The 5 Best Dive Bars in Los Angeles
Because life’s too short for $25 cocktails
We’ve had it up to here with the overly complicated cocktails menu, the high tabs that come with its exotic ingredients and the labored “mixology” that keeps us waiting when all we want is a drink! May we suggest a handful of dive bars that aim to serve you a cheap vodka-tonic or beer without any pretension? Bottoms up!
This dark, narrow room off Hollywood Boulevard is a great place to grab a cocktail before or after a performance next door at the Pantages Theater. The mural of Golden Era Hollywood actors adds to the noir atmosphere. Be sure to ask for popcorn (it’s Jiffy Pop made fresh and free to go with whatever you drink). Bonus: It opens at 11 a.m.
6245 Hollywood Blvd.; 323-462-5890
A Polynesian-themed bar open since 1961, this tiny Los Feliz joint is crowded with all manner of tiki decor and patrons enjoying brightly colored $9 tropical cocktails. No beer, no wine and no credit cards; however, you do get a floor show involving chants and a mechanical bull if you order the Blood & Sand or the Ooga Booga.
4427 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; 323-669-9381 or tiki-ti.com
King Eddy Saloon
This downtown bar has been open since the 1930s. The basement is a former speakeasy, wino poet Charles Bukowski used to drink here and today, $4 gets you a can of Miller High Life.
131 E. Fifth St.; 213-629-2023 or kingeddysaloon.com
Jumbo’s Clown Room
Snug in a strip mall, this burlesque bar is a Los Angeles institution. (Courtney Love even worked here back in the day.) Avoid weekend evenings, when the line of hipsters waiting to get in takes hours; instead, head in with a pal after work and enjoy tattooed women dancing to Guns N’ Roses while you sip a strong cocktail, you rebel, you.
5153 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 323-666-1187 or jumbos.com
This Korea Town bar is set in the lobby of the Gaylord Apartments, whose neon rooftop sign adds to its divey cred. Jack Webb of ’60s cop show Dragnet used to hang out here, and there’s still a gumshoe vibe to the place. Bonus: You get to eyeball the apartment lobby, which you have to walk through to get to the restroom.
3357 Wilshire Blvd.; 213-385-7275 or thehmsbounty.com