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With all of the ridiculously good noodle shops in the SGV you probably didn't need another reason to drive east on the 10 freeway, but just in case you did, there's always 38 Degrees, Alhambra's premier beer-and-nightlife destination. (Don't you dare mention the dueling Ultra Lounges down the street.) But 38 Degrees is also an outstanding sports bar, the kind of place where dudes in Raiders jerseys rub elbows with Sunday brunch-goers, and a place that will satisfy both the sports fan who wants to watch the game and his or her less athletically inclined date. There are plenty of screens and there is always a crowd there for the game, but it's also nice inside, there's art on the walls instead of taxidermy and neon signs, and even the great Vin Scully gets the mute treatment other than on the very rarest of occasions. Practice your peripheral vision, then face your date away from the TVs, order a plate of fries and a nice beer, and only cheer when the action lines up with something awesome that he or she says. 100 W. Main St., Alhambra; (626) 282-2038.3. Blue Dog:
Blue Dog in Sherman Oaks is the kind of place that somehow seems to attract exclusively nice people. Of all the sports bars we visited, its patrons were the most welcoming, and the most excited to chat about the game, no matter which sport was on or which side we were rooting for. We've been known to support some unpopular teams, including whoever is playing against the teams in Purple or Red and Gold, but, believe it or not, we never felt threatened, and all of the shade we got was good-natured. So Blue Dog feels homey and friendly, and to top it all off, wouldn't you know? They have great beer and solid bar food, including some of the most intense garlic fries we've ever had. 4524 Saugus Ave.,
Sherman Oaks; (818) 990-2583.2. Blue Palms:
Yes, craft beer is trendy, and some of its greatest champions ride fixed-gear bikes, sport ironic mustaches, listen to bands you haven't heard of, and cook in separate vegan and non-vegan kitchens. But beer is first and foremost the drink of everyman, and Blue Palms understands and embraces that idea. It is a place without frills or pretensions. The tap list is superb, the TVs are both gargantuan and abundant, the vibe is laid-back, the food is excellent, and the owners wear their Ohio loyalties on their wall. Though they may be on the verge of temporarily closing due to leasing issues, we're leaving them on this list because we're confident that before too long we'll be able to #OccupyBluePalms again. Until we can, our Thursday nights will be distinctly less full of basketball and cheap wings. 6124 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 464-2337.
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