The Top Craft Beer Bars, Breweries and Restaurants in Los Angeles

Verdugo Bar | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Los Angeles, long the land of bottle service and green apple martinis, finally started catching up to speed on craft beer in the past several years. The higher quality wave started with bars, continued with a new crop of breweries, and is now washing over restaurants. Learn about 14 of our favorite places to drink craft beer in L.A. County.

Clay Harding at 38 Degrees | Photo by Joshua Lurie

38 Degrees Ale House & Grill

Call it counter-programming. The San Gabriel Valley is best known for Chinese food, but when Clay Harding, Chuck Fata, Mike Fata and Brian Sugita delivered this gastropub to downtown Alhambra in 2009, they had an instant hit on their hands. Harding helms the 38 Degrees craft beer program and he regularly rotates craft breweries from Southern California and beyond on to the venue’s 38 tap handles and bottle list. One of the best facets may be Harding’s Ultimate Flights, with four-beer flights organized stylistically, by guest brewery or theme, all created for the sake of variety and education. 38 Degrees has proven to be such a hit that Harding and partners have expanded to nearby Monrovia.

Ashland Hill | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Ashland Hill

Certified Cicerone® Luke Tabit teamed with Chef Bradley Miller and Fork n’ Awesome Hospitality Group on this quintessential California biergarten on Santa Monica’s Main Street. Order at the counter and either sit at a front bar with fashionable tile floors or on the sleek open-air back patio. In back, you’ll find herb-filled planters, wood walls and banquettes, strings of lights, and a mural of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall from The Big Sleep accompanying a quote from Raymond Chandler: "It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in." Tabit’s rotating selection of 16 Super Local, American Craft and International taps can be habit forming. So can comfort food, like Miller’s burger with red onion bacon jam, sharp white cheddar, paprika aioli and watercress.

Barbara's at the Brewery | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Barbara's at The Brewery

Erik Huig presides over this destination in a freeway-friendly Downtown artists colony that previously held Pabst Brewery. The space elevated features a sloped roof, comfortable booths, a pleasant patio shaded with umbrellas, and a welcoming bar with a blackboard menu. Huig regularly rotates 15 taps with kegs from breweries like Beachwood, The Bruery, Craftsman and El Segundo. The bottle selection also constantly changes. Food centers on comfort, primarily sandwiches, salads and pizzas.

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

Gabe Gordon and Lena Perelman planted a craft beer flag in Seal Beach back in 2007, and have established several innovations at their barbecue restaurant and beer destination, including a HopCam that streams current blackboard beer offerings online, and a futuristic looking “flux capacitor” that Gordon designed to regulate carbonation or nitrogen levels, temperature and pressure on each tap. Beachwood BBQ joined forces with award-winning homebrewer Julian Shrago on a Downtown Long Beach brewpub in 2011, offering a similar menu, plus a promenade-facing patio and a wide variety of house-brewed beers, many with punny names, including a Berliner Weisse called Tart Simpson and a milk stout named Udder Love. Down the block, Ryan Fields is currently aging Lambic-style and Gueuze-style beers to fuel the forthcoming Beachwood Blendery.

Boneyard Bistro Exterior
Boneyard Bistro  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Boneyard Bistro

Chef-owner Aaron Robins was already gathering craft beer kindling at Boneyard Bistro, the restaurant where he features wood-smoked meats and California influenced entrees. In 2011, he worked with bar manager Rory Snipes, late of Seattle’s Brouwer’s Café, to spread the craft beer fire into his brother's adjacent running store. Now Boneyard has the most impressive craft beer program in the San Fernando Valley, with 42 rotating draft beers and more than 100 bottles. Snipes organizes craft beers by style and lists tap offerings on wall hanging menu boards. Chef Robins also offers fun, beer-friendly bar bites like Kobe beef chili-filled donuts and double hickory smoked bacon sticks.

The Bottle Room | Photo by Joshua Lurie

The Bottle Room

Seasoned chef Tony Alcazar owns this ambitious gastropub with two firefighters. Located in Uptown Whittier, the space features brick walls, a comfortable covered patio, high-top tables and an L-shaped bar. The Bottle Room has one of the 562’s top beer programs, with 24 rotating handles devoted to breweries like Almanac, AleSmith and Craftsman. You’ll also find several dozen bottles and cans. The Bottle Room also hosts frequent brewmaster dinners and tap takeovers. To eat, The Bottle Room’s burgers are justifiably popular, and Alcazar’s flatbreads are fun, but you should also consider seasonal specials like Berkshire pork Bolognese and slow-braised short rib poutine.

The Daily Pint | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Daily Pint

For more than 25 years, Phil McGovern and his team constantly update 30 taps, 3 casks, and more than 100 bottles at this neighborhood bar near Santa Monica College. The Daily Pint also has one of L.A.’s best whiskey collections. The environment is casual and fun, with a worn wood bar, black cushioned stools, a pair of pool tables, shuffleboard, and the biggest sporting events showcased on eight screens of varying sizes. They even host events with California breweries like Coronado and Drake’s.

Eagle Rock Brewery beer bottles | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Eagle Rock Brewery

Jeremy Raub, father Steve and wife Ting Su launched Eagle Rock Brewery to end 2009 with beers that emphasize different core ingredients. Their Manifesto witbier focuses on wheat, Revolution is a hop accented IPA, and since-retired Solidarity is a black mild that emphasizes malt. ERB has become increasingly bold in their Glassell Park brewhouse by bumping up production, adding barrel aging and sours to their arsenal, and increasing programming. Regular events include Women’s Beer Forums with special guests, Hangin’ with Our Homies (where they team with “rad friends”) and Trivia Nights, with questions that don’t just gauge beer knowledge. They continue to host beer-friendly food trucks in their homey, high-design taproom. In Eagle Rock proper, Ting’s brother Jerry Su presides over Eagle Rock Brewery Public House, which currently arms eight taps with ERB brews and where Lee and Andrew Bakofsky will eventually brew small-batch beers.

Office Burger at Father's Office | Photo courtesy of Hella TJ, Flickr
Office Burger at Father's Office | Photo courtesy of Hella TJ, Flickr

Father's Office - Culver City

Sang Yoon was at the cutting edge of L.A.’s craft beer movement when the accomplished chef took over the barbershop-adjacent Father’s Office in 2000 along Santa Monica’s chic Montana Avenue. He quickly turned the neighborhood bar into a destination thanks to his gourmet burger, French fry-filled shopping carts, and delectable craft beer selection. However, Father’s Office became a victim of its success, since it was always so difficult to find a seat. When he expanded to Culver City’s Helms Bakery complex in 2008, Yoon remedied the supply/demand situation by creating a long bar with twin sets of 36 taps, plentiful communal tables on an upraised patio, and an increasingly sophisticated menu. With Father’s Office 2.0, he’s really captured Angelenos’ imaginations, and now, the establishment’s even situated alongside an Expo Line stop.

The Glendale Tap beer sign | Photo by Joshua Lurie

The Glendale Tap

Steve Skorupa and business partner Glyn Samuel built on the success of Timmy Nolan’s in Toluca Lake by opening a bar with vintage flair and 52 taps on an industrial stretch of Glendale. Samuel designed and built out the interior, which includes a pair of red pool tables, a long wood bar, cushioned banquettes, gas handles and rusted tools behind bird wire, vintage signs for Schlitz, Hamm's and Old Style. Skorupa joked about the building’s dark provenance, saying, “There were a couple stabbings inside. There was a drive-by outside." These days, The Glendale Tap is sitting pretty thanks to the rehabilitated décor, an increasingly stylish (and non-threatening) clientele and craft beer from SoCal breweries like Noble Ale Works, Cismontane and Ballast Point.

The Golden State | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Golden State

When The Golden State opened on a still-burgeoning stretch of Fairfax in early 2009, Jason Bernstein and business partner James Starr began showcasing key ingredients from California, and crafting a kick-ass burger. Bernstein now curates 12 taps with a keen eye for balance. The duo also carries Scoops ice cream, including one flavor – vanilla – that factors into a now notorious beef float that helped to launch the beer float trend in L.A. The concise food and beer menu is available in an airy glass-fronted space with wood tables, order-at-the-counter service, and a single flat-screen TV that’s often an afterthought for people who are more interested in catching up with similarly hip friends.

Highland Park Brewery Beer Flight
Beer flight at Highland Park Brewery  |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

The Hermosillo & Highland Park Brewery

Longtime Father’s Office manager Bob Kunz struck out on his own in 2014, opening the tiny seven-barrel Highland Park Brewery in back of The Hermosillo, a neighborhood craft beer bar from partners Ross Stephenson, Michael Blackman and Dustin Lancaster. Kunz experiments with “wacky microbes” and local ingredients to produce kegs and bottles like Bug Juice brown IPA, Sun-Soaked barrel-fermented Berlinerweisse, and Griffith J Griffith Imperial stout brewed with Atwater Village’s very own Trystero Coffee. Up front, The Hermosillo houses a serpentine wood bar with exposed rafters, curved tan booths, and an overhead projector displaying the available beers (many HPB).