LA Valentines Day

Where To Take a Date for a Drink in Los Angeles

If you’re looking for a memorable destination for date night, Los Angeles offers a plethora of options. Whether you want to stick to a simple evening at the bar, or you’re grabbing drinks before a show at one of the area’s outstanding theaters, these destinations are sure to provide a great experience. 

Lock & Key

Give your date an air of mystery and refinement, with an evening of distinctive drinks at Lock & Key. Plan to meet your date outside, as finding the establishment can be tricky for newcomers. Look for Stall 239’s food window, and you’ll find the entrance to Lock & Key just beside it. You’ll first encounter a perplexing entry where the walls are bedecked in an abundance of doorknobs. Your hostess can guide you to the appropriate entrance to this 1920s-themed bar.

Lock & Key certainly feels like a members-only speakeasy, and guests are expected to dress the part. The bar has a dress code that prohibits shorts, hoodies, graphic tee shirts, baseball caps, sandals, and flip-flops. Give your date a heads-up and dress to impress so you can make it past the entryway.

Inside, you’ll find an almost dizzying selection of drinks. There are plenty of original options on the menu to start an adventurous evening. Some savory vegetable flavors make their way into the Beets & Harmony, which features beet-soaked mezcal, radish, thyme falernum, lime, pear juice, and Aztec chocolate bitters. The Cindy Lou Who is a sugary-sweet vodka drink with notes of cranberry, almond, honey, apple, walnut, and lemon. The Shady Schemes cocktail features reposado tequila, apple, pineapple, and serrano for a flavorful drink that’s as intriguing as its name.

Location: 239 S. Vermont Ave.

Phone: 213-389-5625 


Part restaurant, part art gallery, Manuela is the perfect place for an inspired date night. Original artwork is featured throughout the dining space, adding unparalleled ambiance to the environment. You can find works by Paul McCarthy, Dieter Roth, Subodh Gupta, and others. Many of the pieces rotate, keeping the space fresh and intriguing.

The drink menu includes a small selection of beers that are as inspired as the space, with options like Stem Hibiscus Cider, Bohemia Clasica, Reissdorf Kolsch, and Stiegl Radler. Their wine list is far more extensive and includes wines by the bottle or the glass. The bottles range anywhere from $46 to $260 so you can celebrate in just the right style. Manuela also offers a selection of cocktails like the Winking Tiger featuring Mulholland whiskey, St. Germain liqueur, Schaner farms grapefruit, and lemon, or the Florida Man, which has blueberry-rested Silencio mezcal, Lo-Fi vermouth, lemon, and African basil.

If you’d like a small bite to go with your drink, Manuela offers several small plates that are made to share. These feature decadent delights like barbecued oysters, ocean trout tartare, smoked albacore dip, and cast iron cornbread. Consider splitting a dessert for a sweet touch to your date night. You’ll have several gourmet options to choose from, including burnt honey cake, flan, Key lime pie, and mango watermelon sorbet.

Location: 907 E. 3rd St.

Phone: 323-849-0480

71 Above

If you want to impress your date with breathtaking vistas from the heart of Los Angeles, you can’t do any better than 71 Above. Sitting atop the U.S. Bank Tower and soaring nearly 1,000 feet above ground level, this is the highest restaurant west of the Mississippi. From the bar, you’ll have sunset views gazing west toward the ocean. 

This bar serves a selection of signature cocktails named for Los Angeles neighborhoods so you and your date can whimsically drink around the town. The Hollywood has a refreshing kick with Jalapeño Grey Goose Vodka, Lillet Blanc, grapefruit cordial, and lime. The Palisades features tequila and bright citrus flavors, while the Downtown is a rich bourbon drink featuring Toasted Hazelnut Old Forester. You’ll also find a selection of craft beers, other cocktails and an extensive wine list. 

Location: 633 W. 5th St., 71st Floor

Phone: 213-71A-BOVE


Thunderbolt is a welcoming neighborhood cocktail bar that’s bright and airy. You won’t have to deal with dimly lit rooms or raucous crowds that you need to shout over, making this the perfect pick for a first date. It’s no surprise that this destination has garnered accolades like the Best Bar in Los Angeles from Time Out in 2021.

The cocktail menu features an assortment of original picks like the Tart Cherry Thunderbolt with cherries, mint, and a blend of rums, or the Fu’s Fortune that’s described as a liquid Taiwanese pineapple cake. You’ll also enjoy a full bar and selection of beer, wine, and cider. 

Location: 1263 W. Temple St.

Phone: 213-372-5099

The Varnish

The Varnish is a speakeasy-style bar discreetly located in the back of Cole’s dining room. Consider starting with a drink at Cole’s, as you can take your drinks into The Varnish provided you continue ordering cocktails from the bar inside. Get in the mood for Prohibition by ordering one of Cole’s specialty cocktails, such as their Cosmopolitan 1926. It’s a fruity martini that features gin, dry vermouth, lemon and raspberry flavors. Or try their Sidecar with VSOP brandy, curacao, and lemon.

In The Varnish, you’ll enjoy live jazz music on Sunday and Monday nights, creating the perfect atmosphere for a romantic evening. This bar specializes in classic cocktails, though beer, wine, cider, and champagne are on the menu as well. You can start with a specialty cocktail from the menu or simply go for the bartender’s choice. With more than a thousand recipes on hand, your bartender can craft something special that’s just to your taste. This is a great way to give your date the special attention they deserve.

Location: 118 E. 6th St.

Cole’s Phone: 213-622-4090

The Varnish Phone: 213-265-7089

Did we include your favorite LA bar on the list? If we’re missing an outstanding destination, contact our team at Capistrano Volkswagen and let us know. We want to have all the best recommendations for our customers when they’re driving off the lot.

Image via Unsplash by prince_perry