As much as I love the flourishing bar scene in LA, planning a simple Saturday night out can be as stressful as it is fun. Sometimes, rolling up to a bar with a group of 10 can lead to an hour long wait outside, or a simple refusal because this bar is "reservation only." And let's not forget that going out with a group usually takes a serious hit on your wallet, especially when just the table itself can run into 3 or 4 figures (looking at you, EP + LP!). Ouch. And don't even get us started on the confusion of the bar/restaurant scenario! (When you reserve a table at a restaurant, is it bad etiquette to just go there and drink? Are there places where you can only reserve for one or the other? Are there different processes for reserving a table at the bar vs. the restaurant? Oy.) Knowing which bars take reservations beforehand and which of those reservations are free frequently require Jessica Jones levels of skillful investigation, especially when you're trying to plan a large group outing. We've done a bit of research ourselves, and are giving you the low-down on some go-to bars for reserving free tables.
1. High Lounge at Hotel Erwin, Venice
High Lounge is a really special case. A rooftop bar? Check. By the ocean? Check. Free reservations for a drinks-only table of up to 8 people? Check. The perfect place to go for a low-key party, reserve a table ahead of time for a party of 8 or less...for free! They're pretty lenient, so if 10-11 people show up, they won't kick anyone out. It's a lovely and quiet-ish setting for a low-key night of drinks, chatting with friends, and overlooking the ocean.
2. The Fiscal Agent, Studio City
This new hot spot in Studio City focuses mostly on their bar program, so a free reservation is totally fine if you're only going for drinks (and not indulging in their menu of delicious small plates). And while you can walk in without one, we highly recommend making a rez beforehand to get a cozy table for a small group. Go for excellent drinks in a beautiful setting.
3. Black Market Liquor Bar, Studio City
Another great cocktail program in Studio City, Black Market Liquor Bar can get pretty packed on a Friday or Saturday night. And while walk-ins are welcome, reservations for a party of 4 or more are recommended to snag a highly coveted table. We love that you can make a rez for dinner, or reserve a table late at night just for drinks!
4. Everson Royce Bar, Downtown
This new cocktail and wine spot in the Arts District features a great menu, beautiful interior, and spacious back patio. Like most bars, walk-ins are welcome, but reservations for groups are free! Make sure to get your table 24 hours in advance!
5. La Descarga, Hollywood
A reservations-only rum bar, La Descarga transports its apparently well-dressed customers into a Havana speakeasy. With lots of dancing, a cabaret show, and a cigar patio, this spot is a great place to take a group for a hopping night out.