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17 Essential Dive Bars in Los Angeles, Winter 2020

Low-key places to drink with the local set

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Great neighborhood watering holes populate just about every corner of this massive city, playing to locals who don’t always feel like getting behind the wheel for a drink. Best of all, these dependable haunts are frequented by true regulars who have been working the jukebox for decades and know everyone in the place by name. Sure, they’re called dive bars, but the truth is these places are all about low-key fun, stiff drinks, a sense of community, and — on the right night — a little bit of anything-can-happen magic. Here now are 17 essential dive bars in LA.

Removed: Cozy Inn, Kibitz Room, Jumbo’s, Crawfords, Hinano Cafe

Added: Backstage Culver City, Ye Rustic, Hank’s DTLA, Paul’s Tavern Mission Hills, Copper Bucket Reseda

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Paul's Tavern

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15425 Chatsworth St
Los Angeles, CA 91345
(818) 891-4848

Paul’s Tavern in Mission Hills does the basics right. The drinks are cheap, there are string lights glowing inside the space, and the pool tables get prominent placement inside. Come in, grab a pint or three, watch some TV, and enjoy.

2. Copper Bucket

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17715 Vanowen St
Reseda, CA 91335
(818) 344-3334
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The Copper Bucket is a Reseda staple, first opened in 1951. Drinkers still come through for the delightfully kitschy wood paneling, neon signs, and weekend crowds. Add in daily hours from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., and this place feels like just the right kind of dive.

3. The Good Nite

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10721 Burbank Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 505-3887
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Though some dive bars pride themselves on avoiding karaoke, the Good Nite embraces it. Its success is dependent on reasonably priced drinks and a masterful karaoke DJ. The former is always a welcome sight, and the latter keeps drunken and potentially cringeworthy performances at bay. Though dive-y, the Good Nite’s setup feels like a lounge, so select a drink and a song, and nab a taco from one of the vendors out front.

4. Fox Fire Room

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12516 W Magnolia Blvd
Valley Village, CA 91607
(818) 766-1344

Valley Village’s Foxfire Room is something of a dive bar legend, having played the backdrop to endless Valley tales of weird nights gone weirder. Step into the unassuming spot on Magnolia and enter a time warp where the Valley still feels like an ‘80s movie — or earlier.

5. The 35er Bar

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12 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 356-9315
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Located on Colorado Boulevard’s retail hub, it would be easy to assume the mellow 35er hangout was a faux relic playing to another age, but the truth is the iconic bar has been pouring since the early 1960s, when the stretch was Route 66. The 35er is still a great hang for locals looking to drink on the cheap and watch sports right in the thick of Pasadena.

6. The Offbeat

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6316 York Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90042
(323) 739-9696
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Hoards of Highland Park locals lamented the closing of longtime dive Dusty’s in 2013. The Offbeat’s owners reworked this neighborhood watering hole into one that boasts dive elements, but with stylish drinks, screenings of funky TV shows, and live music.

7. Ye Rustic Inn

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1831 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 662-5757

The wings are the thing at Ye Rustic Inn in Los Feliz. The crowds now skew decidedly hipster, but there’s still room inside the dim strip mall bar to belly up for a pint or two, some of the city’s best chicken wings, and great conversation.

8. Al's Cocktails

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413 1/2 West Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 458-6470

Al’s is the kind of unassuming dive bar that every community deserves. The San Gabriel haunt pours stiff drinks from a dimly-lit interior that’s lined with old kitschy bits of ephemera and just the right amount of neon. Stop in and make a few new friends.

9. Frolic Room

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6245 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 462-5890

Hollywood's essential dive bar only gets better as the place gets more crowded. While the drinks are strong and cheap, the scene is the main draw, with everyone from scenesters to old-timers mixing and enjoying the general revelry.

10. HMS Bounty

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3357 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 385-7275
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This Koreatown classic seems to be lifted straight out of the late ‘60s, with a convivial after work and early evening crowd. The food probably won't wow, but the drinks are dirt cheap and the old maritime vibes will feel just right while taking down a few beers.

11. Hank's Bar

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840 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 623-7718
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Hank’s has had its ups and downs over the years in Downtown Los Angeles. The Grand Avenue bar briefly closed back in 2015, but has since reopened and is now going strong, some 61 years on. The red glow, the inexpensive drinks, and the lively locals make this a place to drink in Downtown that offers more fun at half the price of those other stuffy cocktail bars.

12. The Living Room

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2636 Crenshaw Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
(323) 735-8748

Don’t overlook the magic of this longtime haunt. Stationed next to Chef Marilyn’s on the border of Jefferson Park and West Adams, the Living Room keeps the vibe chill as DJs spin old-school grooves. A jazz band performs the blues on Sunday nights.

13. Backstage Bar & Grill

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10400 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 839-3892
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Backstage Bar & Grill is somewhat famous in Culver City circles, thanks specifically to its location near the Sony building and its stellar karaoke setup. Celebs have been known to drop in from time to time, but mostly this is a place to belt out a few tunes and turn up with a group of friends looking to hang out under the dim red glow of the lights inside.

14. Tattle Tale Room

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5401 Sepulveda Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 390-2489
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A true dive bar classic, this Culver City icon is the kind of place that's just a little bit grungier than other bars in a really great way. Just stay cool, sip on cheap beers, and don’t forget about the karaoke.

15. The Glen

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7356 Stewart and Gray Rd
Downey, CA 90241
(562) 928-8280

One of Downey’s best places to drink is the Glen, a simple spot for pool, karaoke, and suds. The few-frills environment doesn’t fall victim to the usual trappings of a dive bar — no dusty lampshades or weird old art — and instead focuses on a good time for all.

16. Ercoles

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1101 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 372-1997
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With its twinkly lights, surly bartenders, and burgers made behind the bar, what's not to love about this Manhattan Beach favorite, which dates all the way back to 1927?

17. Joe Jost's

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2803 E Anaheim St
Long Beach, CA 90804
(562) 439-5446
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Dive bars don't get much older (or more famous) than Joe Jost's, a Long Beach essential for going on 100 years. Yes, the place is that old — and that cool.

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1. Paul's Tavern

15425 Chatsworth St, Los Angeles, CA 91345

Paul’s Tavern in Mission Hills does the basics right. The drinks are cheap, there are string lights glowing inside the space, and the pool tables get prominent placement inside. Come in, grab a pint or three, watch some TV, and enjoy.

15425 Chatsworth St
Los Angeles, CA 91345

2. Copper Bucket

17715 Vanowen St, Reseda, CA 91335

The Copper Bucket is a Reseda staple, first opened in 1951. Drinkers still come through for the delightfully kitschy wood paneling, neon signs, and weekend crowds. Add in daily hours from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., and this place feels like just the right kind of dive.

17715 Vanowen St
Reseda, CA 91335

3. The Good Nite

10721 Burbank Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

Though some dive bars pride themselves on avoiding karaoke, the Good Nite embraces it. Its success is dependent on reasonably priced drinks and a masterful karaoke DJ. The former is always a welcome sight, and the latter keeps drunken and potentially cringeworthy performances at bay. Though dive-y, the Good Nite’s setup feels like a lounge, so select a drink and a song, and nab a taco from one of the vendors out front.

10721 Burbank Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601

4. Fox Fire Room

12516 W Magnolia Blvd, Valley Village, CA 91607

Valley Village’s Foxfire Room is something of a dive bar legend, having played the backdrop to endless Valley tales of weird nights gone weirder. Step into the unassuming spot on Magnolia and enter a time warp where the Valley still feels like an ‘80s movie — or earlier.

12516 W Magnolia Blvd
Valley Village, CA 91607

5. The 35er Bar

12 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105

Located on Colorado Boulevard’s retail hub, it would be easy to assume the mellow 35er hangout was a faux relic playing to another age, but the truth is the iconic bar has been pouring since the early 1960s, when the stretch was Route 66. The 35er is still a great hang for locals looking to drink on the cheap and watch sports right in the thick of Pasadena.

12 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105

6. The Offbeat

6316 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042

Hoards of Highland Park locals lamented the closing of longtime dive Dusty’s in 2013. The Offbeat’s owners reworked this neighborhood watering hole into one that boasts dive elements, but with stylish drinks, screenings of funky TV shows, and live music.

6316 York Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90042

7. Ye Rustic Inn

1831 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

The wings are the thing at Ye Rustic Inn in Los Feliz. The crowds now skew decidedly hipster, but there’s still room inside the dim strip mall bar to belly up for a pint or two, some of the city’s best chicken wings, and great conversation.

1831 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

8. Al's Cocktails

413 1/2 West Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

Al’s is the kind of unassuming dive bar that every community deserves. The San Gabriel haunt pours stiff drinks from a dimly-lit interior that’s lined with old kitschy bits of ephemera and just the right amount of neon. Stop in and make a few new friends.

413 1/2 West Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776

9. Frolic Room

6245 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Hollywood's essential dive bar only gets better as the place gets more crowded. While the drinks are strong and cheap, the scene is the main draw, with everyone from scenesters to old-timers mixing and enjoying the general revelry.

6245 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

10. HMS Bounty

3357 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

This Koreatown classic seems to be lifted straight out of the late ‘60s, with a convivial after work and early evening crowd. The food probably won't wow, but the drinks are dirt cheap and the old maritime vibes will feel just right while taking down a few beers.

3357 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010

11. Hank's Bar

840 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Hank’s has had its ups and downs over the years in Downtown Los Angeles. The Grand Avenue bar briefly closed back in 2015, but has since reopened and is now going strong, some 61 years on. The red glow, the inexpensive drinks, and the lively locals make this a place to drink in Downtown that offers more fun at half the price of those other stuffy cocktail bars.

840 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017

12. The Living Room

2636 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

Don’t overlook the magic of this longtime haunt. Stationed next to Chef Marilyn’s on the border of Jefferson Park and West Adams, the Living Room keeps the vibe chill as DJs spin old-school grooves. A jazz band performs the blues on Sunday nights.

2636 Crenshaw Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

13. Backstage Bar & Grill

10400 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

Backstage Bar & Grill is somewhat famous in Culver City circles, thanks specifically to its location near the Sony building and its stellar karaoke setup. Celebs have been known to drop in from time to time, but mostly this is a place to belt out a few tunes and turn up with a group of friends looking to hang out under the dim red glow of the lights inside.

10400 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

14. Tattle Tale Room

5401 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

A true dive bar classic, this Culver City icon is the kind of place that's just a little bit grungier than other bars in a really great way. Just stay cool, sip on cheap beers, and don’t forget about the karaoke.

5401 Sepulveda Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230

15. The Glen

7356 Stewart and Gray Rd, Downey, CA 90241

One of Downey’s best places to drink is the Glen, a simple spot for pool, karaoke, and suds. The few-frills environment doesn’t fall victim to the usual trappings of a dive bar — no dusty lampshades or weird old art — and instead focuses on a good time for all.

7356 Stewart and Gray Rd
Downey, CA 90241

Related Maps

16. Ercoles

1101 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

With its twinkly lights, surly bartenders, and burgers made behind the bar, what's not to love about this Manhattan Beach favorite, which dates all the way back to 1927?

1101 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

17. Joe Jost's

2803 E Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804

Dive bars don't get much older (or more famous) than Joe Jost's, a Long Beach essential for going on 100 years. Yes, the place is that old — and that cool.

2803 E Anaheim St
Long Beach, CA 90804

Related Maps