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Tuesdays with Tommy: The $15 Tavern Plates at Tom Bergin's Tavern

Garlic cheese bread, Bergin's
Garlic cheese bread, Bergin's

Particularly early in the evening, Tom Bergin's Tavern feels like a throwback, a place where men who have made mistakes eat alone in shadows: a small, rare steak; a potato. Mostly they drink here, looped around the oval bar, sliding faded bills across the wood to the smartly dressed barkeeps, waiting until the stool feels wobbly to totter toward the exit and more darkness.

On Saturday, the closest the scene came to this dim vision was a dude in plaid wolfing down some garlic bread while moaning into a cell phone about his fantasy picks. However, given the bar's inexpensive and ever-changing Tuesday "Tavern Plate" menus, the sight of single, non-chef bros bellying up to the bar for epic, solitary feasts would not be shocking.

Since late July, on Tuesdays beginning at noon and ending at midnight, Tom Bergin's has offered multi-course meals at $15 a pop (while supplies last). We recall an "Italian" restaurant's plate-of-pasta-and-bottomless-glass-of-Chianti special from our early 20s that probably cost even less, but this deal is no mere bargain for the undiscerning drunk.

Today, for instance, three $5 bills will get you fried chicken, macaroni and cheese with broccoli, a green salad, soda bread, and a mess of Guinness chocolate cake. Recent entries include crispy pork cheeks with braised Napa cabbage and Guinness barbecued chicken with green beans and sweet corn. If you still have room for beer, Stella Artois bottles will run $4 apiece, which sadly undercuts the local bar mean by about $2.50.

That said, even with a basketball stomach and Guinness chocolate cake seeping from your ears like oil from the guts of deep-sea tanker, you'll have a hard time not springing for a $3 a la carte order of the garlic bread -- a rich cheese-stuffed slug that eats more like a sandwich than a sop for some leftover lasagne sauce.


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Tom Bergin's Tavern

840 S. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

323-936-7151

www.tombergins.com