Best Nightlife in Los Angeles 2022

Star-studded, picturesque, and full of glamor, there are few cities as booming as Los Angeles. Known for its iconic Hollywood hills, pristine beaches, and youthful crowd, this is a city wherein nightlife is the only life. If there’s a place to party, it’s in Los Angeles, whether you’re looking to dance the night away, run into a celebrity, celebrate in style, or sip refined cocktails in a luxurious lounge. From massive house music venues to rooftops with stunning views, here’s a list of some of the hottest nightlife spots in Los Angeles.

Academy

Best club for house music

If you’re into EDM, Academy should be your first stop. This massive venue is a party lover’s safe haven, complete with an expansive dance floor, laser-lit ceilings, and A-list musicians and DJs like Excision and Bassrush. In fact, the owners of Academy are the same brains behind the iconic Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC). So, expect a top-of-the-line sound system, head-shaking bass, and a crowd that stays energized until the sun starts to come up. Academy also sports a more laid-back outdoor patio with string lights and patio tables. Parking is cash only, and you might want to RSVP for free to an event on the club’s website, where you can also request a VIP table.

Avalon

Best club for dancing

Avalon is smack in the middle of Hollywood, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists. First opened almost a century ago, this iconic venue epitomizes all that Hollywood is: flashy, loud, entertaining, and a little bit wild. Like the rest of high-end LA architecture, this club is sprawling, with a DJ booth and dance floor upstairs in addition to a large stage and dance floor downstairs. From headliner DJs and artists to exotic dance shows and emo-themed nights, there’s always something big going on at Avalon. As such, you’ll want to purchase tickets, a VIP table, or both to ensure that you get in and have a good time, although tickets are also sold at the door. Likewise, take heed of the dress code and leave your beach wear at home.

Exchange

Best club for large groups

There is no shortage of quality nightclubs in Los Angeles, all with stellar sound systems, top-tier DJs, lively crowds, and good drinks. Exchange sets itself apart from the rest with four spacious floors, six full-service bars, a huge stage, VIP booths, and, as the business itself boasts, more bathrooms than any other club in Los Angeles. Located on South Spring Street, Exchange is nestled in the heart of LA, and as such, it’s a prime location for events. Exchange has space for large private events, but its weekend shows always attract huge crowds of partiers eager to dance – we’d suggest wearing closed-toe shoes to avoid trampling your pedicure. You can expect high energy, packed dance floors, and costly drinks at Exchange. Visit their website to plan your trip to this club, as you’ll likely want to get tickets or a VIP table beforehand.

Warwick

Best high-end club

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Los Angeles is home to most celebrities we know of, and many locals are accustomed to casually seeing famous people while running their daily errands. For out-of-towners, however, a celebrity sighting is something of a ritual, and tracking them down is like a tourist’s sport. While there are numerous establishments that celebrities are known to frequent, Warwick is one of the most well-known. An upscale nightclub, Warwick is vast and sports a stunning interior, complete with glamorous chandeliers, floral arrangements, and plush sofas. It’s not necessarily the place to go for a dance-crazy night. Although they have quality DJs, it’s ideal for a classier, intimate evening, especially if you reserve one of many VIP table service booths.

Precinct

Best LGBTQ club

Amongst many other distinctions, Los Angeles is a city known for its vibrant gay community, and the nightlife in Los Angeles is no exception. From Hollywood to Downtown Los Angeles, rowdy LGBTQ-friendly bars with enthusiastic crowds and dance floors will give any fun-seeker FOMO. At Precinct, you can attend weekend-long drag shows, daytime drag-themed brunch (with plenty of vegan food options), gay trivia nights, go-go dance competitions, and performances from headliners including Adam Levine and Katya Zamolodchikova. This newer spot opened in 2015, and LA locals and tourists alike have found much to love about it. With two floors, lots of colorful lights, and plenty of space for wild Saturday night dance parties, this LGBTQ bar is an all-around good time.

The Varnish

Best speakeasy

In a city as crowded and talked-about as Los Angeles, it’s hard to keep a secret. However, speakeasies exist, and the Varnish isn’t totally out of the bag. Located discreetly at the back of Cole’s Sandwiches on East Sixth, this swanky spot is everything you’d expect from a speakeasy: dark, sexy interior, elegant cocktails, and curated jazz playlists. Guests enjoy live jazz music performances multiple nights a week at the Varnish. This clandestine spot is a Los Angeles pioneer in the upscale art of mixology. They offer drinks that are so visually stunning they could function as table centerpieces. And passionate and knowledgeable bartenders are regularly trusted to make their drink of choice for guests rather than offer bar menus. For a refined, elegant evening, don your finest cocktail attire and slide into a leather booth at the Varnish. If you’re heading over on the weekend, be prepared for a potentially long wait.

The Rooftop at Mama Shelter

Best rooftop bar

Day or night, a rooftop bar is a dream when the view is of Los Angeles. Perched atop the pink neon-lit Mama Shelter hotel and restaurant is the Mama Shelter Rooftop Bar, both a day-drinking dream location and a picturesque place to enjoy dinner, drinks, and games. An Instagrammable bar if there ever was one, everything here is colorful and bright, including the eclectic young crowd you’ll find sprawled on rainbow-striped patio couches, playing friendly games of foosball and taking in the view of the Hollywood sign. The food at this sun-bathed spot is raved-about, from gourmet burgers to divine charcuterie boards, and their cocktails don’t disappoint. This popular spot is walk-in only and is on the pricier side. Located a block away from Hollywood Boulevard, there may be minimal parking available nearby, so plan accordingly.

Edendale

Best happy hour

While there’s no shortage of stellar happy hours throughout Los Angeles, it’s hard to find those that are late-night or actually fun. At Edendale, you can enjoy happy hour Mondays from five to ten or from Tuesday through Friday from five to seven. Expect $7 well drinks, $9 glasses of wine, beers around $5, and yummy bar bites for less than $10. One of the more popular happy hour options is a $12 deal for a glass of rosé and a heaping plate of fries. How fun is that? This sprawling spot used to be a firehouse, so its outdoor patio and interior are reasonably spacious, making it an ideal spot for day drinking on a nice day. Edendale is also famous for there fairly-priced bottomless brunch. Edendale is a perfect spot to bring the crew for an inexpensive weeknight fiesta or a fun day in the sun.

The Peppermint Club

Best bar for live music

Some fairly fancy places are among the star-studded Los Angeles nightclubs. The Peppermint Club oozes exclusivity and class – even its name feels like that of a posh secret society. This dimly-lit lounge is ‘60s-themed, with groovy orange lights, funky patterned carpets, and a round, elevated stage remnant of the time. As such, guests come here expecting and receiving high-end live music performances from various genres. Drinks are named after music venues but expect them to run a bit pricy. Bottle service and VIP tables are available for reservations, which might be the only way to ensure you get a seat in this intimate space.

Frolic Room

Best dive bar

There are tons of booming nightclubs in Los Angeles, plenty of sleek lounges, and dive bars wherever you go. Los Angeles is a big city, so every dive bar offers something a little different. Frolic Room is just about as divey as a dive bar can get — there’s free popcorn and even a cigarette machine. At Frolic Room, you can expect an eclectic mix of a crowd you may not find elsewhere in Hollywood. This iconic, intimate spot has been in business since the 1930s, sporting big, colorful lights and a lot of Hollywood-themed decor that doesn’t really match. The crowd here is a total mix, but just about everyone is simply trying to have a good time. Expect friendly crowds, super low prices, and a chill, fun time.

Bootsy Bellows

Best for girls' night out

Everything at Bootsy Bellows is pink or sparkly. It’s a chic, glamorously-decorated lounge that was made to emulate Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs home – hence, the palm trees and the ‘40s-era decor. It’s a spacious spot known for its array of quality live performances from top-notch DJs, artists, dancers, and even puppeteers. Open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, it’s common to see A-listers partying at this chic club, and many host parties here after big events like the Superbowl. With large, velvety booths, the VIP service here is no joke and might be a smart option for larger groups since the line to get in is always notoriously long.