People love to hate Los Angeles. Tell someone you're visiting or moving here and steel yourself for the barrage of unsolicited jabs about how "the people are so fake," or "the traffic is unbearable," or "there's not enough water." OK, well, that last one is totally true and we have no clue how to fix it. Drought aside, Los Angeles is full of great places to eat and drink. Here's a handy guide to all our favorite spots.
WHERE TO DRINK
6202 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, 90038
This place is owned by skate photographer Atiba Jefferson and it's one of the few places in Hollywood that isn't crawling with tourists and/or dickheads. It's got a big outdoor backyard space, stiff drinks, and televisions screening movies for those nights when you want to zone out and not talk to anybody. Show up early and it's very mellow; show up late and you'll get drinks spilled all over your shoes. Why did you wear white shoes for going out anyway?
Cha Cha Lounge
2375 Glendale Blvd, Silver Lake, CA 90039
Not to be confused with the restaurant Cha Cha Cha (which is also great), Cha Cha Lounge is what you'd get if a giant ate every element of hipster kitsch, then threw up. I mean this totally in a good way, though—the bar is this weird tiki hut, there's a foosball table, and a truly bizarre cross-section of crap culture repped on its walls. On top of that, it has an incredible vending machine in the corner that sells everything from WWE cards to t-shirts to home pregnancy tests. You didn't hear it from us, but you can park in the Bank of America parking lot nearby and nobody will give you any shit. Oh, and if it's too crowded, just hit the labyrinthine, German-style Red Lion Tavern across the street.
864 N. Virgil Ave, East Hollywood, 90029
Sure, it's cramped. And the drinks are pricey. And they just started charging for karaoke. And there's a two-drink minimum. And the bathrooms are gross. And the people behind the bar are so rude that, at points, I've been convinced I'm on a hidden camera prank show, but… Actually, I have no idea why people continue to drink here. Anyone?
1455 Sunset Blvd, Echo Park, 90026
There are a lot of bars in Echo Park fighting to claim the title of "most popular bar to get shitty drunk in without shame." Some say it's Gold Room. Others will go to bat for Little Joy. Unfortunately for them, there can be only one championship belt holder: Short Stop. While it boasts some of the most popular dance nights in town, Short Stop really shines as a place to wreck yourself before a Dodger game. They do $3 PBRs in the hours before the game, and it's packed with die-hard fans. This is the only place you should go if you want to have a sloppy argument about whether or not Don Mattingly should have pulled Kershaw in the 7th inning of Game 1 of the NLDS last year. The answer is "yes," by the way.
Church of Scientology Celebrity Center International,
5930 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, 90028
This is the restaurant in Scientology's "Celebrity Center," but it's open to everyone. Their sommelier was once named "best sommelier in Southern California" by the Restaurant Writer's Association, so their wine selection is really good—provided you can convince yourself that it hasn't been spiked with Scientology mind-control drugs.
1222 W 7th Street, MacArthur Park, 90017
Monty Bar has the advantage of not being totally "discovered" yet, mostly because it's nestled between Downtown and Westlake/MacArthur Park on a fairly desolate strip of 7th Street. Of course, that anonymity is being ruined with this paragraph, so if you really love this bar and appreciate how spacious and not trendy it is, feel free to draft an angry email right now. Forgive us.
2640 N. Figueroa Street, Lincoln Heights, 90065
Yes, this place is all the way out in Lincoln Heights. Yes, it's called "Footsies," which makes you think about elementary school flirting. But who cares when you can enjoy their free jukebox? A free jukebox means you can play music that doesn't suck for as long as you want (or until the DJ shows up at 8 PM).
K-Town Karaoke Bars
American-style karaoke, a.k.a. forcing a bar full of strangers to listen as you realize that you don't actually know the words to "Lose Yourself," is awful. Koreatown is full of spots where you do the other kind of karaoke, the kind where you and your friends get a little room of your own with a long booth seat and a huge table covered in tiny liquor bottles. If you're lucky, the English part of the Korean-made karaoke system will have something as contemporary as old Taylor Swift, but if not, that's fine because they have plenty of Boyz II Men. You better hope the door-to-door strippers show up before you've had more than two bottles of soju, because their services can get pretty expensive once you've lost all your inhibitions. Tip: The button to push when you want your song to start is the one labeled "시작." A lot of people struggle with that.
Pinz Bowling Center
12655 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, 91604 Like everything else in the Valley, this place is tucked into a strip mall. Don't let that scare you away. Pinz is a great bowling alley and, according to a Google Image search I just did, Justin Bieber and Nelly have both bowled there at some point. There's a diner inside called Jerry's where you can order terrible food and pretty good drinks, but you can also get drinks delivered directly to your lane by pressing a button on the bowling console. It's probably how all the "celebrities" do it.
Dan Sung Sa
3317 W 6th St, Koreatown, CA 90020
Named after a legendary movie house in Seoul, Dan Sung Sa is a greatplace to knock back soju and snacks. Just arrive early and grab a big booth, and then keep texting more people to join you as you get drunker and drunker, and the place gets noisier and noisier. The snacks on the extensive menu are good and everything, but they're just a way to occupy your hands, and soak up the alcohol before you stumble into the karaoke bar next door around midnight.
Bigfoot Lodge West
10939 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034
The hunting lodge aesthetic seemed cooler when we were all going through that "lumbersexual" phase, but even though we've moved on to greener sartorial pastures, this place still has some nice happy hour cocktails and a charming ambiance worthy of return visits. The live music might downright suck at times, but good places to drink on the West side are so few-and-far-between that you'll let it slide.
939 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015 Fight it as long as you care to, but eventually you'll find yourself at one of LA's many poolside bars. You'll hate yourself (and your body) if you go to brofests like The Standard or Roosevelt, but Hotel Fig's disheveled, quirky building and decent music brings the douchiness down to more manageable levels. After a couple drinks you might even begrudgingly have a good time. It's closed right now, but is scheduled to reopen in time for pool season.
303 E. 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Because no career politician would ever consider upsetting the ready-for-outrage hydra that is MADD by actually passing legislation that would allow California bars to stay open past 2 AM, we're forced to find weird, quasi-legal loopholes to stay inebriated, such as the inception of the "afterhours club." The Overpass is one of the better ones. There's regular cool local DJ sets and cheap (cans of) beer. Check online to make sure there's actually something going on the night you want to go or you risk showing up to a locked gate and looking like an idiot in front of your date.
Check out more of the VICE Guide to Los Angeles.
Update: A listing has been removed from this post due to unreliable information about the venue.