Sure, Los Angeles is home to many a fancy bar and glamorous nightclub, but did you know that sometimes you have a better chance at running into big-name celebs (not to mention saving a ton of money) at some of the city's off-the-beaten-path dive bars? The city houses a ton of quirky bars whose eclectic décor, imaginative cocktail menus and diverse clientele are perfect locales for rounding out a true-to-life L.A. experience.
After only one tropical elixir at the Tiki Ti, you’ll be dancing the hula and playing air ukulele—guaranteed. There are 86 different drinks to choose from, including beach bum favorites like mai tais and zombies to concoctions you’ll find nowhere else. Family-owned-and-operated for 45 years, "The Ti" is decorated like a neon luau from hell. It’s a small bar with only 12 stools and a handful of tables, so be prepared to stand. But don’t worry—in no time, you won’t feel your feet.
4427 Sunset Blvd.
It’s been labeled a hipster hangout of LA's Eastside, but the Cha Cha Lounge is just pure fun. You can take your aggressions out playing foosball, chill out with a cheap PBR on tap, commit your favorite facial expressions to film in an old-school photo booth and soak up the beautiful (often tattooed) people. There’s even a vending machine that sells hats, condoms, cigarettes, trading cards, tampons, sunflower seeds and more. The décor is Dia de los Muertos, and the music is an eclectic mix with something for everyone.
2375 Glendale Blvd.
“Sweeeeet Caroline … bum, bum bum!” Hear this and other tried-and-true karaoke classics sung off-key at the Smog Cutter. Who wants to hear good singers do karaoke anyway? No, what you want is to belt one out after letting liquid courage loosen up your throat. Dive in with authority as you start “Total Eclipse of the Heart” way too high and don’t look back. No one will judge you. Just don’t forget to order drinks between numbers or the bartender will kill you softly with his song.
864 N. Virgil Ave.
It's hard to call this spot a "dive bar" when it's actually pretty upscale, but quirky it most definitely is. For proof, check out the velvet painting of Billy Dee Williams holding a Colt 45 or the plethora of framed L.A.-area drag legend portraits on the wall. Located right in the heart of Boystown in West Hollywood, you'll find this popular spot is always packed with an attractive crowd. And as if you needed more incentive to stop by, the bar's happy hour is quite the talk of the town, as is the delicious bar menu.
8945 Santa Monica Blvd.
The Frolic Room is a must-stop either before or after a show at the adjacent Pantages Theater, LA's venue for catching the latest Broadway touring production. Even if you don't have plans to see a big-budget show while in town, stopping in here for a few über-cheap drinks is highly recommended. Sitting right on Hollywood Boulevard, you're guaranteed a mélange of city dwellers, and don't be surprised if you're sitting on a barstool next to one of your favorite musicians.
6245 Hollywood Blvd.