The XIV Summer Sessions party hits XIV's Philippe Starck-designed… (Stephanie Magallanes )
Warm summer nights in L.A. can be the stuff of partying legend, with such highlights as the packed sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard and the flush crowds of Venice's beachside bars. For many Angelenos, however, the balmier months bring the revelation that some of the best summer nightlife goes down during daylight hours. Be it at mainstay hotel rooftops with gorgeous views, sleek sports bars with a hint of beach culture or all-out sinful fun on the Sunset Strip, here's a guide to some of the best day parties in L.A.:
Skybar: The well-appointed cabana bar and surrounding pool area at the heart of the Mondrian Hotel manages to be a consistently popular haunt year after year without needing much reinvention. The vibe is sexy simplicity and the span from Memorial Day to Labor Day brings an adventurous mix of tan-seekers and European travelers. Dress code is scant and Sunday is the best bet — this year's program, "La Dolce Vita," has DJ Devin Lucien booked consistently. Asia de Cuba is nestled next to the pool party for an early dinner if the chlorine and tequila get the best of you. 8440 Sunset Blvd. Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Thompson: While Beverly Hills lets its neighbor, West Hollywood, host more raucous crowds, the Thompson Hotel on Wilshire attracts sophisticated types unafraid to let loose in their rooftop pool. Boasting glorious views, the Thompson's weekly "SPF" Bash (Sunday Pool Fest) has a rotating lineup of DJs, decadent front and rear patios and cocktail-and-sushi service from its resident lounge. 9360 Wilshire Blvd. Reservations: (310) 273-1400
Tropicana Bar: The infamous bar at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel has the accoutrements for an Ibiza-style celebration, including fire pits, a wood-paneled DJ station and plenty of poolside suites for those wishing to extend their day partying. The unexpected treat is the air of showbiz nonchalance. Things might get wild in the confines of a hotel room, but beneath the palm trees the Tropicana is a chill oasis of blended drinks and beautiful people. The vibe is industry with a strong lean toward music, and guest lists are often in place but casually enforced. Be warned — seating is preferred for hotel guests, first-come, first-serve after. Be warned again, the Roosevelt has other popular venues the Spare Room, Teddy's and a mean lobby bar that may derail you from leaving the premises. 7000 Hollywood Blvd. http://www.thompsonhotels.com
The Parlor: And who says you need a pool to make a splash? The Parlor Hollywood is at heart an upscale sports bar but is also prime real estate for quintessential SoCal day drinking. Wood and stone accents are reminiscent of Cabo San Lucas (or is that the cervezas flying everywhere?) but flat screens and rowdy men cheering keep the atmosphere down-to-earth. Once again, Sundays are the most active days. A popular feature is half-priced bottles of Champagne with typical bottle-service fixings, as opposed to pitcher-poured mimosas or bellinis. DJ Gerace will sit in residence all summer long. 7250 Melrose Ave. http://www.theparlorca.com
XIV: Michael Mina's vine-covered Sunset Boulevard party den is not for amateurs — and we're not kidding. The SBE venue demands a partygoer of a certain pedigree to handle an afternoon as excessive as it is exclusive. For their returning "Summer Sessions" program, Mina's fine dining takes a backseat to the L-shaped outdoor patio, wrapped tightly around the intersection of Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards at the base of Laurel Canyon. A renaissance tableau tagged with graffiti, overgrown shrubs and private booths make for spectacular people watching. If you can brave the crowd, you might squeeze past Young Hollywood denizens such as Kristin Cavallari or NFL players like Reggie Bush. After a day of madness, SBE books shuttles to bring crowds over to its La Brea space, MyHouse. 8117 Sunset Blvd. Best bet for RSVP access and program previews, visit facebook.com/XIVSummerSessions
Standard Pools: In both downtown Los Angeles and the heart of West Hollywood, the Standard hotels offer plenty of daytime delights. Their abstract pool area downtown attracts young-banker types and hipsters seeking reprieve from more intellectual fare. The astro-turfed floor of the WeHo space is home to muscled jocks and their bikini-wearing counterparts seeking a central location to pre-game. A perk is the hotel group's own well-designed blog, StandardCulture.com, which is a comprehensive guide to how it gets down. 550 Flower St. and 8300 Sunset Blvd.