371 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles
This is the place where nerds and hipsters go when they’ve played one too many games of “Guitar Hero” at the crib. Imagine the genius of all your favorite ol’ school titles (“Gauntlet,” “Ms. Pac-Man”) under one roof. Now imagine being able to play those games while sucking down some booze. Heaven, people.
Hidden amongst the sleazy, run-down shops on a lowly block of Western in K-town, Barcade boasts a mixed crowd of geeks, trendies and hotties. Not to mention the fact that this fun dive bar is home to some of the best DJs spinning in all of Hell-A.
Just one word of advice: keep your greasy paws off the “Galaga” machine. That one’s mine!
757 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles
(323) 937-9210; www.littlebarlounge.com
Rumor has it that Little Bar used to be a Japanese speakeasy. In this day and age, it’s a neighborhood watering hole with no cover charge and daily drink specials to make you and your wallet happy.
No, they don’t sell food or any goodies like that, but they have an open door policy when it comes to ordering from other places. So head on down, order a large pizza from one of the nearby restaurants and make a room full of new friends.
CLUB GOOD HURT
12249 Venice Blvd., West Los Angeles
(310) 390-1076; www.goodhurt.net
When I need a Dr. Feelgood, there’s only one place to turn. Club Good Hurt is ripe with all the gimmicks of a top L.A. nightspot. From its bartenders dressed as naughty nurses to decor that preaches the virtues of modern meds, Good Hurt serves up as much ambiance as it does cold brews.
This Culver City bar has also hosted some of the finest local bands in SoCal. Despite its flashy surroundings, the crowd here is comprised of neighborhood guys and gals. A MUST for west siders.
1532 Western Ave. Los Angeles
(323) 462-8088; myspace.com/thewhitehorsehollywood
In up ’n coming neighborhood West Los Feliz (spanning Franklin to Sunset, between Western and Cahuenga) there lives a slew of indie kids and locals. For this collection of students, artists, broke folks and dirty stay-outs, there’s White Horse Lounge.
This is the kind of establishment for which the term “dive bar” was coined. Within its four walls are a pool table and a stylee jukebox with all the best jams.
If you’re nice and you arrive on the right night, management might even hook up you and yours with free hot dogs. But buyer beware: drinks here cost a mint ($8 for a vodka tonic), so don’t say I didn’t warn you!
1638 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles
(323) 464-7676; www.beautybar.com
One of the best franchise ideas in history. With locations in New York, San Francisco, Austin, San Diego and Las Vegas, Beauty Bar is where the truly pretty people go to bask in each other’s narcissism. Decor aside, a lot of fun stuff goes down on this side of Cahuenga: DJs like Frankie Chan and indie dance music phenom Har Mar Superstar spin here. Bands like Midnight Movies have made believers of even the biggest musical cynics.
Fabulously coiffed boys and girls will serve you tasty martinis and ice cold brews. Just be prepared to do some walking because street parking in this neck of the woods is scarce.
8851 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
Boys Town’s best watering hole. The cantina is known for its endless free-flow of margaritas and titillating man candy at every stop.
But it’s also a great place to go for cheap eats (Taco Tuesdays, all you can munch – $4.95) and karaoke with the funnest gay boys and their best girl friends. The one thing to remember is that this sidewalk bar fills up quick, so arrive early and mingle.
1562 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles
(323) 469-2449; www.bigwangswings.com
Featured in a recent episode of MTV’s “The Hills,” Big Wang’s is Hollywood’s premiere stylish sports bar. Hulking guys pair up with jeans-and-T-shirts girls over baskets of greasy yard bird. The best thing is, you don’t have to be a football/baseball/basketball/golf enthusiast to enjoy its offerings. They’ll meet even the most snooty palate halfway (The High Roller: 18 “wangs” and a bottle of Moet will warm that cold shoulder).
BIG FOOT LODGE
3172 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles
(323) 662-9227; www.bigfootlodge.com
You know it’s a hipster bar when they announce it’s Pabst Blue Ribbon night. The cool thing about Bigfoot Lodge is that it’s unabashedly Los Feliz.
Each night of the week houses a different gimmick – some of the better ones are Sunday “Bingo Night” and Wednesday “Club London Calling” for all you mods out there. With its happy hour (from 5p.m.-8 p.m.) and swingin’ singles atmosphere, only a complete dud would fail to have fun here.
4212 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles
(323) 668-0318; www.elcidla.com
Not even a secret at this point, but still a fun place, nonetheless. El Cid is a killer Silver Lake staple. The crowd here is comprised of all the vintage tee-clad cuties dancing to the best jams in their ratty old Chuck Taylors.
Rowdy boys and girls kiss their hellos, make-out, start shit, forgive and forget here on a weekly basis. Even bands like Pink Mochi have gotten in on the act; they recently played a show here.
If all that frivolity rubs you the wrong way, then never fear – El Cid hosts other fun events like Garage Comedy (a night of indie humor).
6021 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
(323) 463-3331; www.vanguardla.com
This multi-tiered lounge recently played host to Black Eyed Peas member apl.de.ap’s birthday party. Burlesque dancers shimmied. Girls sucked down Amaretto sours.
And stars like “Entourage’s” Jerry Ferrara (Turtle) avoided the red carpet like the plague and chilled with the crowd like good little celebrities. The night wouldn’t have worked anywhere else but here. Vanguard is a glitzy scene with unlimited possibilities. The indoor space is roomy. The outdoor patio is expansive but cozy. And while drinks are the standard (pricey) $8, Lola serves up a Screwdriver so fierce, it’ll mess you up on first sip.
BODEGA WINE BAR
260 East Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 793-4300; www.bodegawinebar.com
Get your Merlot on! Every vintage – every fragrant swish – is available at this fun franchise ($8 a glass, $20 a carafe & $30 a bottle).