L.A.'s Best Beer Gardens
There is just something intangibly awesome about imbibing an adult beverage in the open air. A tropical cocktail under blue skies and a palm tree on the beach. A fresh IPA on a rooftop under a classic L.A. sunset. It’s COOL.
With its endless 100ºF summers and excellent day-drinking culture, Los Angeles is the world's prime candidate to have a billion great beer gardens, but it doesn't. It does have a few, however. Here are the best of them.
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Open daily 10am-5pm
What? The zoo? Yep! The first concession stand on the left as you enter the 133 acres of carefully-nurtured urban habitat sells beer in a delightfully-branded L.A. Zoo plastic cup. You can walk around the whole dang zoo with that beer. Or buy a refresher further up the path! That, my friends, is a primo beer garden.
The caveat is that you'll be drinking Golden Road beer. Yes, I’ve seen Firestone 805 and Lagunitas IPA on tap, but in the main you’ll just have to hark back to 2013 when your friend asked you if you wanted a beer, you just replied with "Yep," rather than, "What brewery is it from?" And the other 17 follow-up questions and tasting notes.
The Brew at the Zoo beer festival is held at the LA Zoo in August, which is a pleasant one-off way to drink beer at the zoo, but for under $5 per month, you can have access to one of the best beer gardens in Los Angeles. If you like animals and plants and don’t mind kids, that is.
Beer 1/5 - Golden Road and other Budweisers
Garden 5/5 - Over 100 acres of animal-filled oasis to beer in.
Food 1/5 - Come on, it’s the zoo
Location 4/5 - Oodles of parking and buses
Malibu Wines & Beer Garden
23130 Sherman Way, West Hills, CA 91307
Open daily from 10am
This is the newest concept of the Malibu Wines Tasting Room with 20 independent beers on tap and food on the weekend. Located up in the West Hills, it’s all classy gravel and lush foliage. It’s a delightful outdoors drinking spot, if not a little remote.
Beer 4/5 - Chapman, Craftsman, Cellador, Cigar City
Garden 5/5 - it is an absolutely gorgeous to drink too much
Food 3/5 - I’ll buy over-priced pizza
Location 1/5 - $75? But it’s not even surging...
The Fields LA @ Banc of California Stadium
3939 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Open daily from 11am-9pm
The Fields is L.A.’s latest premium food hall destination and it’s attached to a soccer stadium. Yeah, LAFC fans already know all about The Fields with its chicken sandwiches from award-winning chefs, delicious burritos and mac ‘n’ cheese dumplings, but - as ever - it’s the beer bar that we’re most interested in. A dozen taps and another dozen cans and bottles. Beers at every concession as well. Beer EVERYWHERE.
Sure, the patio has views of The Coliseum and little else (unless you’re doing yoga with us on the roof) but a brilliantly-curated taplist from top notch beers from Los Angeles and beyond with affordable gourmet food? That’s a winner.
Beer 5/5 - it’s just a brilliant selection
Garden 2/5 - come do yoga with us and get views of that DTLA skyline
Food 5/5 - the best fried chicken sandwiches in Los Angeles?
Location 5/5 - Los Angeles Metro takes you right there
2490 Fletcher Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Open daily from 11am-10pm + weekend hours
Just down the road from the mighty Frogtown Brewery is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles. Suitably, it also has a small but really well-put-together local taplist. You’ll struggle to surround yourself with a better selection of cacti or tacos.
Beer 3/5 - Trustworthy, Boomtown, Lincoln, Frogtown
Garden 4/5 - it feels like you’re sitting in a West Elm catalog
Food 5/5 - Jonathan Gold loved it
Location 4/5 - pre-Dodgers hangout?
5410 W San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Open daily from 11am-11.30pm
We don’t even need to make a joke about the hef being ok. If you’ve got kids or a dog, this is the best place to sit down, get some decent food and watch the game on a benign piece of turf by the railroad tracks in Glendale. It’s as simple as that. The L.A. Zoo is just down the road if you want more of their beer but a vast improvement in scenery.
Beer 1/5 - that Christmas beer is actually ok
Garden 5/5 - it keeps my kid AND my dog entertained
Food 4/5 - going vegan will save the planet
Location 3/5 - parking is a drag sometimes
428 S Hewitt St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Open daily from 12pm-2am
If you’re looking for a cool outdoor patio in DTLA with an excellent, wide-ranging beer selection, this one is for you. There’s a permanent food truck on-site, and there are shows inside if you’re making a night of it.
Beer 4/5 - a long taplist with beer+shot deals for that friend
Garden 3/5 - trees and pretty lights at night
Food 3/5 - sandwiches and burritos that do the job
Location 4/5 - you’ll forget that DTLA is gross
Red Lion Tavern
2366 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Open daily from 11am-2am
German pub. German beer. German sausages. The covered patio gets cosy and rowdy, so wear your lederhosen (in your head, at least) and pretend you’re in Munich.