Koreatown Bar Report: The HMS Bounty
The Place: The HMS Bounty, 3357 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles; 213-385-7275.
The Digs: At this venerable heap with the nautical theme, big guys with rolling bellies loll at the bar, flinging stories like spit-wads. 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, ironic from the perspective of a patron accustomed to visiting empirically nicer establishments, but most likely they have been spread out with care and great sincerity.
Once a hangout for musicians and younger folk seeking refuge from Hollywood hotspots, the Bounty seems to have reverted back to type, which can't be a bad thing, unless 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.
Monte Cristo Sandwich
The Verdict: The scene is charming, but the food is not, though the menu does contain sturdy favorites like fish and chips and a Monte Cristo sandwich. 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 glasses of whiskey 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. With experiences like this, one is disinclined to order a rack of lamb or a slab of sea bass. However, if the food were actually good, the place might lose some of its grim appeal and simultaneously attract larger crowds, making collapsing into a faux-opulent basket of leather at 1 a.m. for a nightcap considerably less convenient.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Los Angeles dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.