This Seasoned Bartender Spills Where to Go for the Best Cocktails in LA

Shake Up Your Usual Bar Scene and Head to These LA Spots for Your Next Refreshing Cocktail

Photographed By: Charlie Chipman Best Cocktails Los Angeles
Illustrations By: Vicente Martí Solar

Name: Rebecca Carlson
Job Title: Bartender, BarBelle at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
Resident of: Santa Monica, CA
Local Living: 3 years


Ciao! Best Cocktails Los Angeles

La Vecchia Cucina is my favorite date night spot. Bartenders Scott and Kevin are masters at a vodka martini straight up and slightly dirty—a classic cocktail. After dinner, I love to indulge in their lemon hazelnut meringue with a double espresso and their housemade limoncello. This is a restaurant where you feel comfortable alone, on a date or with a crew of friends and family. Ask for Matt, Liz or Oliver, and Manager Tao will show you the way!


Retro Vintage Vibes

Basement Tavern has this speakeasy vibe that you just melt into. They have live music, and it’s one of the only bars in Santa Monica that stays open ‘til 2 a.m. Indulge in a whisky cocktail;  it’s the No. 1 bar seller of Buffalo Trace! I am a huge fan of the El Viejo—made with mescal, peated spray, agave and bitters. 


World-Class Best Cocktails Los Angeles

Gwen is an old-world European butcher shop and elegant restaurant. My husband and I came here for our one-year anniversary. We were greeted with complimentary champagne by one of the owners, Curtis Stone. Start with the housemade charcuterie.


It’s a Party!          Best Cocktails Los Angeles

Check out hotel bar Riviera 31 at Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Every Monday night, Ryan Cross and his band host “Jazz Eclectic,” featuring local and international musicians and singers. This place gets packed. The talent is incredible and one of the only clubs left in LA where people get dressed up to entertain or be entertained. A very classy joint!


Oldest Bar in Venice

I love Townhouse because it is a Venice bar through and through. Every city needs an old standard, and this is the spot. The first time I went, there was a comedy and burlesque show in the basement. I felt like it was 1920! There is a sticky old-world vibe that feels haunted (est.

1915) that keeps locals coming back. Order a bourbon “you call it.”


3 Places to Go in Los Angeles for a Refreshing Cocktail

1 | Lula Cocina Mexicana
2 | Chez Jay
3 | The Misfit Restaurant and Bar


2 Favorite Local Brands

1 | El Machete handcrafted hot sauce. Loews’ “Locals Only” cocktail is a margarita made with mango-pineapple-habanero hot sauce.
2 | Angel City Brewery. Loews Santa Monica offers my favorite IPA—a medium-bodied, copper-hued beer, brewed with the perfect amount of hops! It comes in a can so you get to enjoy the magical sound of opening it.


Love for Loews Best Cocktails Los Angeles

Our staff has been here for years. If you frequent any of the Loews hotels, you will always see a familiar face. We stay because we like it here, and when your staff is happy, guests are happy. It all comes full circle.


BarBelle at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
1700 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel

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