Bartenders are at their establishment so often that when they get a chance to enjoy a night off, they usually like to keep close to home and go somewhere low-key. Eater asked bartenders around town what their favorite dive bars and under-the-radar drinking spots are, from Downtown to the Westside. And when it comes to what's in the cup, most of the time it's beer, wine, or booze neat. No mixology on nights off.Read More
L.A. Bartenders Share Their Favorite Drinking Spots
Connie and Ted's Seafood
Julian Cox, star bartender at such places at Picca, Petty Cash, and Manhattan Beach's Circa, likes to drink at this seafood shack in West Hollywood, where bartender Laura Lindsay makes "killer drinks." Generally preferring anything on Lindsay's menu, Cox still opts for wine with the oysters.
Matthew Biancaniello enjoys the ambiance at the Ritz-Carlton in the Marina. He loves sitting outside once a week while watching the boats and sipping a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. In terms of cocktails, he'll get a Cynar on the rocks, gin and tonic with extra lime, or will walk the bartenders through a Mexican Negroni. But generally, he doesn't really drink cocktails.
Cari Hah of the new Peking Tavern, as well as Cole's, loves the whiskey selection at this Little Tokyo bar. The prices are pretty good, to boot.
Daniel Eun, bartender at The Varnish, says this karaoke bar or "NRB" as Koreans call it (short for No-Rae-Bang) is his go-to drinking spot. This under-the-radar place is best experienced with a bottle of whiskey, dried goods, and endless singing. He ends up here a couple of times a month, at least.
Cari Hah also likes this bar in Little Tokyo where an older Japanese bartender named Joe "truly doesn't give a f***." She orders the Yamazaki neat and enjoys the ambiance (though it consist of "crappy" karaoke on some nights).
Jumbo's Clown Room
Josh Goldman of Acabar likes the "ambiance" at Jumbo's Clown Room, as well as the full bar, where he gets two beers and two spirits neat because he's a "thirsty guy." He also says, if you want to feel like owning the place, go at 4 p.m. when they open.
Aidan Demarest, owner of Neat in Glendale, likes this dive in Studio City, which has "no windows." The "tiny joint," as he calls it, is close to home. It's a great spot to hash out "a few of life's little battles with a good friend."
The Thirsty Crow
On Sunday nights, Eveleigh bartender Dave Kupchinsky likes to hang out at this whiskey-centric bar in Silver Lake, where they play live jazz.
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The Drawing Room
Dave Kupchinsky also likes drinking at this classic dive bar in Los Feliz since he used to live a block away and says it still, "feels like home."
Justin Pike of The Tasting Kitchen likes this dive in Playa del Rey, where everything comes in a basket. He last time he was there, a customer was drinking beer out of a pitcher. To that, says Pike, "why waste a glass?"
Del Monte Speakeasy
Gabriella Mlynarcyzk of ink likes hang around in Venice since that's the only neighborhood that's close by where she lives. Her picks include the iconic Hinano, and also this speakeasy near the Boardwalk, especially for the whiskey sours.
Joe's Great American Bar & Grill
The Corner Door's Beau du Bois likes Joe's in Burbank, mostly for the live entertainment, and cheap draft beers served in massive jugs that take two hands to hold.
Birds Rotisserie Chicken Cafe
Beau du Bois also likes to go to this Franklin Village spot with his wife, where they tuck into a corner, then knock back a few beer/shot combos paired with a foot of onion rings.