Dear Caroline on Crack: Cool Bars in Two Days?

— by Caroline on Crack

Orange Blossom cocktail and view

Dear Caroline on Crack,

My day job [in Seattle] is bringing me down to L.A. this Wednesday and I was hoping you — as the person from LAist (not to mention your own blog) who writes most fluently about nightlife — might be able to recommend some places or neighborhoods where I and my co-worker friends can escape our co-worker non-friends-you-just-get-a-polite-nod for a cool Wednesday and/or Thursday night. We’d probably be most interested in a strip or area with a variety of places to check out, probably not dance clubs, and generally wanting to avoid cover charges unless there’s something seriously good going on. We’re in town for BEA and mostly are publishing people, so we like our drinking. Our hotel’s down by the Staples Center, but we’ve got rental cars, so we can get around more or less. None of us know anything or any one in L.A., so any advice would be fantastic.

Thanks in advance,

Sleepless and a Seattlest

Hey there, Sleepless!

I feel flattered and hopefully you’ll like these bars. I picked ’em in areas that are sorta close to your home base downtown and they’re close enough to each other so you can walk or take a taxi as the case may be.

There’s the Hollywood area, specifically the Cahuenga Corridor (from Hollywood to Sunset), and I’m not talking clubby, Paris Hilton digs but rather bars with no covers and pretty laid back. In this area you’ll find Velvet Margarita Cantina (looks like Goth meets Tarantino Mexican restaurant; great margarita selection), Big Wangs (loud sports bar), Hungry Cat (freshly juiced cocktails), The Bowery (great beer and wine selection and full bar — NY feel), Tiny’s KO (rock n’ roll bar — one of my faves) and there’s also The Well (dark with comfy booths — nice place to wind down the night). You can pretty much walk around here. Just park at the ArcLight if you can’t find street parking (usually difficult).

Downtown is where you really need a car since bars are more spread out and I don’t think you’ll want to be caught walking around in the PM. You can check out the poolside Veranda Bar at the Figueroa Hotel (up the street from Staples), Elevate Lounge (great view but get there before 10; not as crazy about the drinks — order them from Takami next door — or the occasional attitude tho, but that view!), Edison (they put on a cool show on Wednesday nights and if you get there before 8pm it’s only a $10 cover as opposed to $20), the pirate-themed Redwood Bar & Grill (an LAist fave) and the Library Bar (great for the beer connoisseur) which is near the Standard Hotel (Standard on the Roof, mind the overpriced cocktails tho).

_In the Los Feliz and Silverlake area, pretty laidback and hip, there are a bunch of my favorite bars: The Good Luck Bar, Tiki Ti, The Griffin, The Bigfoot Lodge and the Cha Cha Lounge. There’s also the Medusa Lounge, which I still have yet to check out but it sounds cool.

Here are Google maps of my 2007 picks and my 2008 picks. Hope that helps!