When I lived in New York, among the noisy scene clubs there were always a handful of places where you could go for a cocktail with friends and actually, y'know, be able to walk right in, sit down, and carry on an intelligible conversation.
In LA, not so much.
There must be places that aren't packed to standing-room capacity, that don't have that little rope outside going on, where the music isn't turned up so loud you get nodules on your larynx debating whether or not LOST has jumped the shark.
I suppose there are a couple such places. They're called "hotel bars."
And I don't mean the hotspots like the Standard or the Roosevelt. I'm talking old school, like Shutters on the Beach and the Fairmont. These, I love. Nice surroundings, sometimes a vocalist or jazz combo, usually decent pours, the occasional famous person ("Hey, isn't that Sean Penn over there ranting about the WHO and pandemics?").
Hipster bars at unfashionable hours also work, provided you bail before the crowd moves in and the volume goes up.
Any place else like that anyone knows of?