L.A. Confidential: Your Design Hacks From The Top 4 Resto-Bar Patios

The lazy days of summer are decidedly waning, and fall will soon be upon us. But we’re not quite ready to bid farewell to the joys of summer yet. Let’s dip back into a bit of a patio lovefest. 

This time, we’ll focus on arguably the world’s most patio-obsessed place: Los Angeles. A town built on relationships, where brunches, lunches, cocktails, and dinners aren’t just a diversion; they’re where deals get done, “happening” becomes happening, and epic is defined and redefined on the regular. 

We’ve narrowed things down to our list of L.A.’s top 4 restaurant patios — from a design viewpoint. Each has a distinct design personality offering an experience unique to their little corner of the world. 

Since that’s what we want for you and your patio, our tour will take you to a restaurant/patio featuring its view, one luxuriating in ambiance, another keeping the “classy” in classic, and a spot that simply swaggers with cool. And along the way, we’ll offer suggestions for bringing that look into your patio design and upholstery.

Castaway Shows The Way To Create A Carefree Vibe With A View

In our recent exploration of what makes the world’s greatest resort patios so darn great, we talked about how they focus on what they’ll feature. Sometimes it’s how they’ll function, sometimes simply provided a welcoming space, and sometimes they focus on a feature of their property. Castaway does all of the above. 

Perched high above the San Fernando Valley, Castaway knows what its got, and makes the most of it. The views from the patio are nothing short of stunning, which is why it lives on so many “best of” lists. As we take in the view from our lane, one of the things we love most about Castaway is their use of upholstery to offer comfy, stylish spaces that welcome without distracting from the main attraction.

Try it in your space with a fabric like a performance-grade slate grey or silvery black duck fabric for your cushions. And get that Castaway style in your throw pillows with indoor/outdoor fabric in contemporary striped patterns like graphite and off-white stripes and platinum gray, silver, cream, and yellow stripes.

Ka’teen Shows Enchanting Ambiance Makes Your Patio The Place To Be

Sometimes the view you want to savor is right in front of you. You want the focus on intimacy and the feeling of being tucked away from the world for a few hours with treasured friends or your special someone. You’re looking for just the right ambiance. You’re looking for Ka’teen.

With its cozy tropical feel, Ka’teen positively drips with ambiance. Their use of greenery and lighting give tables a feeling of being private and secluded. And their use of rattan furniture paired with tropical upholstery patterns seals the deal on your unforgettable evening. 

Get there with your patio by focussing on lighting, greenery, a sound system, and perhaps a water feature. Use rattan or other woven furniture to offer those natural textures. And try upholstering the overstuffed seat cushions of your outdoor loveseat in beige, taupe, and coral orange-toned tamarack bark pattern with back cushions in solid deep coral. For chairs, add pillows as cushions in solids, stripes, and southwest patterns within that deep, rich, earthy color scheme.

How The Polo Lounge Proves That Classic Is Classic For A Reason

In L.A., iconic places come and go as quickly as a summer blockbuster. There are exceptions, however. Before L.A. was even officially L.A., the Beverly Hills Hotel — and its legendary Polo Lounge — set the standard for class and luxury. 

In a town more committed to trendy than timeless, the Polo Lounge has been one of those places to see and be seen for decades. Step out on the Polo Lounge’s patio, and you’ll see right away that it lives up to its reputation

Set on foundations of brick, it’s an enchanting waltz through brightly contrasting white and green. Elegant vintage white dining chairs are classic and comfortable with striking green cushions. Half-moon-shaped booths welcome in white, topped with green cushions, and backed in a tropical pattern. All surrounded by foliage and shady spots under — you guessed it — green and white umbrellas. 

Bring this look into your patio with white furniture and seat cushions in ivy green Sunbrella fabric. And for throw pillows or bench backing, try a gold and green foliage pattern or a tropical pattern in shades of teal and taupe. The key is contrasting classic colors.

And Then The Formosa Café Said, “Well, Yes, A Patio Can Swagger.”

Considered one of the best Chinese food restaurants in L.A., the Formosa was also a legendary hangout for the starriest of stars like Sinatra, Bogart, Elvis Presley, and Ava Gardner. And no wonder. 

Inside, it’s a collage of warm, saturated, deep reds and greens, iconic black and white photos, and vintage lighting decor. (Also, there’s a 1904 trolley car!) Step outside to a patio with a wall of greenery, giving it a hideaway feeling, and a bar carrying on the deep red, black, and white from inside. But it’s the furniture upholstery that has us wanting the designer’s autograph. 

Wooden two-top tables are paired with chairs and benches upholstered in pale green with back cushions in stripes and shades of green. Tall four-tops have stools resplendent in rich green leather (or faux leather)—complete with a flourish of brass tacks.

Let your patio swagger with bold vintage decor, rich colors in a bar or accent wall, and greenery that sets off the space. Add bar stools in antique green leather-grained vinyl or smooth emerald green faux leather. Add a bench, table, and chairs, too, cushioned in oasis green and backed with pillows in solid fern green and/or black and white stripes.

The Top 4 Becomes 5 — Because It’s No Secret L.A. Has Amazing Patios

There’s a throughline in our top 4 resto-bar patios in L.A. — you do you. Each of our patios is clear on what they’re about, and they triple down on that “thing.”

With Castaway’s spectacular view, Ka’teen’s magical ambiance, The Polo Lounge’s classic scene, or Formosa’s soulful swagger, each one offers a truly unique experience by owning who they are. You do you, and you can too. That includes boldly owning the right upholstery for your patio. And for that, we’d love to help.

And we can’t resist one more entry to our list. Partly because of their perseverance after a catastrophic fire.

But mostly because of their ridiculously charming floral-themed style. Wabi On Rose doesn’t just have the most clever name pretty much ever. Its patio is positively overflowing with flowers and seating featuring dining chairs and fluted booths upholstered in pale pink rose—like eco-friendly outdoor punch pink tweed or (for dry climates) a pink rose Crypton chenille.  

We thought that it, for sure, warranted a mention. Okay, so now it’s a top 5 resto-bar patios in L.A list. Cheers. 

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