The espresso martini has taken the world by storm. In addition to being a balanced blend of bitter and sweet, this boozy libation also gives you a caffeine boost. Whether you’re looking for a new cocktail to pair with dessert or you’re pregaming a long night out on the town, an espresso martini always gets the job done. Though there’s nothing wrong with a classic take on the espresso martini, several Los Angeles bars and restaurants have put a unique twist on the caffeinated cocktail by adding unexpected garnishes or using tequila instead of vodka. Here’s where to find the best espresso martinis in L.A.
1604 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Great White is a Venice Beach original that has since expanded to West Hollywood and Larchmont Village. This all-day cafe is perfect for a light lunch or nutritious breakfast, but in the evening, it turns into a sleek and stylish hotspot that slings some amazing cocktails.
The espresso martini at Great White is actually an Espresso Shakerato. The cocktail is served in a short glass and features a creamy foam on top that adds both texture and taste. The orange peel garnish offers a colorful contrast and a light citrus flavor that works surprisingly well with the rich espresso profile.
1263 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Thunderbolt is Echo Park’s premier spot for a craft cocktail. The espresso martini here is served on tap, and made with local and sustainably-driven Counter Culture Coffee. Vodka, Amontillado sherry and demerara sugar blend beautifully with the espresso, resulting in a strong yet balanced cocktail that is sure to give you a smooth boost of energy. The beloved “nitro cold brew” texture comes from the infusion of nitrogenate, creating a perfectly foamy head.
8475 Melrose Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90069
Though it made its way to West Hollywood at the end of 2022, Caviar Kaspia has been a Parisian staple since 1927. As the name suggests, caviar is the star offering, but the Espresso Portini makes for the ultimate dessert drink. Created with a ruby port, the Espresso Portini has a deep flavor profile that is slightly fruitier than expected. Orgeat syrup is used to sweeten the cocktail, while chocolate bitters add a nice bite.
218 Main St, Venice, CA 90291
Coucou is a French-inspired bistro and bar that sits right on the border of Santa Monica and Venice. In addition to a solid selection of natural wines, Coucou also boasts an inventive list of artisanal cocktails. The first libation on the list is, of course, the espresso martini, which is made with Tito’s Vodka, espresso and St. George Nola Coffee Liqueur. It is served in a delicate coupe glass and is garnished with three raw coffee beans. If you’re sipping during dessert, pair your espresso martini with Coucou’s popular soft serve, for a sweet finish to the evening.
7174 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
What could be better than an espresso martini in a Prohibition-style speakeasy? With its secret entrance and vintage decor, Bathtub Gin on Melrose Avenue takes patrons back in time to the 1920s. The espresso martini is pretty standard, but the salted maple syrup creates a unique sweet and savory experience. You’ll also find some fresh-shaven cacao over the foamy top. The espresso martini usually costs $17, but if you visit during Nightcap Happy Hour (from 10:00 p.m. to close Tuesday through Thursday), you can imbibe this stunning sipper for only $14.
2640 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
The Victorian is one of the most popular nightlife spots in Santa Monica, but it’s also a laid-back yet chic restaurant that serves an array of tasty bites. The recently revamped cocktail list features plenty of innovative sips, but the espresso martini takes decadence to the next level. Rather than vodka, the Vanilla Espresso Martinez is made with top-shelf tequila, making it a huge hit for agave fans. It is also garnished with an entire chocolate-covered strawberry, for a dessert and drink all in one.
468 N Bedford Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Crustacean is a legendary Beverly Hills establishment that is known for serving up some of the best seafood in the city. Everything is elegant, and the espresso martini is no exception. Named “The Road to Dishonor,” this velvety martini blends Haku Japanese vodka with vanilla, espresso and heavy whipped cream to create a silk smooth libation that is just as chic as the restaurant itself. However, the freshly grated nutmeg on top adds a subtle spice that makes this martini perfectly complex. Consider visiting during brunch and pairing The Road to Dishonor with the warm beignets and classic banana à la mode.