Pasadena is one of California’s better-kept secrets.
The City of Roses is among Los Angeles County’s largest and most populated cities. It is host to the Rose Bowl and the Tournament of Roses, and it is home to the California Institute of Technology, a world-renowned school.
If you’re visiting Pasadena, you’re likely to see many of these sights—but you’ll likely need somewhere to cool off afterwards.
The following list contains the best bars in Pasadena, from The Blind Donkey to The Otis Bar.
The Blind Donkey
53 Union St, Pasadena, CA 91103
Phone: (626) 486-2379
The Blind Donkey is a casual, rustic, tavern-style bar in Pasadena. It’s a dedicated wiskey and beer bar, so we enjoyed several whiskey cocktails, including the classic Old Fashioned and For What It’s Worth, a cocktail with Old Forester, Aperol, Benedictine, and lemon.
This bar also serves plenty of craft beers on tap, including several Belgian beers that we got to enjoy like Delirium Tremens and Orval Trappist Ale.
The Blind Donkey is located in Old Pasadena, and it’s just a short distance away from the Foothill Freeway. Nearby you can find the Pasadena Convention Center and the Pasadena Museum of History right across the freeway.
492 S Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101
Phone: (626) 584-1126
Magnolia House is an upscale bar and eatery with a 100-year history (and a business casual dress code). We relished the craft beer menu that included such favorites as Allagash White and Pizza Port California, and we ordered some cocktails to boot.
I recommend the Mexican Firing Squad, a blend of tequila, grenadine, lime, angostura, and soda water.
You can find Magnolia House right next to the California Institute of Technology. It’s just a short walk away from top-rated restaurants The Arbour and Nick’s Pasadena, and you can tour the gorgeous campus when you’ve finished your drinks!
1886 Bar at The Raymond
1250 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone: (626) 441 3136
The Raymond is a well-known craft cocktail bar that has earned significant acclaim internationally. The cocktail list includes over 600 off-menu cocktails, and the bartenders will make anything you want.
We also enjoyed Eel River Amber Ale and Cali Creamin’ Vanilla Cream Ale.
You’ll find 1886 bar at The Raymond inside of The Raymond restaurant. The restaurant is located between Oak Knoll and South Pasadena. Afterward, we went to the Arlington Garden—a gorgeous botanical garden—and Allendale Park for a short stroll, and it was lovely.
270 S Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101
Phone: (626) 360-7633
Granville is a top-rated restaurant and cocktail bar on Lake Avenue. It’s no-frills, so there was no need to dress up. We ordered the California Love, a delicious cocktail made with gray whale gin, melon, cucumber, and citrus—and a chamomile sour that truly took the cake.
You’ll find Granville right next to Magnolia House near the California Institute of Technology. Consider following in my footsteps and taking a short walk through the campus—it’s well worth it.
Additionally, you can check out the nearby museums, including the Norton Simon Museum and the Pasadena Museum of Natural History.
Congregation Ale House Pasadena Chapter
300 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone: (626) 403-2337
Congregation Ale House is a brewery and restaurant located in a historic church. The setting is as luxe as it sounds, and this bar offers such favorites as Saison Deux beer and Trinity Triple Saison.
Congregation Ale House is located right next to a lovely park. The bar is sandwiched between Bellefontaine and Madison Heights, both of which are beautiful neighborhoods, and it’s just a short walk from Arlington Garden.
T. Boyle’s Tavern
37 N Catalina Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106
Phone: (626) 578-0957
T. Boyle’s Tavern is a casual sports bar where you can watch all of the local games! We ordered fish tacos and perused the extensive beer selection, and the whole experience was top-notch.
T. Boyle’s Tavern is situated right off of East Colorado Boulevard and Foothill Freeway.
It’s a short walk from Grant Park and right near the Robinson Stadium. We walked to nearby historic Route 66 to take pictures, which I highly recommend.
Monopole by WineRx
21 S El Molino Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101
Phone: (626) 577-9463
Monopole by WineRx is a local wine store bar that features many of the best wines—from Napa Valley to Italy. We attended a sommelier-led class on red wines and enjoyed multiple free tastings.
We also left with a selection of Napa Valley wines that lasted us the whole trip!
Keep in mind that Monopole is relatively upscale, so it merits business casual dress.
Monopole by WineRX is located right off of Historic Route 66. It’s near the USC Pacific Asian Museum, which was well worth the visit, and numerous hotels like the Hilton and the Westin.
93 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone: (626) 683-0808
Dog Haus is a restaurant and beer garden located off of Green Street in Pasadena.
This bar offers delicious traditional German food and a craft beer list that includes lagers, blonde ales, hefeweizen, IPAs, amber ale, porters, and more!
You’ll find Dog Haus off of Historic Route 66 near the Pasadena Convention Center. From there, it’s a short drive to the city’s best museums, including Kidspace, the Pasadena Museum of History, and the Wrigley Mansion.
The Otis Bar
260 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone: (626) 356-4444
The Otis is a restaurant and bar located in a former tailor shop. It offers outstanding service and quaint, retro decor—and a wine and beer list to rival the very best.
Make sure to try their many creative, culinary cocktails—the Bloody Mary is a 10/10.
You’ll find the Otis Bar adjacent to Central Park, a local park that was designed to look like New York’s Central Park. It’s a short walk to nearby thrift stores in the fashion district and Route 66.