Big things come in small packages. You can’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. These are all pearls of wisdom, but not ones anyone particularly abides by anymore – in fact, the only time people use them anymore is in retrospect (i.e., “Well Ray, she was definitely hot, but now this damn rash won’t go away. I guess you really can’t judge a book by its cover.”). But allow me to break tradition by telling you – beforehand – that if you go to Lost & Found and think it’s a shithole, you shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Lost & Found has been sitting on the corner of Barrington and National for 38 years, and pretty much spits in the face of pandering to new patrons. Contemporary music? Nope. Dance floor? Nope. Beer on tap or energy drinks or decorations that don’t look like they were purchased at a garage sale in the late ’70s? No, no and holy crap you should SEE the stuff they have hanging on their walls – it’s like a time capsule!

But Lost & Found proves that big things come in small packages by offering huge pours and huge discounts, serving up wells for $3.75 all the time, while most bars don’t even offer that level of alcoholic awesomeness during happy hour. Of course, this kind of pricing in this kind of town doesn’t exactly bring out the best of Culver City’s up-all-nighters. And that’s kind of its appeal.

“The clientele’s shit, but fuck it – it’s a dive bar,” says Brian, a regular with the kind of blunt honesty that cuts right to the chase and the kind of vernacular usually reserved for sailors. “It’s full of scumbags. But it’s four dollar drinks and I don’t hafta deal with any assholes – except the bartender,” he adds with a laugh.

Said bartender’s name is Steve, and he looks old enough to be rife with pearls of wisdom. Not that he would share them with you. Steve has the personality of wet sand, but I am not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. His heavy-handed pours more than compensate for his gruff demeanor, and after just a little conversation, he turns out to be less of a grump than I originally assumed. I guess you can’t judge a book – oh, you get it.

Lost & Found isn’t the kind of place you’ll want to take a girl out to (unless you’re trying to get rid of her), it’s not exactly the kind of place where everyone knows your name (They really couldn’t care less.), and a dive bar this somber probably won’t be on your list of places to throw a raging party (unless it’s a pity party, in which case, you’ll be in good company), but staying off the nightlife radar is something the bar does intentionally. It keeps the regulars regular by staying mostly word of mouth, making itself found to those who need a place to unwind, and keeping the wound-up party animals relatively lost.

The bar especially caters to military veterans (from any era – Steve looks long in the tooth enough to have started bartending some time around the Civil War and was one of the youngest guys in the joint) and promotes itself as a bar for locals who have very little spare time and even less spare cash. With an outdated jukebox, a sparse bar and only a single pool table to save it from being empty, Lost & Found keeps its coolness hidden by offering a no-frills (Seriously, there are NO frills.) dive bar experience with the cheapest drinks and most numerous smoking areas in West Los Angeles.

“It’s fun. It’s all fun,” says Brian. But he doesn’t mean the kind of fun you’d feel if you were bouncing off the knick-knacked walls with all your friends. He means the kind of fun you’d feel if you finally found a parking spot on campus or if you just got out of prison. “It’s Lost & Found – and not often found,” he says.

So there might be a little dust on the bottle, but don’t let that fool you about what’s inside. (Ha! And you thought I was all idiomed out!)

For more information, call (310) 397-7772.