The Best Dive Bars in Los Angeles Neighborhoods

Frolic Room | Photo courtesy of Marc Evans Photography, Discover Los Angeles Flickr Pool

Los Angeles is home to some of the best craft cocktail bars in the country. But sometimes, what's really needed is a session in a dimly lit dive bar. Everyone has their own idea of a proper dive bar, but some features are a must - full bar with cheap, strong drinks; open all day, every day (bonus points if first call is 6 a.m.); a solid jukebox with a combination of pool table, darts and/or karaoke. Food isn't a requirement - however, free popcorn or other snackables is a plus, and some dives offer killer grub to soak up the booze. The best dives have been around for decades - it takes time to build up all that character and colorful clientele.

From Downtown L.A. to the Beach Cities, read on for the best dive bars in neighborhoods across Los Angeles.

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Photo courtesy of La Cita, Facebook

LA CITA - DOWNTOWN L.A.

A Mexican dive bar by day, La Cita transforms into a live music and DJ venue at night. Located on Hill Street just steps from Grand Central Market, La Cita hosts weekday Happy Hours out on the expansive patio from 4-9 p.m., featuring $3 Tecates and domestics, $4 imports and wells. Friday's "Angry Hour" adds punk rock and free pizza to the festivities. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (2-9 p.m.) features a Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar. Sports are a big part of La Cita - two flat screen TVs indoors, two flat screens outdoors, and a large projector screen show international soccer and domestic pro sports, along with major NCAA games. Music at La Cita ranges from old school hip-hop on Monday night to rockabilly (Thursdays 4-9 p.m.), cumbia (Thursdays, $7 cover after 10 p.m.), "Punky Reggae" every Friday night and Yacht Rock on Saturday afternoon.

M-F 11 a.m. - 2 a.m., Sat-Sun 10 a.m. - 2 a.m.
336 S Hill St, Downtown Los Angeles
213.687.7111

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HMS Bounty | Photo courtesy of Santa Dog, Flickr

HMS BOUNTY - KOREATOWN

The nautical themed HMS Bounty is located on the ground floor of the historic Gaylord Apartments, which opened in 1924 across the street from the Ambassador Hotel. The Bounty originally opened as the Gay Room in 1948. It was later known as the Secret Harbor and then the Golden Anchor before it became the HMS Bounty in 1962. Start with the $5 Wise Man special (a shot of whiskey and a Tecate) and pick some tunes on the vinyl jukebox. The baseball steak is a popular order, or go on a Sunday for their $4.95 lunch specials. And if you're lucky enough to get introduced to Annie, it's guaranteed the legendary bartender will remember your name whether you stop in the following week or a year later. Mad Men fans will recognize the Bounty from the Season One episode "Indian Summer," when Peggy goes on a blind date with a truck driver at La Trombetta, a fictional Manhattan seafood restaurant.

M-Th 11 a.m. - 1 a.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m. - 2 a.m., Sunday noon - 1 a.m.
3357 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

If you're in the mood for a boilermaker, head to Frank 'n Hank, located on Western Avenue about a mile from the Bounty. Beer Belly owner Jimmy Han took over the popular dive bar in 2015 and expanded the beer and spirits selection, along with adding a credit card machine. Han wisely kept the Sunday-Thursday boilermaker specials, darts, pool table and stellar jukebox.

Daily 6 p.m. - 2 a.m.
518 S Western Ave, Los Angeles
213.383.2087

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Drawing Room | Instagram by @tugboatcapt

DRAWING ROOM - LOS FELIZ

The Drawing Room is a quintessential dive bar - open every day at 6 a.m., darts, top notch jukebox and cash only. The dragon mural is a wonderful non sequitur and oddly appropriate for the bar's location in a Los Feliz strip mall that also houses a Thai restaurant and a laundromat. The pours are generous and good fuel for karaoke on Sunday night. You can keep the party going on Hillhurst at Ye Rustic Inn (don't miss the buffalo wings) and the film noir setting of the Good Luck Bar down the street near Sunset Boulevard.

Daily 6 a.m. - 2 a.m.
1800 Hillhurst Ave, Los Feliz
323.665.0135

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Frolic Room | Photo courtesy of J Jakobson, Flickr

FROLIC ROOM - Hollywood

Located on Hollywood Boulevard next door to the Pantages Theatre, the Frolic Room boasts one of the best neon signs of any bar and was a favorite haunt of Charles Bukowski. The Pantages hosted the Academy Awards from 1950 to 1960, so it's fun to imagine Oscar winners like Marlon Brando and Audrey Hepburn stopping by the Frolic Room to celebrate their big nights. The famous two-panel mural by legendary artist Al Hirschfeld features caricatures of more than two dozen iconic figures, including Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Picasso, Albert Einstein and Louis Armstrong. Pro tip: there's free Jiffy Pop popcorn, you just have to ask the bartender (nicely).

Daily 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.
6245 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
323.462.5890

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Bar inside the Kibitz Room | Photo courtesy of Canter's Deli

KIBITZ ROOM - FAIRFAX DISTRICT

Located adjacent to Canter's Deli, the Kibitz Room has been a popular watering hole for the Fairfax District ever since it opened in 1961 as an addition to the landmark restaurant. Besides the cheap drinks, the Kibitz Room is best known for its live music, with local bands featured every night on the small stage. By midnight the sets will frequently turn into jam sessions, which have featured everyone from Joni Mitchell to Rick James, Slash and members of Guns N' Roses, The Wallflowers, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Daily 10:30 a.m. - 1:40 a.m.
419 N Fairfax Ave, West Hollywood
323.651.2030 

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Instagram by @chimneysweeplounge

CHIMNEYSWEEP - SHERMAN OAKS

As dive bars go, the Chimneysweep Lounge in Sherman Oaks is very clean and chill - there's even a cozy fireplace. The regulars are a diverse and friendly crew. For years, the Chimneysweep has been a gathering spot for Ohio transplants during football and basketball season. The endless free popcorn and the digital jukebox are much appreciated, as are the comfy couches in the back room, which also has a pool table and darts.

M-F 1 p.m. - 2 a.m., Sat 11 a.m. - 2 a.m., Sun 10 a.m. - 2 a.m.
4354 Woodman Ave, Sherman Oaks
818.783.3348

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Foxfire Room | Instagram by @m67smith

FOXFIRE ROOM - VALLEY VILLAGE

You can't ask for much more in a dive bar than the Foxfire Room, a lively hangout for Valley Village locals. It gets packed with a colorful cast of regulars, there's sports playing on several TVs, stiff drinks for cheap prices, and karaoke a couple of nights a week. As "Quiz Kid" Donnie Smith in Magnolia, William H. Macy drunkenly declares his love for Brad the bartender in a memorable scene that was filmed at the Foxfire.

Daily 7 a.m. - 2 a.m.
12516 Magnolia Blvd, Valley Village
818.766.1344

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Stovepiper Lounge | Instagram by @alissia.said.so

STOVEPIPER LOUNGE - NORTHRIDGE

A generous Happy Hour, available all day Monday through Friday until 7 p.m., is just one of the perks at the Stovepiper Lounge in Northridge. Weekends feature a $30 "All You Can Handle" drink special on wells and domestic drafts. On Sundays the Stovepiper features Bottomless Mimosas for $15 until 4 p.m., plus sports and Beer Pong all day. There's a couple of dozen beers on tap, a pool table, darts, live music and DJ nights, karaoke, and if you check in on Facebook or Yelp you get a free kamikaze shot.

Daily 6 a.m. - 2 a.m.
19563 Parthenia St, Northridge
818.886.2526

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Lost & Found | Instagram by @katsumatadaiki

LOST & FOUND - West L.A.

If someone had created a checklist for the prototypical dive bar, Lost & Found would fill up all the boxes: open every day at 6 a.m., strip mall location, cheap drinks (especially for the Westside), pool table, darts, jukebox, cash only. There's also free stale popcorn, or you can splurge and bring in a pizza from the Whole Foods across the street.

Daily 6 a.m. - 2 a.m.
11700 National Blvd, Los Angeles
310.397.7772

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Gettin' down at the Tattle Tale Room | Instagram by @snubsurface

TATTLE TALE ROOM & SCARLET LADY SALOON - CULVER CITY

Culver City barflys get a two-fer with Roger's Exciting Tattle Tale Room and the Scarlet Lady Saloon, located next to each other on Sepulveda Boulevard. Opened in 1963, the Tattle Tale Room is unabashedly a Green Bay Packers bar. Cheeseheads can enjoy free pizza game during every Packers game. The Tattle Tale offers karaoke every night and boasts full surround sound, wireless mics and a massive song library that's constantly updated. Pool is free on Tuesdays after 9 p.m.  

Daily 6 a.m. - 2 a.m.
5401 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City
310.390.2489

Also open every day at 6 a.m., the Scarlet Lady Saloon is a proud New Orleans Saints bar, with two pool tables, darts and 13 flat screens. There's also karaoke four nights a week. The Scarlet Lady lets you bring your own food or order delivery from nearby local spots.

Daily 6 a.m. - 2 a.m.
5411 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City
310.391.9079

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The Harbor Room | Instagram by @la_t_erra

The HARBOR ROOM

Dive or otherwise, there is literally no other bar in L.A. like The Harbor Room, reportedly the smallest bar in L.A. County and the third smallest in the country. Blink and you'll miss the wedge shaped 10-seat bar attached to Cantalini's, an old school Italian restaurant. You'll feel like you stepped into a 70s detective show when you bend an elbow with the local salty dogs, who belly up to the bar for stiff drinks from the old timer behind the stick. There's even a jukebox filled with classics. Cash only, of course.

Daily 10 a.m. - 2 a.m.
195 Culver Blvd, Playa del Rey
310.821.6550

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Photo courtesy of Ercoles 1101, Facebook

Ercoles 1101 - Manhattan Beach

Laid back and friendly, Ercoles 1101 is a Manhattan Beach favorite that originally opened as a soda shop and restaurant in 1927. The award-winning Erc Burger features a juicy beef patty from Manhattan Meats next door, and it comes dressed with lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard and mayo. For a classic summertime bite, the footlong Dodger Dog is another local fave. Ercoles offers a killer Happy Hour every day until 6 p.m., plus Taco Nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 2-for-1 burgers on Wednesdays (with drink purchase). Christmas lights, numerous TVs and a pool table add to the festive vibe. Cash only.

Daily 10 a.m. - 2 a.m.
1101 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach
310.372.1997

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Alhambra Cocktail Lounge | Instagram by @southbaygirl

ALHAMBRA COCKTAIL LOUNGE - SAN PEDRO

The sign outside the Alhambra Cocktail Lounge says "Welcome to San Pedro's Oldest Historical Bar," and since the bar dates to 1936 that's a pretty solid claim. Located a few minutes from Battleship IOWA, the A-Lounge is exactly the dive bar you'd expect to find at many a port. Split a bucket of malt liquor with your buddies and kick it with longshoremen and other blue collar regulars.

Charles Bukowski moved to San Pedro with his wife to be, Linda, in 1978. He lived and wrote there until his death in 1994. Though his wife has said that Bukowski didn't venture out to the local bars, his fans will surely find inspiration in throwing back a few at the Alhambra and other San Pedro joints like Harold's Place and The Spot.

Daily 10 a.m. - 2 a.m.
216 W 11th St, San Pedro
310.548.4000


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