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Downtown Los Angeles Bars

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
I'm headed to LA soon for work and would like to experience some retro places while I am there.

No doubt this is because of the influence of films like Chinatown, The Big Sleep, LA Confidential and even Swingers, but I definitely would love to hit up some bars with the cocktail culture / speakeasy vibe. We will be staying and working in the downtown area and in looking at Yelp, it appears the types of joints I'm looking for might include The Edison, Seven Grand or The Library Bar.

I'm wondering if anyone here has been to those spots or if there are other places you would recommend?

Thanks!
post #2 of 70
Greetings from downtown. Just leaving the Library Bar--great place but packed in the evenings. You need to add the Varnish to your list. Best cocktail bar around these parts. And I've found the crowd at 7 Grand intolerable.
post #3 of 70
Cole's
post #4 of 70
Association, Varnish and Edison. Edison gets really packed on the weekends though. Varnish and Association are next to each other. I've heard villians tavern is good too. I tried to go but there was a line so I didn't bother. Its out in the middle of nowhere.
post #5 of 70
Funny, just watched the Big Sleep the other day. You'll want Edison in that case. Yeah, Cole's/Varnish since they're next door to each other. I have mixed feelings about 7 Grand because of the clientele depending on the night; on some of the busier nights, I've had to deal with being behind douchebags trying to decide between a couple of cosmos or some fruit cocktail that takes 45mins to make. On the other hand, they do have good whisky although they tend to charge a few bucks more than other whisky bars. Good live music. Same goes with Library Bar. I've gone a handful of times but the 9-5 desk jockey happy hour vibe has never kept me around for long. If you're looking for something somewhat "underground," check out Villain's. Scene is a little younger, the cocktails are ok, but the atmosphere is pretty cool. The Redwood is also somewhat of a good older "dive." It's from an era where writers from the Times would phone in their work from the bar itself (and the direct line phone still exists.) Good live music. The Golden Gopher would also fit that downtown dive category. If you're around Chinatown, there's Mountain Bar. The cocktails aren't anything special, it's just a popular unassuming place to grab a drink. There are a couple of other places around that are good but don't quite fit in what you're looking for. For example, if you get a chance check out Wurstkuche. Decent beer menu, great sausages and fries. Prepare to wait a bit, though. Angel City Brew just opened down the street, too.
post #6 of 70
Edison, Library Bar, Seven Grand, Irish Pub on the Way to Library Bar from Seven Grand These are my spots I frequent. Awesome times. Re read posts: Number one spot should be the edison for you.
post #7 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by whodini View Post
The Redwood is also somewhat of a good older "dive." It's from an era where writers from the Times would phone in their work from the bar itself (and the direct line phone still exists.) Good live music.
watch it junior, that wasn't THAT long ago. also, i used to work in a building that had a loading dock/smokers lounge on the alley where the edison is now. in those days, even though the city would come through and steam-clean it once a week, that alley was so foul that people quit smoking rather than use it. just another indicator of how much downtown la has changed.
post #8 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodguy View Post
watch it junior, that wasn't THAT long ago. also, i used to work in a building that had a loading dock/smokers lounge on the alley where the edison is now. in those days, even though the city would come through and steam-clean it once a week, that alley was so foul that people quit smoking rather than use it. just another indicator of how much downtown la has changed.
By the sound of it, you were probably the same guy who complained when they upgraded from the telegraph.
post #9 of 70
I get way more of a date-rape douchebag vibe at wurstkuche than at any other place mentioned. What kind of hot dog place has a DJ and club lighting, not to mention using multiple animals ("ohh, you can really taste the crocodile and the rabbit") in each hot dog? Oh yeah, the kind started by USC grads. My recs being sent via pm
post #10 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by whodini View Post
By the sound of it, you were probably the same guy who complained when they upgraded from the telegraph.

just couldn't leave well enough alone, could they?
post #11 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordecai View Post
I get way more of a date-rape douchebag vibe at wurstkuche than at any other place mentioned. What kind of hot dog place has a DJ and club lighting, not to mention using multiple animals ("ohh, you can really taste the crocodile and the rabbit") in each hot dog? Oh yeah, the kind started by USC grads.

My recs being sent via pm
UCLA was your second choice, I take it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodguy View Post
just couldn't leave well enough alone, could they?
post #12 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by whodini View Post

If you're around Chinatown, there's Mountain Bar. The cocktails aren't anything special, it's just a popular unassuming place to grab a drink.

I'd skip Mountain Bar and go to Hop Louie which, like Redwood, is an authentic L.A. dive. Though nothing in today's LA is as divey as 80's Hollywood. I once saw a guy smoking crack in the corner of the Frolic Room (circa 1987) and then immediately assault someone that looked at him funny.
post #13 of 70
We are @ library bar right now

Stop by
post #14 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Carlos View Post
We are @ library bar right now

Stop by

I'm not in LA yet, but go back next week and I will!

It would be cool to get the chance to meet up with some fellow Forumites during my trip.
post #15 of 70
I think mordecai is here

There's a really fruity looking guy with glasses and a plaid shirt

I think it's mordecai
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