Los Angeles is full of diverse night life, ranging from upscale A-lister lounges to kitschy dive bars to hidden speakeasies. Really, no matter what you like surrounding you while you sip your drink, the City of Angels has you covered. But if you’re tired of hitting up the same old place with your friends post work every Friday, why not shake up your after hours game just a bit? For the adventurous drinker, themed bars provide an unusual setting, with decor, cocktails, and atmosphere that’ll whisk you away from the city to somewhere completely new and eye-opening. Discover some incredible and unusual places by drinking in these seven cool themed bars around Los Angeles.
1. Now BoardingTheme: Vintage Flying/Airport Bar
Why it’s Awesome: No one actually likes being in an airport, but this place ultimately takes you on a flight back in time to the golden age of flying. With booths showcasing smooth first class airline style seats, an “In Flight Drink” menu complete with safety instructions, and vintage flight maps adorning the walls, this bar really encompasses the whole “vintage airline” theme and makes you wish the aviation-themed drinks were an option on your next flight. Now Boarding takes its theme seriously, with even the bartenders and waitresses dressing up as pilots and flight attendants. Definitely a West Hollywood gem—land here if you want the illusion of taking a sweet escape without going through the treacherous lines at LAX.
Fun Fact: If you’re in a large party, consider getting the Suitcase Punch Service, which serves up to 10 drinkers for $75. Yep, you read that right: a suitcase full of booze—AKA every travelers’ dream.
2. Eighty TwoTheme: Bar and Arcade, also known as a Barcade
Why it’s Awesome: Brush up on those Galaga skills—this place is a classic arcade with a full service bar and a rotating collection of 45 restored arcade and pinball games. What’s better than nostalgically playing a few of your favorite childhood arcade games with a fancy arcade-themed cocktail in hand? Not much, we’re guessing. Oh, and if you don’t want to spend more than fifteen minutes waiting in line just to play Duck Hunt, then consider going on a weekday night, since weekends can get pretty crowded.
Fun Fact: EightyTwo proudly hosts a Pinball League Tournament every Tuesday night, so stop on by if you want to test out your pinball wizardry.Theme: 1970’s
Why it’s Awesome: Enter through a refrigerator to get into this awesome ’70s themed bar and grille. This place goes all out in pure 1970’s fashion, from the DJ’s playing classic rock, to go-go dancers roller skating away, to the funky ’70s decor and patio—honestly, it’ll feel like partying with the Brady Bunch, which is just awesome. A great place for some movin’ and groovin’, it can definitely get a little sweaty, so cool off with a boozy snow cone from their trailer bar. This spot is definitely not lying in their title: it is always a good time at Davey Waynes.
Fun Fact: This establishment was created by the Houston Hospitality Brothers, who are basically the kings of LA’s themed bars (and practically take over this list.) They built Good Times at Davey Waynes as a tribute to their father David Wayne Houston, and to all who have lost their dads.
4. Breakroom 86Theme: 1980’s Karaoke Bar
Why it’s Awesome: Not feeling the 70s? Then head over to the next decade at Breakroom 86. Another fantastic establishment created by the Houston Brothers, this place offers a similar speakeasy-like entrance where you’ll find yourself at a disguised door of the underground club (we’ll save the surprise of what that door looks like to check out yourself) after a long trek through what seems like the back hallways of the Line Hotel’s kitchen. Just like other Houston Hospitality joints, this place takes pride in their extensively-detailed decor, such as records and cassette tapes adorning the walls and red lockers surrounding the lounge area. Their menu is in a VHS case (remember those?) and offer unique drinks like a Rock-It Pop (named after Herbie Hancock). Wednesday nights are fantastic to hit up this joint, since they have a live band jamming out your favorite ’80s hits. So, basically, put on your dancing shoes and get ready to rock out ’80s style.
Fun Fact: Walk through the phone booth to find the hidden karaoke booth! Most rooms require an advanced reservation, so be sure to call in early to reserve a room.
5. The EdisonTheme: 1920’s Industrial/Steampunk
Why it’s Awesome: If Gatsby lived in this decade, he would bypass his own parties and hit up The Edison. Considered “Living History in Downtown Los Angeles,” The Edison is a 1920’s themed lounge and bar located in the Historic Higgins building in LA. What once used to be LA’s own private power plant is now renovated to provide its visitors with nights of live music, burlesque performances, and a stunning array of craft cocktails. Enjoy the glitz and glamour of old fashioned Hollywood by entering in from the alleyway and walking down a fleet of stairs to the lounge, where you’ll be transported immediately to a dazzling Roaring Twenties night of jazz and liquor. This establishment has quite the swanky dress code, so be sure to dress to the nines if you’re planning on swinging by.
Fun Fact: Try to spot the Green Fairy fleeting about after 10 PM, and she’ll give you a small bottle of Absinthe!Theme: Pirates
Why It’s Awesome: Ahoy, mateys! Redwood Bar & Grille is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in a scene from Pirates of The Caribbean. The dark, tavern-y atmosphere completes the nautical pirate theme, with pirate ship keepsakes, skull and crossbones merchandise, and glamorous mermaids on the walls. In addition to its fun theme, the bar also boasts live music every night. It’s definitely off the beaten path of old Los Angeles, but worth landing ship here. Because when you get a chance to ask, “Where’s the rum gone?”, you really can’t pass it up. Drink up me heartys, yo ho!
Fun Fact: This bar was featured in the office party karaoke scene of the the indie flick 500 Days of Summer, featuring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.
7. Tiki-TiTheme: South Seas/Tiki Lounge
Why it’s Awesome: If you want to get away to a more tropical place, then Tiki-Ti is definitely the spot to hit up. A small, but bustling and historical establishment that opened in 1961, Tiki-Ti has maintained a reputation as being the ultimate tiki lounge in LA. Though it’s a bit cozy inside, the large tropical drink menu surely makes up for the lack of space, with 94 specialty tropical drinks for visitors to try with names like Uga Booga, Blood and Sand, and classic Mai Tais. Don’t try to order beer or wine though as it’s not on the menu. A trip to the Tiki-Ti is like stopping in Hawaii for a night and indulging in the lax atmosphere with a drink in hand.
Fun Fact: Since 1961, The Tiki-Ti got away with allowing its visitors to smoke indoors because the bar didn’t have official employees—it was run completely by the Buhen family. However, the bar recently converted to no-smoking indoors as of February 2015, though smokers are still allowed outside.
Originally posted March 26, 2016. Updated September 8, 2017.
[Featured Image via the Now Boarding official Facebook site]