park Bowl | Photo: Wonho Frank Lee

Highland Park Bowl

A living testament to the neighborhood’s grand architecture and vibrant history, this vast recreational drinking and dining space follows a contemporary LA tradition of positioning an elevated cocktail bar within a bowling alley. Find sophisticated drinks along with some of the city’s most beloved pizza, and bowl a few rounds amid the 1933 Group’s astonishing restoration of this neighborhood institution.

Slushy of the Week at Checker Hall in Highland Park
Slushy of the Week at Checker Hall | Photo: @checkerhall, Instagram

Checker Hall

This bar and restaurant attached to the popular music venue the Lodge Room boasts serious design points. Formerly a Masonic Temple, the space plays up on a retro vibe with an angled marble bar and tall booths for intimate conversations.  The “pan-Mediterranean” menu is complemented by a lively selection of tropical-leaning cocktails. If you are looking for an astonishingly cool night out, this could be your place.