10 Best Neighborhood Bars in Los Angeles
|Daina Beth Solomon|
|The Black Boar's interior|
The name of this Eagle Rock establishment calls to mind a medieval tavern where knaves and wenches might slosh around huge carafes of rudimentary suds beneath animal heads and crossed swords. With its exposed-stone interior walls, faintly Tudor exterior and roaring fireplace, the looks suit the name. At the same time, there are also flat-screen televisions and food trucks parked outside to bring you back to the 21st-century metropolis. From foosball to darts, games are big at the Black Boar, especially at Happy Hour, when well drinks and draft beers cost $3. An added bonus? The bar has an extensive dress code, a highlight of which is a ban on Ed Hardy shirts. 1630 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock. (323) 258-8800.
5. HMS Bounty:
At this venerable Koreatown heap with the nautical theme, big guys with rolling bellies loll at the bar, flinging stories like spitwads. Brooding drifter types hunch over brown bottles. A few blue-haired ladies perch in a leather-coated booth, slicing up their ribeyes neatly and sipping dirty martinis. The pink-and-white cloths adorning many of the tables are a deft touch. Once a hangout for musicians and younger folk seeking refuge from Hollywood hot spots, the Bounty seems to have reverted back to type, which can't be a bad thing, unless semi-dives aren't, in fact, your thing. Nestled alongside the lobby of the Gaylord, it's essentially a hotel bar that has gone to pot, mutinied against itself, those cloths frayed around the edges, the framed photographs fading into the walls. We will never complain about a dearth of craft draft beers or the absence of an "artisanal" cocktail menu long on infusions, egg white froth and heavenly tinctures that must be administered via dropper. The cold bottles and cheap well drinks will do. However, we would almost rather eat hardtack softened in saltwater than sample another one of the Bounty's cold, floury onion rings. We tried a chicken wing, too, and thought we were tangling with an overgrown cricket. Steer clear of the food and fill up on drinks. 3357 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 385-7275.
A. Simmons Sheddy's, Interior
In our experience, bars known by a person's name followed by an apostrophe and an "s" tend to be good ones -- in a help-yourself-to a-bag-of-stale popcorn-drink-your-$3-mystery draft-and-stock-the-jukebox-with-Creedence kind of way. At Sheddy's, though, the bathrooms aren't pocked with witless marker-scrawled diatribes, the stall doors snapped off to discourage toilet seat coke-sniffers. There is also cheese. And fancy ham. And Ethiopian dried beef jerky that, before it reconstitutes and blooms, tastes alarmingly like magic mushrooms. The interior is dark and red, with wobbly wooden tables lining one wall, some stools along a small bar and, in the back, a few cushion-lined booths. Incense perfumes the air; modern rock plays on the stereo. It's loud, but not uncomfortably so, smelly, but in a nice way. No classic sippin' beers grace the menu, but $4 bottles of Molson work well enough -- that is, if you don't want to go with something weightier from the worldly beer selection. In addition, happy hour runs from 5-8 p.m. on weekdays, and knocks a few dollars off domestic bottles. Imagine a Scrimshaw Pilsner, for example, for $3, and then go to Sheddy's and experience the reality. 361 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 651-1442.
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