BEST 4: SILVER LAKE
MJ's (2810 Hyperion Ave; 323-660-1503) is proof once and for all that Silver Lake is no longer just for older men. Each evening is different, but expect cruisy dance parties, go-go boys, and the porn star of the week in a post-industrial setting with a large bar occupying the center.
Friendly, funky Akbar (4356 Sunset Blvd; 323-665-6810) caters to Silver Lake's new bohemians. It's L.A.'s answer to the mixed watering holes of the East Village -- you never know what might turn up -- with Moorish d?cor and the city's best jukebox. The back room dance floor fairly rages on weekends, when the hipsters are in full force.
The indoor-outdoor Faultline (4216 Melrose Ave; 323-660-0889), formerly the most leathery bar in L.A., has also become popular with gays whose only leather accessory comes from Kenneth Cole. Arrive early for weekend nights and the Sunday beer bust, as the line can be long.
And it's surprising that a city with as much talent as L.A. does not have dozens of piano bars, but the Other Side (2538 Hyperion Ave; 323-661-0618) does its part. Pianists rotate nightly, and Friday night is an open-mic cabaret. The crowd tends to be older, but there are plenty of young songbirds to entertain, and if you arrive early enough you can order meals from the adjacent Flying Leap restaurant.
BEST FOR OTHER DISTRICTS
Oil Can Harry's (11502 Ventura Blvd; 818/760-9749) in Studio City is L.A.'s favorite country & western dance bar, offering dancing on Fridays and lessons early Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Saturdays, glitter heels replace the cowboy boots on Retro Disco night.
About a half-mile from the ocean in Venice, Roosterfish (1302 Abbot Kinney Blvd; 310-392-2123) has a relaxed atmosphere, reasonably priced drinks, pool table and attitude-free crowd. More casual and friendlier than most WeHo bars, it's packed on Fridays and hosts a barbeque Sunday afternoons on the back patio.
WeHo bars East/West and Here (see above) both host women's nights on Thursdays -- see above for details of both venues. Sip a scrumptious martini at East/West before getting in the long line for Fuse at Here.
BEST CLUBS/DANCE PARTIES
See also bars in West Hollywood and Silver Lake for club nights.
Factory (652 N. LaPeer Drive, West Hollywood; 310-659-4551) and its neighbor Ultrasuede (661 N. Robertson Blvd; 310-659-4551; www.factorynightclub.com), together form the largest venue in West Hollywood; the design is futuristic, the lighting and sound systems are state-of-the-art, and the theme varies from pop to hip-hop to retro.
Veteran nightclub Rage (8911 Santa Monica Blvd; 310-652-7055) is popular most nights of the week, and has a large base of young Asian fans.
Beige, at FALCON (7213 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood; 323-850-5350), is the trendy L.A. incarnation of the popular New York event. Held Tuesdays in this mod restaurant, party people sip old-fashioned "adult" drinks (Manhattans and martinis) while hobnobbing with celebrities until the wee hours. The crowd is attractive, mostly gay, young and hip, with plenty of hot women for the lipstick lesbians.
Arena (6665 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood; 323-462-1291) is home to popular, predominantly Latino/Latina club Circus Disco, which is gay on Tuesdays and Fridays. At the Thursday night 18-and-over party Tigerheat (www.clubtigerheat.com), the young dance the night away to the likes of Britney and Christina. Arena hosts its own Boys Night on Saturdays.
Near Silver Lake, Dragstrip 66 (2nd Saturday of each month at Safari Sam's, 5214 Sunset Blvd, East Hollywood; 323-969-2596) offers drag theme parties like "Karen Black Valentine Ball" and the "Night of a Thousand Jans" (Jan Bradys, that is). The place gets mobbed, the music is very eclectic, and the crowd is chatty to the point of goofy and very mixed (gay/straight, young/Botox, men/women/in-between).
Part One | Part Two
Los Angeles: Introduction
Los Angeles: Where to Stay
Los Angeles: Where to Eat
Los Angeles: What to See and Do
Los Angeles: Resources