Posts

Best Nightlife Spots in Ktown LA

The secret is out – Koreatown runs LA’s nightlife. Looking for the best nightclubs and bars in Ktown? Whether you’re trying to sip at a high end cocktail bar, get ratchet on the dance floor, or take shots of soju while chain-smoking, you’ll always find the kind of drinking spot you didn’t even know you needed tonight. But if you go in unprepared, it’s easy to get overwhelmed – and even worse, head home after first round.

So instead of spending another Saturday night wandering around 6th street, read this guide to the top 5 places to go out in K-town and know exactly where you’re headed this weekend. Or tonight.

Terra Cotta (Restaurant/Bar/Club)

Terra Cotta is the newest restaurant venture from 6th Avenue restaurant group. Their menu draws inspiration on a global scale (incorporating not only Korean elements, but also Japanese, Latin American, and other regional influences)—a direction representative of the melting pot that is Los Angeles. They have a thoughtful selection of scratch house made cocktails, as well as 24 craft draught beers, and a broad and global wine program, offering something for everyone. The expansive interior offers touches of vintage glamour, such as 20-foot-high ceilings dotted with chandeliers, and grand tufted matte black booths.

Terra Cotta is open as a restaurant / bar on all nights, and open as a club with a DJ on Fridays and Saturday nights.

Upcoming events at Terra Cotta

Mama Lion (Restaurant/Bar/Club)

Pinkies up, ladies and gents. Owner Robert Kim and chef/partner Michael Hung’s glamorous new Koreatown restaurant, Mama Lion, has officially opened its doors, adding yet another key player to the neighborhood’s thriving culinary scene (Terra Cotta and Here’s Looking at You opened just last year, and don’t even get us started on the always-buzzing Korean BBQ hot spots). This glitzy new supper club, located on the corner of Western Avenue and 6th Street, is making a serious statement with stunning, high-concept interiors and an impressive, upscale menu.

From seared froie grois and caviar service (yes, you read that correctly) to uni tostadas and apricot soufflés, the seasoned chef is serving up a little taste of luxury that’ll pair perfectly with the range of craft cocktails prepped by Aiden Demarest of the Spare Room, Seven Grand among other high-end cocktail bars in L.A. Also on our radar? Truffled white bean hummus with crispy flat bread, hamachi tartare with Asian pears and Korean chilis, and a 28-day, dry-aged prime New York steak.

Mama lion is open as a bar / restaurants all nights of the week. On certain nights there will be live music performances – Fridays and Saturday nights are the “club” nights.

Upcoming events at Mama Lion

Break Room 86 (Bar/Lounge/Club)

Enter through the loading dock off Ardmore then walk through an employee entrance. From there, you’re directed down a grey, glossy-walled hallway past the hotel kitchens and ice machines. The end of your destination is what was originally designed as the hotel employee break room, now transformed into L.A.’s newest ’80s bar – Breakroom 86.

Like most Houston Hospitality properties, there is an element of surprise to the entrance. We won’t ruin it for you. 

Once inside, you’re in an underground New York dance club from the ’80s. There are old stacked TVs playing “Garfield,” “The Ghostbusters” and “Rainbow Brite” highlighting the dance floor, a DJ booth with a special area for friends — and a wall completely covered in tapes. 

Upcoming events at Break Room 86

Lock & Key (Bar/Lounge)

Following in the speakeasy trend set by the likes of the Varnish and La Descarga, this Koreatown lounge—a low-ceiling, white marble and green-leather banquettes set the “Caesars Club” vibe, perhaps a nod to the former karaoke inhabitant. As expected, the entrance is unmarked: A stylish red door leads to a theatrically disorienting wall of doorknobs and keyholes. Once inside Lock and Key, there’s a small selection of beer and wine—four bottled beers (IPA, Lager, Brown Ale, Triple) and six wines by-the-glass (bubbly, white, rose and red)—but the cocktail program is front and center. Fresh herbs, fruits, simple syrups and torches set the stage for well-made, craft cocktails prepared by attentive and friendly bartenders donning classic white collared shirts and black vests. There’s a limited late-night, food menu from the next door Stall 239—try the Lollipop Chicken Wings and not-so-date-friendly garlic fries.

Upcoming events at Lock & Key

Arena Ktown (Club)

Arena Ktown is a nightclub, bar, and lounge with a fully operational kitchen & 7 karaoke rooms located in the heart of Ktown Los Angeles. Fridays and Saturdays are 21+ and over Hip Hop and R&B nights, while Thursdays will be for collegiate 18+ events with Hip Hop and R&B music. The venue can also be used as a special events music venue, private parties, corporate functions and pop up dining.

Arena recently expanded operations up to the Bay – you’ll find the party bumping every Thurs, Fri, and Sat at Arena SF.

Come ready to get turnt up – inscribed near the entrance in bright neon lights – DO IT FOR THE RATCHETZ.

Upcoming events at Arena Ktown

Best Beergardens in Los Angeles

Sure, L.A. may not have grilled fish on sticks as they famously do in Munich, but the spirit of Oktoberfest is in effect year-round at these rowdy beer gardens and beer bars. Stop in for some suds, some pretzels and maybe a wurst or two to embrace the German way of life. From a beer hall in Pasadena to a lively bar in Santa Monica, we’re raising our glasses to the best beer gardens in the city. Raise a stein and get your fill of wurst and schnitzel at the best beer gardens in Los Angeles. Prost!

Ashland Hill – Santa Monica

Generous pours, unabashed comfort food, and a block from the beach: That’s Ashland Hill, a Santa Monica Cheers in the making. Anchoring the old Wildflour Pizza space on Main Street is a sprawling, pet-friendly back patio. At picnic tables blanketed in twinkling lights, patrons graze on pork belly tacos and crispy truffled cheese curds between sips of international vino and serious high-alcohol brews. The 20-tap lineup at this beer garden-wine bar hybrid includes 9-percent Belgian tripels, Mexican lager and Central Coast wines—plus another 14 bottles of red, white and bubbly. Ample space, friendly servers and plenty of heat lamps to go around make Ashland Hill no-fuss, al fresco boozing at its finest.

Biergarten – Ktown

L.A.-raised Neil Kwon took a cue from the biergartens of Berlin and Munich in bringing craft beer to Koreatown in 2010. His beer hall, Biergarten, views Germany through a Korean prism. Platters of brats are dished up alongside Korean fried chicken, kimchi short rib fried rice and burgers both American and international—try the spicy Chosun with kimchi and pickled daikon or a fried chicken sandwich with grilled pineapple and salsa verde. The beer list combines Old World ales like malty Spaten Optimator with West Coast IPAs like Bear Republic Racer 5, none of which appear in yard-long glasses served at kitschier neighbors. The space also touts flat screens that draw UFC and sports fans.

Red Lion Tavern – Silver Lake

A beer stein-shaped sign greets visitors to the divey street-side bar, but it’s all about the back patio at this Silver Lake institution, a fixture since 1959. Current owner Aidas Mattis and his family still maintain the Bavarian connection with imagery of the Berlin bear and a 3-D mural of old-school, beer-toasting Germans and wall-mounted promotional tins from classic German breweries like Warsteiner and Bitburger, also served on tap. Schnitzel and sausage are series regulars at Red Lion, as are Oktoberfest celebrations that occur throughout the month.

Wurstküche – DTLA

Cousins Tyler Wilson and Joseph Pitruzzelli have the uncanny ability to transform a triangular space into a Wurstküche, contemporary “sausage kitchen,” each one outfitted in industrial, geometric furniture—crafted by Pitruzzelli himself—and a DJ booth. The cousins’ crew will gladly grill sausages like Polish-style Kielbasa or more adventurous Rattlesnake & Rabbit to pair with a “groot” worth of skin-on frites. In case you didn’t know, that amounts to a lot of fries. Wurstküche primarily pours Belgian and German beers from (surprisingly) brand-free tap handles. Try the notoriously tart Duchesse de Bourgogne or sweet Aventinus Eisbock that packs a punch.

Standard Biergarten – Downtown LA

The weekend pool parties are legendary, but the Standard Downtown has managed to carve out a corner of their rooftop for Bavaria’s sake. Pretzels, wursts and strudels are availabe from a wagon that resides at the other end of the Astroturf, and a small bar pours traditional German beers. Fichus trees frame yellow patio furniture but don’t block the prized views of surrounding Downtown. Between bites and sips, try your hand at a couple of the games within the beer garden, like ping pong or foosball.

Wirtshaus – Mid City / Wilshire

Wear your lederhosen to this Mid-City beer garden, where an extensive selection of German brews are served up alongside traditional German fare like schnitzel, sausages and homemade pretzels. Grab a seat at the bar or at a communal table on the dog-friendly patio and sample over 35 beers—if beer isn’t your thing, there’s wine on hand, as well as a ping-pong table and flat screen TV. And, of course, Oktoberfest festivities are an annual occurrence, and include live music, food and drink specials, and a ceremonial first tap.

Dog Haus Biergarten – Pasadena

Though the Dog Haus menu reads like a drunken cookbook of street dogs and Denny’s breakfasts, the plump, flavorful hot dogs show more tact and restraint than their sloppy inspirations, thanks in part to the sweet, soft Hawaiian bread buns. Among the long list of dependably delectable dogs, burgers and brats, the Sooo Cali is the hot dog of choice, with its thick slices of avocado, crispy onions and spicy basil aioli. Out front, the beer garden boasts picnic benches and a communal vibe—a charming alternative to the sports bar-like interior; in either case the delightfully cheesy ’80s touches are inescapable, from the loud soundtrack (think Toto) to the menu (the Abe Froman, Scott Baioli).

Verdugo – Glassel Park

Ryan Sweeney, Brandon Bradford, Cherith Spicer and Kyle Bilowitz set Los Angeles abuzz when they opened Verdugo Bar in the Eastside’s Glassell Park, featuring only a sign that reads “Cocktails” to signal their presence. Their craft beer roster turned Verdugo Bar into a destination. Here, people seek their booths and curved wooden bar. Over the years, they’ve added a back patio that features communal seating and a wall of craft brewery tins. Food trucks often take up residence in the parking lot and game nights and weekend board games are in the weekly lineup. Verdugo holds an annual Oktoberfest party, complete with boot races, stein-holding competitions and prizes.

Rock and Brews – El Segundo

There are more than 10 locations of Rock and Brews around the country, but it all started in El Segundo with the very first rock-centric gastropub opening there in 2012. Diners and drinkers can choose to sit inside or outside—though if you’re here strictly for the beer, embrace the beer garden ambience on the patio (it’s dog-friendly!). The beer menu is a who’s-who of local breweries—Smog City, Ohana, King Harbor and Golden Road all made the cut—along with stellar nationwide brews. Dishes range from burgers to pizza to creamy mac and cheese. You know, comfort food at its finest.

Alpine Village – Torrance

The Alpine Village is home to Torrance’s annual Oktoberfest celebration, but for the rest of the year the Bavarian attraction hosts a restaurant (Alpine Steinhaus), bar and German market. Inside the restaurant, feast on sauerkraut, sausages and more traditional German food while listening to polka music and watching diners take a break from stuffing their bellies with food and beer to break a sweat polka dancing.

Der Wolfskopf – Pasadena

The name of this Pasadena beer hall doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but conversational German is not required for entry here. Brought to you by the same folks as The Surly Goat, Little Bear and the neighboring Blind Donkey, Der Wolfskopf has 15 German beers on tap bearing enough syllables and umlauts to twist your tongue well into the night. There are German-style beers from Oregon and California, as well Pasadena-based Craftsman Brewery. Overwhelmed? The friendly bar staff actually knows its stuff and will guide you in the right direction. Add a food menu with sausages, pretzels and schnitzel and a soon-to-be-opened outdoor beer garden, and this place ticks all the necessary boxes.