Best Bars in Pasadena

The drinking scene in Pasadena is slowly developing into a great destination for both wine and beer lovers. It also boasts plenty of high-class cocktail bars.

1886 has been luring cocktail enthusiasts to the area since it opened in 2010. Its creative cocktails are a must-try, especially the Smoking Jacket.

Best Bars in Pasadena
Best Bars in Pasadena

Big Bar

If you like big food and drinks, then Big Bar is the place for you. Located in the former Sluggers Sports Bar and Grill, this restaurant-bar embraces the idea that bigger is almost always better.

There’s also great food here, including a fantastic menu of Indonesian cuisine. Standout dishes include gule, a yellow curry with carrots and squash, and nasi goreng–crab fried rice with chicharron gremolata.

It’s the perfect spot for an upscale meal in Old Town Pasadena. You can start with a couple of appetizers at the bar, or get an all-out celebratory meal.

Sherwood Cryer was the genius behind Gilley’s, the nightclub that captivated audiences in the 1980 movie ‘Urban Cowboy’ with John Travolta and Debra Winger. It was the setting for many of the film’s most memorable scenes, as the club featured a mechanical bull that brought lines of people into the club.


The frosted door etched “Est 1886” greets you at this Craftsman-style bar that sprang up in a bungalow house that was once the caretaker’s cottage for Pasadena’s grandiose Raymond Hotel. This is the year that Bostonian Walter Raymond built the hotel, which burned down in 1895 but was reconstructed grander and more luxurious.

But the 126-year-old building isn’t just a bar—it’s also a history lesson. Founded by bartenders Demarest and Tello, 1886 dodges LA’s pre-Prohibition fad of fancy cocktails to focus on straight neat drinks reminiscent of the building’s industrial roots.

The bar team changes their cocktail menu seasonally, but there are some perennial favorites that remain. One is a honey nut old fashioned that’s recently been named one of the best in Los Angeles by LAist.

The Arbour

The Arbour is an upscale farm to table eatery located in the historic city of Pasadena. Featuring local ingredients and exceptional service, this restaurant is the perfect place to dine out in the area. The restaurant has been rated as the best bar in Pasadena by Google users who awarded it with a 4.5 star rating.

This oh so enticing bar is located in a historical district and is home to a large selection of high quality cocktails, beer and wine. The establishment also boasts a plethora of tasty dishes including the impressive fresh tagliatelle with pork sausage, the Arbour cheeseburger and a revolving weekly special that will surely have you coming back for more. Luckily for you, you can order some of these tasty treats by using the Postmates delivery app to have them delivered right to your doorstep.

Pie ’n Burger

Since 1963, Pie ’n Burger has been carbo-loading students by the Cal Tech campus. Its Formica counter, old-timey stools, and tables, along with the staff, all hearken back to the optimistic zeitgeist of Southern California in the early 1960s.

The menu includes classic burgers, milkshakes and fruit pies. The burgers are griddled, and they come with Thousand Island dressing, lettuce, pickles and cheese on a soft bun.

The burgers are good, and the service is friendly and efficient. The place feels like the local watering hole – it’s full of regulars and waitresses know your name.

Lucky Boy

A roadside stop along Arroyo Parkway that has done its take on breakfast burritos for decades, Lucky Boy draws hundreds of daily fans from across Los Angeles County. The restaurant is also known for its burgers, chili cheese fries and other classic American diner fare.

But it’s the breakfast burrito that stands out, and the one that really defines this eatery. It’s a hearty, hefty mashup of eggs, potatoes, meats, and cheese, all stuffed inside a big, flour tortilla.

The griddle is a key part of the recipe, delivering a passive heat that helps melt the cheese and retains the active grill marks from the sausage, bacon, and potatoes. This synergy is what makes the whole thing work so well.

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