Best Bars in Los Angeles

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Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 4:00 AM
click to enlarge COLIN YOUNG-WOLFF
  • Colin Young-Wolff

Our Best Of L.A. issue this year runs down everything that makes L.A., well, the best. A big part of that is our diverse bar scene, which features first-rate watering holes as far as your blurred vision can see! Here are our favorites by neighborhood, as well as our favorite dive bar.

See also: Best Bars to Break Out of Your Rut

click to enlarge Basement Tavern - COLIN YOUNG-WOLFF
  • Colin Young-Wolff
  • Basement Tavern

Best Santa Monica Bar: Basement Tavern

There is no shortage of chandeliers, taxidermied wildlife and comfortable lounge spots from which to view a Turner Classic Movie at Basement Tavern, an inti-mate, subterranean bar below Main Street's The Victorian event space. A selective list of craft beer and cocktails, written colorfully on a chalkboard-painted wall, is improved upon only by the discounted prices during happy hour (5 to 8 p.m. daily). The crowds that show up for live music at 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays will assure you that word has gotten out on the best kept secret in Santa Monica. 2640 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 396-2469. More info here. --Erika Bolden

See also: Top 10 Bars in Santa Monica

click to enlarge Hinano Cafe - COLIN YOUNG-WOLFF
  • Colin Young-Wolff
  • Hinano Cafe

Best Venice Bar: Hinano Cafe

Classic Venice dive Hinano Cafe was beloved by locals long before gentrification swept through the area. Just steps from the Venice Pier, the peak summer season is predictably busy, but it's more manageable during other seasons. A visit in the late afternoon -- or, for that matter, early morning for the $5 breakfast -- will have you forgetting you were supposed to be somewhere, prioritizing a pitcher of beer and the mechanics of your pool game. 15 Washington Blvd., Venice. (310) 822-3902, hinanocafevenice.com. --Erika Bolden

See also: Top 10 Bars in Venice

click to enlarge Dwit Gol Mok - FARLEY ELLIOT
  • Farley Elliot
  • Dwit Gol Mok

Best Koreatown Bar: Dwit Gol Mok

You may not stumble upon Dwit Gol Mok (DGM to the locals) easily, and that's by design. The behind-the-scenes bar technically is located on Wilshire Boulevard, but the entrance is around the corner, on Berendo, through a parking lot and an open courtyard, then up a few stairs. Inside you'll find marker graffiti on all of the bare, cement walls, small wooden tables under faux hut roofs and noise -- lots of noise. The Cass beers are cheap and frequent to complement the seafood pancakes, the Korean chicken wings and the plentiful, pungent gochujang, which smothers lots of the other dishes. The party lasts long into the night at DGM, and about every 10 minutes it's someone's birthday, so be prepared to endure the most pop-synth version of "The Birthday Song" you've ever heard. If you'd like to sing along next time, there's a karaoke bar back across the courtyard. 3275 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown. (213) 382-8432. --Farley Elliott

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