As we were told by a mouthbreathing, knuckle-dragging jerk at one of the very bars described within, Silver Lake grew up a long time ago. So that's why we feel no need to treat it like some pegged-pants screw-up who only chugs cheap pilsner. In fact, some of the bars in the following list of Silver Lake's ten best watering holes are, in fact, respectable. So take a knee, slugger. We're gonna get you straightened out.
10. Casita Del Campo
Let's start off with an old stand-by that never needed growing-up. Tucked off of Hyperion, behind ivy walls, the Casita hides a massive restaurant space and a small but lively cabaret theater. Between the two, the 50-year-old establishment's bar churns out the strongest margaritas around. It's hard to resist their hacienda-style charm, especially when you're getting ripped to the tits (real or otherwise) and taking in an amazing drag show. 1920 Hyperion Ave. LA 90027; (323) 662-4255
The Thirsty Crow may be one of many trendy chain bars, but they seem to have grasped the appropriate aesthetic for the maturing side of Silver Lake. They play hip-but-not-too-hip tunes, have an extensive whiskey-based cocktail menu and maintain a dark and cleverly adorned interior. Above all else, the bartenders are of the highest quality and composure, even when it's 20 deep on a Friday night -- frequently erring on the side of a heavy pour. 2939 W. Sunset Blvd. LA; 90026 (323) 661-6007
8. EL Cid
El Cid boasts terraced descent below the sidewalk, made dramatically charming by greenery and outdoor seating. Fueled decently tasty drinks and catering to a more theatrical crowd, they've also cornered the flamenco market in L.A. Oh, and they've got bands, too. 4212 W. Sunset Blvd. LA; (323) 668-0318
If you're here, you're dancing, and if you're dancing, the bartenders have done their jobs. Because of its unassuming attitude, most folks don't even realize it's an eastside gay mainstay. No matter, everyone gets along and gets drunk all the same on their giant and cheap ass tumblers of booze. 4356 Sunset Blvd. LA; (323) 665-6810
A divey anchor in a sea of upscale options, the Lounge still has that manky je-ne-sais quoi where old men feel okay rubbing elbows with slumming-it youngsters and ocasionally vice-versa. Known for giving a stage to almost any live band willing to play there, you're not always going to see quality, but you're sure as shit going to be entertained. The inexpensive alcohol, of course, helps this whole process along. 2906 Sunset Blvd. LA; (323) 663-9636
Formerly Spaceland and a legendary club of indie-rock past, Satellite is still one of the best bar / venue combinations on the east side. There's that magical combination of beer and and mostly one-two cocktails mixed with very well curated bands. We're sure there's been a bad show here, but they're pretty hard to find. With a regularly spectacular happy hour and a consistent string of superb free residencies, it lives in the center of the efficient drinkers vs. serious music aficionados Venn diagrams. 1717 Silver Lake Blvd. LA; (323) 661-4380
It's really the only place in L.A. to get Teutonically tippled. Encased in an earnest German-style Gasthaus, Red Lion is three great bars in one: a lively tavern, a dark stone drinking hole and a vine-covered outdoor beer garden. The garden terrace hosts your classic drinking, smoking and stein-crashing crowd above a middle-floor hole of quiet quaffing. Downstairs, however, hosts a regularly bizarre cadre of off-beat lounge acts most nights. Think of any singer that might open for Tony Clifton at an organ, playing distorted or mumbled Beatles tunes. Yeah. It's that strange and wonderful. 2366 Glendale Blvd. LA; (323) 662-5337
3. Cliff's Edge
With a perfect clash of class and cache making it an ideal first date bar, it's no wonder many post Cliff's Edge conversations end in awkward parking-lot necking and heavy petting. With an eclectic high-end cocktail menu and competent mixologists, each drink is a delicious step closer to a future messy break-up. And with Criteron Collection movies projected silently on the wall -- set to great post-post punk and legit indie tunes -- you can return alone and tastefully mope into another half-dozen moscow mules. 3626 W. Sunset Blvd. LA; (323) 666-6116
Hidden along the verdant side of Hyperion Ave, you could walk past Hyperion Tavern and not know anything was there, unless of course, you knew to look for their only sign -- an old-school barber pole. They may have only beer and wine, but that lack of liquor is easily overcome by the fact that Hyperion is a stalwart supporter of freaky-deaky and far-out varieties of local niche music. Any given night of the week, you can pop in to see weirdo bassoon noise or microtonal violas set against crystalline projections. To boot, the Tavern's library / saloon mash-up decor is the perfect set-up for Silver Lake's thinky drinkers. 1941 Hyperion Ave. LA; (323) 665-1941
If you're saying, "But I went here on a Friday and it was full of girls/guys who won't talk to me" or "I had to wait in line, so it sucks," then you're going on the wrong nights or you're just not that cool. During the week, Kevin Willis' Seattle-based outpost on Glendale has the best dive bartenders, music and kitschy wall crap in L.A. Hands down. Sure, it's packed to the crevices on Fridays and Saturdays with kids who can't identify the '70s and '80s referencing wall art, but that hardly detracts from its charm. This is what you want your local east-of-Hollywood watering hole to be -- cheap, fun and flexible. 2375 Glendale Blvd. LA 90039; (323) 660-7595
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