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
BEST MALT SHOP
Ask Daily Pint owner Philip McGovern why he started amassing one of the largest Scotch collections in L.A. 15 years ago, and you’ll likely hear a grunt about the customers who pestered him to do it. The pub currently offers more than 300 single-malt and blended scotches, all wedged shoulder-to-shoulder on an overhead wooden shelf that runs the length of the bar. You can spend upward of $150 for a glass of the Last Drop, quite literally the last few sips of a nearly 50-year-old blend of 80 Scotch whiskeys that mysteriously surfaced in a warehouse cask overseas last year. A bottle will set you back around $2,000 retail, so that buck-50 is actually a pretty good deal for those who are feeling paycheck flush. For the rest of us, McGovern offers several interesting sips for $10 to $20, among them the limited-release 1993 Oban Distiller’s Edition and the 17-year-old Macallan Fine Oak, a sherry-oak aged whiskey. The best deal may be the flights, which start at $25 for five tastes and are generous enough to share with your new bar buddy. 2310 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 450-7631, thedailypint.net.
BEST OLD-STYLE DRIVE-IN MOVIE WITH A SWAP MEET
The only thing better than one bargain is two bargains in the same spot. You can shop at the Vineland Swap Meet from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., then pile your hard-earned treasure into the hatch of your SUV or MINI Cooper and the swap meet magically transforms into the Vineland Drive-In. Now you’re ready to see Inglourious Basterds on one of four enormous, outdoor screens, and you didn’t have to move an inch to do it. The swap meet is one of the premier places in L.A. to find all sorts of cheap junk — er, previously owned merchandise, at bargain rates. Some DVDs go for $2, and one vendor offered a 28-inch plastic Virgin Mary in its original Styrofoam container for the divine price of $25. You can also buy: four pounds of strawberries for $2, six bras for $10, a Nintendo 64 game console that may or may not work for $12. We then killed five hours eating lunch at the nearby delicious Yum Cha Café, watched a cheap DVD at home, then returned to the drive-in by evening. For $8, we watched a movie in the same spot where we’d purchased the Blessed Virgin a few hours earlier. It’s not only cheap, but it’s OK to bring your own food and sodas. 443 N. Vineland Ave., City of Industry. (626) 369-7224. Swap meet open daily 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Drive-in open daily 7 p.m.
BEST WEEKEND ELECTRONIC BEATS
You’d never notice Silver Lake’s Hyperion Tavern unless someone pointed it out. It’s housed in a nondescript navy blue brick of a building on a shady tree-lined stretch where Fountain meets Hyperion. Its owners don’t do much promotion; the only signage is a striped barber pole. Until relatively recently it was a gay leather bar (leading surprised would-be patrons to receive beers when they’re requesting “bears”). But every Friday, the place turns into one of L.A.’s finest havens for beat heads, with Matthew McQueen (matthewdavid) and Shaun Koplow’s (sodapop) Calling All Kids night and its all-star assortment of rotating guest DJs. Since starting in January, the dublab, Alpha Pup, and Anticon-affiliated pair have recruited Lucky Dragons, Nosaj Thing, Doseone, Yoni Wolf of WHY?, Ras G, Dntel, Daedelus and Dam-Funk, to spin among the dive bar’s décor of dusty legal books and antique chandeliers — not to mention live performances from Serengeti, Polyphonic and Zackey Force Funk. There’s no hard liquor, it’s cash only (though there is an ATM), and with a 70-person capacity, the Tavern fills up quickly. But if you’re looking for a no-cover, no-frills spot to swill cheap beer and hear great music, there are few better options — provided you can find the place. 1941 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. (323) 665-1941, hyperiontavern.com.
BEST WESTSIDE SUSHI NAZI BAR
To qualify as a locals bar, a place has to have a pecking order, rituals and rights of passage. At Karaoke Bleu, which many people pass on Sawtelle without realizing it’s a full-service bar, the owner regulates the seating arrangement like a sushi Nazi dispatches spicy-tuna-roll-ordering celebrities. Locals get their pick of tables and bar seating. Others get the Siberian satellite bar, where service can be spotty. Most nights it’s a nonissue, but when it’s busy, getting a good spot at the bar is necessary to keep the Sapporos en route. If the owner doesn’t know you, good luck. And don’t try to just grab a prime spot. Cute Japanese servers will come over and politely give you the pointy end of their Blahniks. But the prices are good ($9 for a healthy pour of Johnny Walker Black Label) and the people are chill. The place has a karaoke stage, and the girls play Beyoncé concert videos when no one is singing. The bathrooms are shared with a restaurant next door, Furaibo. There’s parking in the rear. But be careful not to park in a reserved spot. The owner will be watching. 2064 Sawtelle Blvd., W. L.A. (310) 477-4794. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. nightly.
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