Can you smell that? It smells a little bit like cinnamon sticks and pumpkin spice. That’s fall, y’all. And it’s officially spooky season, which means it’s time to dust off those cable knit sweaters, throw on “Hocus Pocus,” and finally break in those mini Uggs that TikTok influenced you to buy. Do you know what goes great with cozy vibes? Great cocktails. Even if you like to act too cool for ghoul, we know you secretly love this hokey holiday and how it casts a spell on the City of Angels. Now is not the time to ghost us! Here are our top-10 Los Angeles haunts serving up hellaciously good sips for all you heathens.
The Misfit has been a Santa Monica staple for more than a decade, having mastered great food and even better drinks. All libations are half off until 7 p.m. daily, which means you can get a little shaken, then a little stirred—all without breaking the bank. Located right off Third Street Promenade, this West LA spot has prime walkability status and is a fun change of pace for people looking to go a little bit Gatsby with a hint of ghoulish. Everything on the menu is great, and we love to opt for the bartender’s choice when it comes to picking a beverage.
Location: Santa Monica
Hidden within the heart of downtown LA, The Wolves beckon those who crave the ethereal and macabre. Located within the Alexandria Hotel building, this dimly lit speakeasy boasts an intimate atmosphere where the supernatural and sophistication converge. Enjoy a concoction from their mystical menu, such as their tropical mango and milk mezcal monster mash called Tigers Milk. All of their libations are served in an atmosphere defined by antique curiosities and flickering candlelight while in the company of the spirits from the Prohibition era rumored to be haunting this joint. By the end of the night, you’ll be howling at the moon yourself. Throughout October, expect eldritch elixirs and séance-themed soirées that will send shivers down your spine.
Location: Downtown LA
Nestled in the Arts District, The Obscure lives up to its name, offering a cloak and dagger-esque experience. Its cryptic ambiance is enhanced by dim lighting and gothic decor, with cocktails like the Elixir of Shadow to match. The bar’s concept is influenced by occult symbolism—whatever that means—and their mantra is, “Member owned, invite only,” which means you better know someone who knows someone. With live music and a haunted art gallery, this place really comes to life (or death, depending on which way you look at it) in October, so be sure to book in advance for your chance to enter the unknown. To learn more, text #theobscure to 213.513.7521
Location: Arts District
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for us. Pirates kind of have it all figured out. They spend their whole lives drunk on a boat. We say it’s about time we enter our pirate era. The Redwood Bar has a full menu of American fare, lots of fun drinks and events just about every damn day. Check out their October calendar here. This month brings seafaring spookiness, including costume contests and themed parties that will make you feel like you’re sailing the high seas with the supernatural. Rumor has it that patrons of this downtown destination have seen ghostly shadows and spooky figures—or it could just be the rum.
Location: Downtown LA
This pop-up is a fully immersive experience complete with a pinch of hocus and a whole lot of pocus. There are haunted mazes and giant Ouija boards as well as theatrical elements that tell a sinister story. Interact with spirits while you sip signature cocktails that are all in theme—get ready for sensory overload! They offer three different types of tickets: bronze, silver and gold. They all include miniature craft cocktail flights, and the top-tier tickets invite attendees to do some adult trick-or-treating to satiate that sweet tooth. This is a 21+ event that lasts about two hours.
Potions & Poisons Bar transports you from Koreatown to a world of toil and trouble. This hidden gem serves up mystical drinks in an intimate setting set to a horror film backdrop. Anything M. Night Shyamalan will do. This bar often hosts tarot card readers and mystics, and their drinks will probably cast a spell on you (you’ll start thinking you CAN actually dance). This October, expect spooky signature cocktails that all come with their own tricks and treats; plus, occasional special events to celebrate the season of spirits. As a reminder, this spot is tucked away in the corner of Oxford Center and can be tricky to find.
The Black Lagoon Pop-Up pays homage to the Golden Age of horror cinema, where every drink and decor detail is designed to give you chills and remind you of the films that freak you out. Lap up delicious libations like the Hellraiser, Screaming Banshee and Closed Casket in a setting that melds metal with magic. Think dungeons and drunken dragons. October sees the venue transformed into a nightmare realm, complete with immersive scary movie scenes and an eerie ambiance. Grab your goth friends and relive your eyelined glory days at the Black Lagoon!
Location: Hollywood (Lost Property Bar)
Clifton’s Republic is a multi-story haven of whimsy and wonder, complete with hidden nooks, mysterious taxidermy and a forest-themed dining room. The “Cabinet of Curiosities” bar is the place to go for supernatural spirits like the Phantom Fog or Electric Tiger cocktail. Clifton’s is rumored to be haunted by its founder, Clifford Clinton, but if you ask us, he’s a pretty nice guy. October brings immersive Halloween decor and themed nights, such as “Goth Prom,” beneath the twinkling stars of the enchanted forest. This place is all about music, magic, and mystique and is located just down the road from the Cecil Hotel, a notorious nightmare accommodation. Do note that they have a dress code that is enforced after 9 p.m., so ditch the hat and the sandals and dawn your most dapper duds. Snap something to remember the night in the photo den before you leave!
Location: Downtown LA
Want to forget you’re in LA? Step inside Sassafras Saloon, a restored Savannah townhouse with Southern roots and New Orleans flair. It’s “Westworld” meets “The Haunting of Hill House,” and there is no shortage of things to look at (and tip toe away from) in this renovated watering hole. Take a seat in the original living room and keep your eyes peeled for the woman in the white dress who likes to check in on her old stomping grounds from time to time. Only open Friday and Saturday night, Sassafras is serving up spooky vibes and sensational sips like the Bramblin’ Man and Belle of the Bayou.
For fans of the fantastical, Beetle House LA is a nightmarish dream come true. Inspired by Tim Burton’s creations, this bar offers cocktails like Beetle’s Juice and Edward’s Lemonade in an eerie but electric setting. If you are into something sickly sweet, split the Big Fish Bowl (for two), which is a smoking sipper comprised of just about every alcohol then garnished with nNerds and Swedish Fish. Every day is Halloween at this strange pit stop, and you’ll be blown away by the built-in entertainment that includes everything from singers to sword swallowers. The staff never breaks character from their assigned Burton movie roles as they serve up in-theme dishes, such as the Black Dahlia Burger served with a side of Frankenfries. Reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are always welcome (especially if they are the walk-in dead).
Location: Hollywood Heights
Jane Adler is a marketing and branding consultant by trade, but a writer by preference. She shares a name with Meryl Streep’s iconic character from It’s Complicated and is presently trying to manifest that life (particularly that Santa Barbara house) for herself. Jane is an avid consumer of content and carbs and often used the latter to write on the former.