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Los Angeles

A city in southern California.

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Drinker's Intro to Los Angeles

  • Oct 5, 1999
  • by
Pros: Patrons serve as entertainment, rarely a cover charge unless there's live entertainment, impossible to be the drunkest person in a city of excess

Cons: Idea of sitting down for a "few" "pints" lost on Angelenos, little inbetween as far as dives and hipster joints go, "martini" means one of many sugary cocktails on a menu with outrageous prices, no good local beer

Boozing it up in Los Angeles is a dodgy proposition, given that everybody drives and few Angelenos do things in moderation. This is not a drinker's town; few, if any, places have grasped the 'pub' idea of good beer, chummy service and reasonably clean places to sit, respectable bathrooms and a small menu of tasty things to sop up the beer with; you are left with an assortment of dives or places where people squint at you unsettlingly trying to figure out if you might be "somebody." A strict non-smoking law has crippled the boozing industry, though searching for law-breaking places with ashtrays makes for good entertainment. Herewith a haphazard guide to a few select places, not written for daytime visitors or teetotalers.

North [Sunset Strip]: Oh, stop, already. Put your barrister on speed-dial on your StarTAC phone lest you get fed up and decide to just take a punch at somebody. A club for Beautiful People that boasts overpriced and poorly mixed drinks, mindless people who abuse plastic surgery, and too much of a crowd. Not worth the bother, though the people next to you might start telling you that they're dating even though they're cousins and there's nothing really wrong with that, is there? Meanwhile, you're trying to get outside to smoke, and somebody else is telling you that North clientele don't smoke because "them's quality people here." A circus of the idea that beautiful frequently means dumb.

Three of Clubs [Hollywood]: Owned by the same people as North, catering to a crowd only marginally fed up with North. Allows smoking in select areas. Loud, noisy, dark; good place to go if you have a large group and weren't expecting a place to sit anyway. Efficient bartending despite crowd; don't count on getting out sober. The previous tenant was the "Bargain Clown Mart," and that sign remains.

Coconut Teazer [Sunset Strip]: "Our Motto: Not As Trashy As You Thought." Overly efficient live music venue; noise will force most people, smoking or non, onto the patio. Beware 'fishbowl'-sized beverages, but these are easily mopped up with one of the most clever bar snack concepts around, a non-stop quesadilla grill, dirt cheap, toppings aplenty. Recommended if you like the band, or are taking a tourist out on the town.

Sky Bar [Sunset Strip]: Oh, stop, already. Celeb-heavy. "Our Motto: Where The Stars Come to Mis-behave." Menu pricing needs FTC intervention, drinks are uneven in quality, as is service. The amusement of crowds of 'beautiful people' trying to interact with other 'beautiful people' makes some of the pain of this place bearable, but book a room if you want to use a bathroom at any point. Arrive early for any sort of seating or standing room.

Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax: Has karaoke on weekends. A historic dive, "discovered" by Hollywood types; look for celebs whose star is waxing or waning (Jennifer Aniston, previously; currently, that woman who was the school secretary in 'Ferris Bueller'). Packed, beer and wine only, but large selection and cheap prices. A wild time on weekends unrelated to the write-ups of the Market in tourist guides.

House of Blues [Sunset Strip]: Iffy acoustics for the price crossed with an unsettling feeling that a "House of Blues" is not supposed to have restroom attendants. Bartenders have a bad reputation for "forgetting" to give back change; bring small bills. No paradise, but diverse clientele and size means anything objectionable is escapable, and it boasts the bar-none largest and most out-and-out luxe "VIP" area I've seen yet. (Dan Ackroyd! Sharon Stone! Plus relative tranquility, plush sofas, and luxury-hotel-quality service. That area only, though.)

Molly Malone's [Fairfax]: Originally written up in 'The Economist' for their strong pro-smoking stance, they are now apologetically asking people to step outside. Live music is far too loud, but patrons are friendly and this is not too far removed from an actual "pub."

Ye Olde King's Head [Santa Monica]: "An authentic British pub..." Every visiting Canadian is dragged here to snigger at what can be passed off as a pub here. Still, this remains one of the most relaxing places on the list. Clientele ranges from local Brit ex-pat regulars to French tourists. Menu is reliable pub fare, for once. Curry is within puking distance as it is with all British pubs; the Indian restaurant across the street is excellent.

Buchanan Arms [Burbank]: A probably more authentic British pub, or at least a pleasant middlebrow place that looks like small-town Canada. Friendly, greasy menu, actual quiet place to go and lift a pint or two with your nearest and dearest. There is a small import store adjacent.

The Cat and Fiddle [Hollywood]: Claims to be a British pub. The most laughable of the lot in that matter, not even a distant cousin thereof, but still a satisfactory experience nonetheless. Gorgeous courtyard which is sadly packed on weekend evenings; go in the afternoon or during the week if you'd like any sort of peace. Service varies wildly.

Canter's Kibbitz Room [Fairfax]: Rivals bars in bowling alleys for depressing atmosphere, and mentioned here only for that. Skip next door to Canter's for a sandwich and forget the drinking idea.

Barney's Beanery [Hollywood]: An "institution," albeit one that needs to clean their beer dispensing equipment more often. Wildly large selection of beers, bottled and on tap, available. Entertainment includes karaoke and lingerie shows, yet still manages to attract a moderately respectable clientele. Food is hit and miss but mostly hit for bar food. Ditto service. Last report is that staff tells you about the no-smoking law while handing you an ashtray.

El Coyote [Beverly Dr]: Not strictly a drinking experience, but the food is so bad and the margaritas so cheap, potent and notorious that it seems to need mentioning. Notable for being where Sharon Tate had her last meal. The food seems to be more of a threat than anything else: tostadas piled high with canned green beans and no cheese? And why are there cheap plastic toys in the entrance? And just why do the margaritas glow, anyway? Drew Barrymore has reported to be a fan of them, nevertheless, and the place is probably more resistant to drought/fire/earthquake/famine/etc than cockroaches, so it seemed worth a mention.


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K. Mennie ()
Member Since: Oct 27, 2010
Last Login: Nov 23, 2010 02:45 PM UTC
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Los Angeles is home to just under 4 million people, making it the 2nd largest city in the United States. It was founded in 1781 and its surrounding metro area is home to people from hundreds of ethnic groups. Today, Los Angeles is home to some of the richest and poorest people in the country and continues to attract thousands of new residents every year.
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