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Oldest Bars in Los Angeles You Should Visit

If you’re planning a trip to the City of Angels, there are certain sights you can’t miss.

From Hollywood Boulevard to the Walk of Fame, Los Angeles’ many attractions make it one of the top destinations worldwide. 

Also, Los Angeles is riddled with a fascinating history from its many movies sets to its Western outposts. La-La Land also has some of the best bars around including the oldest bars in the area.

Consider my list of the oldest bars in Los Angeles to plan your boozy history tour. 


1432 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 395-1676
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Harvelle’s is less of a bar and more of a nightclub, so you’ll need to dress accordingly. Here, you can find some of the best music and poetry acts in the City of Dreams. 

The drink menu includes specialty cocktails like The Harvelle, with Rye Sazerac, and the Poison Martini. 

This bar is right on the Santa Monica beach, where you can visit the pier with one of the best carnivals. For a taste of California’s great outdoors, head over to Topanga National Park.

Ercoles 1101

1101 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Phone: (310) 372-1997
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Ercoles 1101 is among the oldest bars in Los Angeles and it’s pretty obvious. From its laid-back, divey atmosphere to the neon lights, this place is grounded firmly in LA history.

Enjoy a selection of local, imported, and microbrew beers, including my favorite, California Creamin’. This bar also has good drinks, including Ron Rico Rum and Christian Brothers Brandy.

Ercoles is located right on Manhattan Beach, so you can enjoy the water nearby or head to the world-famous Roundhouse Aquarium. 

Frolic Room

6245 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Phone: (323) 462-5890
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Frolic Room is one of LA’s premier cocktail bars. 

This establishment has been around since 1979 and offers a curated selection of cocktails, draft beers, wine, seltzers, and more.

There’s an antique jukebox, walls of celebrity photographs, and casual attire so you can head over for some tunes and dance comfortably.

This bar is right in the middle of Hollywood so you can visit nearby attractions like the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and the famous Walk of Fame.

Cole’s French Dip

118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Phone: (213) 599-7035
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Cole’s French Dip is a Los Angeles landmark known for their delicious French dip sandwiches and classic cocktails, which include the best Irish Whiskey coffee I’ve ever had. 

Cole’s also has a secret speakeasy in the back, so be sure to check it out. Attire is business casual.

Cole’s French Dip is in a seedier part of Los Angeles, but it’s an excellent locale to get to know how real Angelinos live.

Visit the nearby flower and fashion districts for a culturally immersive experience.

Formosa Café

7156 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046
Phone: (323) 850-1014
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Founded in 1925, the Formosa Cafe is among the oldest bars on this list.

With a unique, Asian-style decor and a delicious food menu, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening. They make excellent cocktails, including one of the best Rum Runners I’ve enjoyed.

Formosa Cafe is located on the world-famous Santa Monica Boulevard, where you can spot passing celebrities and gorgeous, expensive cars. The Hollywood Bowl is also relatively close by.

Townhouse Venice

52 Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Phone: (213) 465-0893
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Townhouse Venice is the oldest bar in Venice Beach. Founded in 1915, this vintage bar and former speakeasy serves classic cocktails in an old-world setting.

You can order bottle service except for cocktails, including Negronis, Palomas, and Old Fashioneds. Remember that you’ll need to dress appropriately (business casual). 

Venice Beach is one of the best places to visit. There’s plenty to see, from Muscle Beach and the Venice Hall of Fame to the famous skatepark where Lords of Dogtown was filmed.

Joe Jost’s

2803 E Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804
Phone: (562) 439-5446
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Founded in 1924, Joe Jost’s may very well be the oldest bar in Los Angeles.

It’s a casual, laid-back scene, so you can wear whatever you want, and Joe’s has some of the best beers on tap, including Bud, Coors, and Shiner. The food is also great, especially the eggs.

Joe Jost’s is located in Anaheim, so you can visit nearby Disneyland or check out the Museum of Latin American Art nearby. Long Beach is also a short distance away.

Big Dean’s OceanFront Café

1615 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 393-2666
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Big Dean’s is a sports bar on the beach so that you can walk in a bathing suit! 

They offer excellent food and drinks, including classics on draft like Pacifico, Goose Island, Santa Monica, and Longboard Lager.

I typically order the Hazy LA IPA but IPAs aren’t for everyone.

Big Dean’s is located right on the Santa Monica pier, where you can find a carnival with rides and a Ferris wheel.

It’s also a short distance from Venice Beach and Ocean Park.

The Mint

6010 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (323) 954-9400
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The Mint is one of the best live music venues in Los Angeles. This venue has a retro vibe and requires club attire for entry.

You’ll need to pay a $20 food/beverage minimum per person at the tables, but drinks are relatively affordable and somewhat essential. 

The Mint is next to the world-famous Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

It’s also near The Getty Museum and the Los Angeles International Airport a great place to stop on your way out of town.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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