Arguably, there is no faster growing neighborhood in Los Angeles than Highland Park. The historic ‘hood, sandwiched in-between Eagle Rock and Pasadena, was annexed to the city in 1895, making it one of LA’s very first subdivisions. However, in final decades of the 20th century, the area was plagued with major crime issues.
Recently, the neighborhood has become significantly safer and seen an influx of younger residents, attracted to the relatively low rents and walkable urban lifestyle, resulting in a MAJOR comeback. Highland Park now boasts a number of charming cafes, art galleries, vintage shops, and of course, a buzzy nightlife scene.
From friendly bars to cool cocktail lounges, check out the hottest spots in Highland Park below.
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Originally established in 1927 during prohibition, Highland Park Bowl is now Los Angeles’ oldest operating bowling alley. Back in the day, the building housed numerous doctors’ offices on the second floor, a pharmacy, music store and recreation space. At this time, patrons obtained legal doctor’s notes for medicinal whiskey upstairs, then headed downstairs to fill the prescription at the pharmacy, which allowed permissible boozing and bowling. The bar was renamed to Mr. T’s Bowl from 1966 until its temporary closing in 2014. It re-opened under its original name in 2016. Nowadays, the hotspot boasts the original façade and interior along with refurbished lanes and a treasure trove of items, which were repurposed and put on display.
And don’t worry if you’e not a bowler. Many who patron this historic watering hole never step foot on the lanes and are simply there for the vibes. Behind the bar, you’ll find a collection of draft and bottled beer, select wines, a rotating selection of refreshing alcoholic slushies and signature cocktails. Popular cocktails include the Belle Of The Bowl made with honeydew-infused Beefeater gin, fresh lime and house-made cucumber thyme soda and the Handsome Not Handless made with Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Giffard Banane Du Bresil, Luxardo Maraschino, fresh lime and pineapple. If bowling and boozing work you up an appetite, over a dozen types of pizzas and other bar staples are readily available.
5621 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles@highlandparkbowl
Calling all gamers looking to get lit. Barcade is the originator of the arcade bar concept in the United States. The original Barcade opened in 2004 in a former metal shop in Brooklyn and has since expanded to nine location across the country. Barcade Los Angeles opened in 2019 and features dozens of video games and pinball machines, many from the ’80s, as well as 25 to 30 American craft beers on draft. In addition to beer, Barcade offers a full bar with craft spirits and cocktails and creative variations on classic pub food.
5684 York Blvd., Los Angeles@barcade
Holcomb is place for wine enthusiasts, minus the egos. Situatied on York Blvd., this approachable Highland Park hangout boasts a handsome collection of natural wines on a local and global level, including the growing popular trend of orange wines. They’ve also got an excellent section of beers on tap. Bites include a rotating menu of wine-friendly fare like housemade hummus, choizo al vino and to-die-for spicy mac and cheese. Holcomb has also started doing bunch on Saturdays and Sundays, serving up dishes like Mama’s Frittata and the Holcomb Scramble. Guests can enjoy their selections inside as well as on the sizable dog-friendly patio.5535 York Blvd., Los Angeles@holcombhighlandpark
If you are hungry hungry, head to HIPPO. The restaurant—whose name is a loose acronym of the space’s previous resident, the Highland Park Post Office—boasts a cool industrial look which includes high ceilings, lots of wood and a wall painted with a graphic flower pattern. HIPPO is helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef and offers a mouthwatering Cal-Ital menu, including a variety of crudos, meats and specialty pastas. Behind the bar, you’ll find some of best cocktails on the Eastside, including creative twists in the classics like the Boots With The Spurs old fashioned and the Tropicano Americano. The wine list is also stacked with exclusively organic, naturally produced wines.
5916 1/2 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles@hippohighlandpark
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‘Aint no party like a neighborhood block party. One of the liveliest spots on York Blvd. is hands down Block Party. The space includes a small bar seated area inside and a massive (and dog-friendly) patio complete with communal picnic tables and giant shuffleboard on the blacktop. In addition to supporting craft breweries and small production wine makers, Block Party is known for its killer cocktails, including the Watermelon Mezcalita and a drink literally named the “Best Damn Old Fashioned You’ve Ever Had.” And during a LA heat wave, nothing beats a frozen treat like their rum-based Dole Whip or Frosé All Day.
Hungry? Block Party has a “Bring Your Own Grub” policy that allows guests to bring their own food from anywhere they like. And don’t miss QT, a party happening every last Sunday of the month with resident DJ Justdee and Sean O, where partiers can drink, dance, vibe and shop a curated collection of local L.A. vendors.
5050 York Blvd., Los Angeles@blockpartyhlp
La Cuevita (also known as Little Cave) is a mysterious Mexican agave spirits-centric grotto in the heart of Highland Park. The bar, which showcases an impressive selection of tequilas and mezcals is decked out in vintage Mexican-themed trimmings and boasts a spacious outdoor patio. There’s happy hour daily from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and free tacos (yes, we said free) on Tuesdays between 10 p.m. and midnight. Oh and when the sun goes down, this is definitely one of best places to dance in HP.
5922 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles@lacuevitabar
Found through a corridor on Figueroa, Gold Line is dark, intimate bar with groovy ’70s and ’80s decor. Music is the heart and soul of this spot with a special connection to Stones Throw Records and its founder Peanut Butter Wolf. The record label has sat just upstairs for near nearly two decades and Wolf’s giant vinyl collection sits behind the bar. With an old Rock-Ola jukebox in the corner, Gold Line slings standout cocktails (mostly highballs and three-ingredient drinks) and welcomes lively DJs at night.
5607 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles@goldlinebar
Previously a nightclub with an infamous reputation and the original home of Highland Park Brewery, The Hermosillo is now a friendly neighborhood beer and wine bar open Wednesday-Sunday serving a solid collection of brews on tap, including Highland Park Brewery beers, as the bar primarily focuses on local and seasonal selections. For wine lovers, Hermosillo has an extensive, rotating wine list of global varieties all by the glass which includes a mix of classics alongside esoteric, natural wines from around the world. Hungry? The Hermosilla boasts a full food menu from light bar snacks like Parmesan Polenta Bites to full entrees like its mega-popular Fried Chicken Sandwich.
5125 York Blvd., Los Angeles @thehermosillo
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Checker Hall is where Los Angeles meets the Mediterranean. Located on the second floor of a restored masonic hall in the heart of Highland Park, this neighborhood spot offers thoughtfully curated food, drinks and music that celebrates the building’s nearly century-long history as a community gathering place.
On the menu, you’ll find shareable dips, salads, small plates and entrees that blend the flavors of the Mediterranean with coastal California. In addition to beer and wine, Checker Hall serves up killer cocktails like the Johnny The Giant, made with house-made peanut whiskey, sea salt, honey, bitters, orange and Payday as well as the Idol Riot, made with mezcal, sotol, Campari, sweet vermouth, lemon, agave, aquafaba and black salt. They even have a couple zero proof mocktails like the Broken Record, made with honey ginger syrup, cantaloupe juice, mint, lime and seltzer.
104 N Ave. 56, Los Angeles@checkerhall
Where everybody knows your name…. Ok, maybe not, but you will see familiar faces if you go there enough. The York is a neighborhood favorite serving up beer, wine, cocktails and gourmet pub grub in a counter-serve space with a cool, industrial vibe. The York hosts Trivia Nights every Monday, weekday happy hours and live music on the weekends (including Sunday jazz nights). While their beer and wine selections are top notch, don’t sleep on their cocktails. Our fav is the Lemon Meringue Martini made with Ving vodka, Licor 43, orgeat, fresh lemon juice and half & half cream. It’s like dessert in a glass.
5018 York Blvd., Los Angeles@theyork5018
One of the hippest spots in all HP is undoubtably ETA. By day, the chic, yet inviting, long and narrow bar serves up creative cocktails and elevated bar snacks, including $1 oysters daily. By night, ETA offers live music from cool live jazz to slick DJs sets.
104 N Ave. 56, Los Angeles@etahlp
Located above the temporarily closed Cafe Birdie, Good Housekeeping is a not so “secret” cocktail lounge serving up craft cocktails, biodynamic wines, delicious mocktails and all around good vibes. When the sun goes down, dance the night away to fun DJ sets. On the weekend, enjoy boozy brunch with items such as the GH Breakfast Sandwich and Old School Hash Browns and speciality cocktails like the Hail Mary made with vodka, tomato, horseradish, Worcestershire, house spice blend, pickles, lime and celery and the Tryin Times made with lo-fi sweet vermouth, amaro, rum, cold brew, coconut, chocolate and salt. There’s also a weekend happy hour with $5 beers, $9 wines and $11 cocktails.
5635 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles@goodhousekeepinghlp
The Greyhound is a gastropub-style sports bar, with a sister location Glendale, known for its craft beer, cocktails, classic pub fare and die-hard sports fan patronage. In addition to being home to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club fans, The Greyhound is Highland Park’s go-to Dodgers bar. Hosting “Blue Hour” specials during every game, from the first pitch to the last out, it’s the perfect place to watch LA’s favorite team. Not into spots? The menu will give you something to cheer for thanks to some of the best wings and sandwiches in the city. Oh, and be sure to try the Flo & Eddie’s Cornbread. You’ll thank us later.
5570 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles@thegreyhoundbarandgrill
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