Dating in Los Angeles is a bit like playing the lottery: it’s enticing enough to at least try every once in a while, but the odds are heavily stacked against you. For one, there’s the sheer size of the city to contend with—if you live in North Hollywood and meet a handsome stranger from the South Bay, well, you might as well be ships passing in the night. But let’s assume you do find the right person (or the wrong person, whatever) and want to give it your best shot. We’ve gone ahead and ranked the most romantic spots for Los Angeles nightlife, in hopes of saving you from Platonic purgatory and helping things progress to a hotter, heavier level. We can’t promise you’ll get lucky, but at least you’ll have better odds than the lottery.The Friend ZoneThe Spot: Laurel Tavern | Studio City They can’t all be “The One,” and it’s good to keep this in mind when choosing a spot for your first date. Perched on a bustling section of Ventura Boulevard, the perennially crowded Laurel Tavern is the perfect place for hedging your bets. The menu focuses on craft beer and gastropub fare, and it comes across as sophisticated without trying too hard (take notes). But the best part might be the absence of super-intimate seating; a communal table stretches the length of the room, and it’s easy to make friends if your date isn’t going so hot.
The Sort-of-Maybe-Thinking-About-It ZoneThe Spot: The Troubadour | West Hollywood There are probably more things to do in Hollywood than there are potential suitors, but let’s say you’ve snagged one. Or at least, you think you’ve snagged one. Follow up your first date by suggesting a show at The Troubadour, a West Hollywood institution that’s as classy as a venue can be while still having sticky floors. Bonus points for picking a band or an artist you care deeply about; there’s no point in things going any further if your date can’t relate to your impeccable taste in music.Down for a Fling, But That’s AllThe Spot: La Descarga | Hollywood Sometimes, you’re just looking for a little action to carry you through that next bout of crippling existential despair. If that’s the case, head straight for La Descarga, a Cuban-themed nightclub that feels like a cross between The Godfather (there’s a cigar lounge) and Dirty Dancing (it’s sexy as hell). Burlesque-style salsa acts often perform in the middle of the club, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to engage in some sensuous dancing of your own. Take note: you have to be dressed to the nines to get in this place.All Systems GoThe Spot: Hotel Casa Del Mar | Santa Monica Oh, baby. This is it. There’s a butterfly infestation in your stomach cavity, and it’s time to take things to the next level before those little guys burst out. Book a night’s stay at Hotel Casa Del Mar to get away from the city without getting too far away. For the most romantic evening possible, start with some barrel-aged cocktails at the bar and then watch the sunset while dining at the hotel’s top-rated seafood restaurant. From there, the possibilities are endless: a trip to the spa, a dip in the pool, a walk on the beach. Then again, you might not want to leave the room.Soul MatesThe Spot: Il Cielo | Beverly Hills Proposals are hard. If everything goes according to plan, you’ll only get one chance, and it’s best not to waste it on the Jumbotron at Dodger Stadium or some shoddy bit of skywriting. Luckily, there’s Il Cielo and its private dining room for two. When it’s time to seal the deal, fresh rose petals on the table, a 2-foot taper candle in a silver holder, and a dinner of lobster aren’t bad things to have on your side. Add some personal touches such as bouquets or champagne, and you’ve got a romantic fantasy brought to life.