By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
—Patrick Range McDonald
BEST HIGH-END BEER AT A REASONABLE PRICE
Sang Yoon is a perfectionist with superstar-chef aspirations. The caramelized-onions and blue-cheese burger at his Father’s Office restaurants is such a benchmark of the American staple that even Bobby Flay has had to try a version. And the service at Father’s Office is effusive. Yoon subjects his troops to constant testing and training. The flip side of that is that Yoon can sometimes seem like a socialist dictator. Customers get no ketchup with their fries, and don’t even ask for substitutions. His newest location near Culver City works like an assembly line, at least in the back. In front, it’s a free-for-all (order at the bar, seat yourself) worthy of any Soviet-era bread line. And, frankly, Yoon’s prices are populist. While a $12 dollar burger combo might seem elitist, other restaurants charge a lot more for similar quality. Yoon has worked to elevate beer to the level of wine by pairing it with his signature dishes. At F.O. you’ll find the most exotic Belgian trappist ales, the thickest, blackest stouts, the most refreshing lagers. What blows us away is the price — often $8 for a pint. Step up to the bar and order a glass of Belgian lambic ale in the flavor of the day. It’s a fruity, champagnelike treat that makes you forget you’re drinking beer, on tap for $8. Long live Yoon. 3229 Helms Ave., L.A. Also at 1018 Montana Ave., Santa Monica.
BEST BUILD-YOUR-OWN BLOODY MARY
The perfect Bloody Mary is hard to come by. Best enjoyed during the day and an absolute necessity when hung over, a Bloody Mary is one of the most personalized cocktails out there. Some like it spicy, some sweet, some like it garnished with veggies, some with meat, but all require a strong vodka pour. The list of potential ingredients for this cocktail is endless so instead of trying to read the mind of every hungover, tomato juice-fiending patron, La Cita bartender Calixto Hernandez hosts a “build your own Bloody Mary” happy hour every Sunday from 1 to 9 p.m. on the outdoor patio of the divey, downtown, local favorite bar. Over a soundtrack of all ’80s music (“But no U2, not now, not ever, because they suck,” says Hernandez), for $5 you get a tall glass of iced vodka and free reign over a table of mixers, seasonings and homemade garnishes to concoct your perfect Bloody Mary mixed to taste. The spread includes Kelly Y Gonzalez Bloody Mary mix, celery salt, Old Bay seasoning, Tabasco, wasabi, sweet cherry peppers, pickled green beans, white asparagus, crushed garlic, horseradish, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, as well as trays of bacon, olives, cheese cubes, fresh shrimp, pickled shallots, celery stalks and more, all of which you can load up on a kabob skewer for the ultimate mixing utensil and snacker. At La Cita’s Sunday Bloody Sundays, building your own Bloody Mary is like arts and crafts ... but with booze. Bottoms up, and if your drink sucks, it’s your own fault. 336 S. Hill St., dwntwn. (213) 687-7111.
BEST BEYOND THE CURE
L.A. has never had a shortage of goth-friendly clubs, but right now the darker side of the nightlife is gaining newfound interest. At the forefront of the movement is M/R/X-Wolfpak. The monthly bash, which began in 2003, stands out for its musical selections. Resident DJs Job Leatherette, Tony X and Eric Dead have no problem with dropping genre classics, but they mix it up with the latest sounds from L.A. to Berlin. With two rooms for dancing, the party’s focus is bringing together the harsh, guitar-driven sound of death rock with stripped down electronic jams known as minimal synth. Much of the playlist will be unfamiliar to club patrons, but you’ll want to run to the DJ booth and ask “Hey, what’s that song?” often. Live performances from locals and touring acts pepper the night. M/R/X-Wolfpak occurs every fourth Saturday of the month at Roberto’s in Chinatown. Unless there’s a special event, the cover is $5 before 10:30, $10 after. 686 N. Spring St., L.A. (213) 617-2002.
BEST HOCKEY BAR ACCORDING TO AN ACTUAL CANADIAN
Every winter some Northern-clime folks we know end up migrating, much like Canada geese, to L.A. to get away from the cruel Ottawa winters. Even though they’re happy to leave the Arctic tundra-like conditions behind, they miss the almost-nightly hockey games. Here, there are very few bars willing to switch on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Hockey Night in Canada, featuring its obnoxious yet widely popular host Don Cherry (think of a white-haired Rush Limbaugh pimped out in colorful suits). Luckily, Hollywood Billiards has more than 50 (that’s not a typo) high-definition TVs, so a little hockey in the back of the bar with a jug of Budweiser (one of Canada’s most popular beers) won’t bother the football and baseball fans. If only they could throw in a soundtrack by Ann Murray, add poutine (French fries with gravy and melted cheese curds) to the menu, and a Bloody Caesar (a Bloody Mary with Clamato juice), your typical Canadian might never leave. When the Ottawa Senators made it to the Stanley Cup finals against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 2007, manager Dan graciously placed a sign outside that read: Go Ottawa! — potentially risking a puck to the face by Ducks fans. 5750 Hollywood Blvd., L.A. (323) 465-0115, hollywoodbilliards.com.