The Place: Kibitz Room, 419 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 651-2030.
The Hours: Every day from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
The Deals: Well, that can be a relative term in a dive bar.
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The Digs: From inside this dark, boozy tank, you can see, through layers of glass, families and couples tucking into pastrami sandwiches and matzoh ball soup in the dining room of Canter's, the adjoining deli. Like its grizzled patrons, the bar has a past. In the late 80s, Guns N' Roses used to inhale Jack Daniels there. The Kibitz Room's short, carpeted stage has reportedly served as a springboard for famous bands and artists, such as Fiona Apple and The Wallflowers, though we think Bob Dylan's son probably had more to do with the latter's popularity.
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The time to go may be late at night -- when some tattered old bunch of heshers have staggered off the stage and jamming, perhaps brightened by the appearance of a celebrity guest, ensues, and when any stomach issues provoked by over-indulgence in the bar's eccentric liver-pickling potions (many have unprintable names) may be soothed via sandwich (and pickles) next door. All the same, early has its advantages too: maybe some boxing on the television, a group of British dudes in the industry dropping names at a dizzying pace, and the bartender's undivided attention.
The Verdict: Just kidding about the last part. We sat at the bar with a friend. It was 6:30 p.m. With the exception of the British dudes, the place was a wasteland, but somehow it took ten minutes to get a drink. Now, the bottle of Pabst we received and quickly consumed didn't appear to be any different from most we've enjoyed, but there had to have been something special about it to warrant the price.
Only when his partner-in-drink-muddling dropped down a second bottle and returned change for a $20 bill did we realize that they were coming at $5 a pop. "Wow," we think we said, not realizing we were speaking aloud. "Yep," grumbled this second bartender, an older man with a droopy mustache "The cheap beer is on draft." He gestured at the small glasses of Coors the British guys were downing. At $3.50 each, they were technically cheaper, if hardly larger than Dixie cups. Still, a good place -- even if Slash is no longer restringing his Gibson in a corner booth.
Overall Grade: B