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Top five bars in… Beverly Hills, California

Beverly Hills may have a reputation for celeb spotting and over-the-top glamour, but James Lawrence discovers a classy bar scene in the Californian city.

“In Beverly Hills… they don’t throw their garbage away. They make it into television shows.” Woody Allen’s acerbic remark may or may not be true, but even the famed filmmaker could not dispute the city’s status as the glamour capital of California – just ask Julia Roberts. A city independent of Los Angeles, with its own laws and regulations, since the early 1920s Beverly Hills has been the entertainment industry’s favourite residential address. The area bordered by the Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards and North Crescent Drive, known as the Golden Triangle, is perhaps the most luxurious slice of real estate in the US.

As such, travellers on a strict budget should look away now, for partying in Beverly Hills inevitably involves joining a crowd of rich, beautiful people as they splash the cash on top-tier food and drinks. Indeed, this famous neighbourhood provides endless ways to lighten your wallet, from bottle service at exclusive clubs to lavish parties at the nearby Playboy Mansion. Dive bars and neighbourhood pubs just don’t cut it here.

However, there is more than bling in Beverly Hills, and bartending is now a respected profession. The cocktail scene is becoming ever more sophisticated and innovative, driven by an explosion of local and international talent. But remember to bring plenty of dollars for valet parking if you’re driving, and don’t forget to dress up, regardless of the venue. Plenty of Beverly Hills destinations have unwritten dress codes and they won’t make a big deal about your sloppy attire – they just won’t let you in. This is the land of Armani, Gucci and Versace, make no mistake.

Click through the following pages to see our top bars in Beverly Hills, California. 

Ten Pound Bar at Montage

225 North Canon Drive

Tucked discreetly on the second floor of the Montage hotel, Ten Pound welcomes true connoisseurs searching for a dram of finest Scotch whisky – The Macallan, to be precise.

The atmosphere is intimate but convivial, and the service outstanding.

The Club Bar at The Peninsula

9882 South Santa Monica Boulevard

Elegant is the word here – dark wood panels made from Californian birch, and deep leather chairs that circle the fireplace create a traditional yet timeless ambiance, reminiscent of a gentleman’s club.

The Club Bar’s drinks list includes rare single malt whiskies, gin, Tequilas and Cognacs, as well as an extensive selection of wines by the glass.

Café Gratitude

19 North Canon Drive

A welcome change from the lavish hotel bars that fill Beverly Hills, Café Gratitude is a 100% organic plant­-based restaurant, which also offers an enviable selection of bespoke cocktails.

Renowned for its Happy Hour Black Magic Cocktail that gets its colour from activated charcoal, the place is refreshingly attitude-­free and welcomes all comers, regardless of their attire.

The Rooftop by JG at Waldorf Astoria

9850 Wilshire Boulevard

Looking for style and substance? Check out the Waldorf Astoria. Its rooftop garden bar boasts incredible 360­-degree views of Beverly Hills and is the largest rooftop of its kind in the city.

You can sip one of its ever-­changing handcrafted cocktails while nibbling on a delicious selection of small plates, curated with Latin and South Asian flair.

This is the perfect location to see, be seen and admire those iconic LA sunsets.

Bar & Lounge at Hotel Bel-Air

701 Stone Canyon Road

A favourite haunt of A-­listers since time immemorial, the Hotel Bel-Air’s signature bar is a lesson in discreet sophistication.

From the ingredients used in the superlative mixology, to the perfect, gracious service and daily live music, everything is spot on. Expensive? Oh yes. But there are few finer establishments around.

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