The Best Dive Bars in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is famous for the (tired) glitz and glamour of the Sunset Strip, but those of us who’ve lived here for at least a few years know that the best drinking in the Southland can be done at the grittiest, most down and dirty watering holes, scattered throughout the city like so many rat dens in concrete walls. Our dive bars have provided inspiration to any number of writers (Charles Bukowski) and musicians (Tom Waits), and here, we’d like to sing their praises.

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WHITEHORSE INN: Do you like free popcorn? How about free hot dogs? Oh, you do? In that case, do not bypass the strange and lonesome stretch of Western Avenue north of Sunset that's home to the Whitehorse Inn when you're looking for your next favorite watering hole. Stop in and indulge in some food giveaways and divey delightfulness.

The Whitehorse Inn is located at 1532 North Western Avenue, East Hollywood/Thai Town (323) 462-8088

THE DRAWING ROOM: If you're lucky enough to find a parking spot in Los Feliz on a Friday or Saturday night (you won't be, but whatever) the Drawing Room is a great alternative to the neighborhood's more swanky bars. It comes with a dartboard and a jukebox, yes, but more importantly, it comes with huge pours of whiskey and dark, cracked leather booths within which to consume your poison.

The Drawing Room is located at 1800 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Feliz (323) 665-0135

CHEZ JAY: This restaurant and bar has been a Westside favorite for decades. It's a little small and cramped, but where else can you go in Santa Monica and enjoy a steak as well as a jukebox? No place, that's where.

Chez Jay is located at 1657 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica (310) 395-1741


The Frolic Room (Photo by -Clearlight- via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

THE FROLIC ROOM: If it's good enough for Bukowski, it's good enough for us. The Frolic Room is squished into the armpit of Hollywood Boulevard that is the area between the Pantages Theater and the corner of Vine, and was reportedly one of the famous drunkard's scribe's favorite places to drink.

The Frolic Room is located at 6245 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood; (323) 462-5890

PINEAPPLE HILL: This place gets its street cred from the fact that it's located in a strip mall in the Valley and there's nothing more genuine in the world than that. But this little Sherman Oaks gem also has some of the strongest pours around, and last we checked they were handing out free popcorn (please see WHITE HORSE). Stay strong, 818.

Pineapple Hill is located at 4454 Van Nuys Boulevard, Sherman Oaks; (818) 789-0679

THE ROOST: A warning to those considering spending their evening at The Roost: The overhead lighting will reveal truths. So if you're the type of person who likes to hide under the cover of darkness, this pace is not your jam. On the other hand, if you're the type of person who likes to drink at a place that is reminiscent of your elementary school cafeteria, sally forth and land at The Roost.

The Roost is located at 3100 Los Feliz Boulevard, Atwater Village; (323) 664-7272

THE DAILY PINT: This place is beloved by scotch aficionados the city over, but it's also well-liked for its many extra curricular activities. Want to drink a Macallan whilst playing a round of pool? How about a game of shuffleboard with a Laphroaig in hand? You can do that at the Daily Pint. It's also great for Sunday game days, although it does get crowded.

The Daily Pint is located at 2310 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica; (310) 450-7631

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CLUB TEE GEE: Atwater Village is the new place for hipsters to go to raise their children (and mate, singletons!) so it fits that there should be a fantastic dive bar in the neighborhood. Club Tee Gee is known for its impressive pours as well as its friendly locals, and like most other places on this list, its jukebox.

Club Tee Gee is located at 3210 Glendale Boulevard, Atwater Village; (323) 669-9631

THE BUCCANEER: We didn't forget you, friends to the north! Also because you have one of the best dive bars around. The Buccanner is, of course, pirate-themed, and really, there's little more that we could want from a dive bar than the chance to say "arr." Thank you, Sierra Madre.

The Buccaneer is located at 70 W Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre; (626) 355-9045

HANK'S BAR: Downtown LA has been getting overrun with slick new bars owned by big corporations and catering to fancy businesspeople, but Hank's serves to remind us that we're still in a neighborhood that's up and coming, dammit, and that there's still plenty of grit to our city's financial district. Hank's is good for cheap beer and people who are trying to avoid Silver Lake.

Hank's Bar is located at 840 S Grand Avenue, Downtown; (213) 623-7718