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Best Bars In The Valley

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Bar hopping in the Valley does require a designated driver. Better yet, everyone can chip in for a car with a driver to get to sample the best this sprawling section of Los Angeles has to offer. Once transportation arrangements have been made the rest of the process is shear fun at some outstanding outposts. The following are arguably the top five locations over the hill from Los Angeles proper for enjoying libations with your friends.

(credit: Moretti Photo)

14649 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91604
(818) 986-9999

Tasha and other friendly bartenders who work at this Valley bar are one of the reasons makes this a go-to bar in Sherman Oaks. The decor is based on California's devoted car culture, with automobile manuals and an assortment of oil cans gussying up this drinking hole that screams Americana. Cocktails like the Oil Change (made with bourbon, ginger and lemon) and big and small bites (like the pig ear fries) are welcomed by the local clientele. Get ready for a night out on the town and ready to spend a while at warm and friendly Murph's.

(credit: Black Market Liquor Bar)

Black Market Liquor Bar
11915 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 446-

Anyone who has enjoyed the fried cauliflower with lemon aioli at Black Market may just return to savor this pub grub once again. But that's not the only draw. The craft cocktails, called by distinctive names, are made wit care. Tops is the 103 proof bourbon-based Fade to Black with walnut bitters being part of the delicious concoction. Also a winner is the cognac-based East India Cocktail and many wines including a number of French Champagne selections. By the way, this outpost offers low lighting making Black Market a great place to take a date.

Related: Best Wine Bars in Los Angeles

Nightlife & Music UFC, Blue Dog
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Blue Dog Beer Tavern
4524 Saugus Ave.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
(818) 990-2583

This hang-out, with its mountain cabin atmosphere, offers great happy hour specials and and traditional pub food including burgers. Expect an astounding list of more than 1,000 craft and artisan brews with Blue Dog with Scrimshaw-Pilsner from Ft. Bragg topping the list. The beer is featured as "perhaps the most refreshing beer on the planet." Red wines on the carte come from near and as far as Argentina. White wines include a tasty Pinot Grigio and a showy Chardonnay while a couple of the ciders on hand are from England.

12/28 Food & Drink - New Restaurants 2011 - The Federal Bar
The Federal Bar (credit:

The Federal Bar
5303 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 980-2555

Arguably, North Hollywood's most celebrated bar setting offers three different places at which to belly up. Or, you can head for the booths in the back complete with candle light for a more intimate experience. The bar features bountiful stock of drinks. Other features at The Federal include nights devoted to comedy and burlesque. Music plays upstairs so go up to enjoy after experiencing the main floor that's part of this chill NoHo venue.

Related: Best Whiskey Bars in Los Angeles

Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist and always travels with her pillow. Check out her articles on

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