The holidays, man. The holidays.
It's bad enough that Christmas is overlit by twinkling lights, overcoated in pumpkin spices, and set to an unbearable soundtrack of '50s-era crooning about sleighbells and shit -- but then there are all those hours you're obliged to spend wading around in your own gene pool. Your aunt's nuttier-than-squirrel-crap religious rants! Your uncle's long-winded political posturing! And that doesn't even get into dear old mom and dad.
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Some folks use high levels of deep game theory and self-discipline to navigate these passive-aggressive minefields. But for us, these times are better weathered with liquid pacification. Yeah, the cookies help, but only the bottle will save your soul.
So, here are five great spots where you can escape your accidental family and curl up with your real family -- The Sauce.
The family came to visit you this year, didn't they? Shit. Now you're getting dragged up and down the worst tourist traps in L.A., scouring the ground for Glenn Close's Hollywood Star. Solution: Put mom, dad, and old yeller on a fucking tour bus, tip the guide a twenty to linger at Lucille Ball's house and run over to Power House. It's the closest thing to Tourist Town that doesn't feel part of Tourist Town. It has the feel and flavor of the right kind of college bar. Pitchers of rotgut and craftbrews alike will get you some good stories from the actual locals. There's also a smoking alley where you can remain hidden and keep that other vice under wraps.1714 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, (323) 463-9438
In a way, you've always been a barfly here. Hidden away in a Mar Vista strip mall, when you're at Lost and Found, no one will find you. Ever. Ask anyone at the bar -- some of them have been hiding out in here since Christmas Day 1982 and have never left. Heavy pours and friendly staff will keep you saucy and entertained, perhaps for the next decade. 11700 National Blvd., Mar Vista, (310) 397-7772
Occasionally a coked-out dude will want to fight you for no reason or sometimes there's an old lady shrieking in Armenian -- just like home. But more often Ye Rustic Inn is just a tranquil oasis of pitchers, wings and Los Feliz local color. Even better, with its complete shielding from the sun, you can spend days in here and never know what time it is. 1831 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz, (323) 662-5757
Sometimes you'll want to dance after sitting on that stool for so long, but not with the ego-compromising beautiful people of Hollywoodland. You want the middling faces and bodies that will go home with you that very night -- or, better yet, take you to their place. Mom's has got that covered. A wide array of heavily-poured dive-bar beverages and game-room pastimes like ping pong will keep you sated until that dance-floor opens up in the evening. 12238 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A., (310) 820-6667
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Not necessarily a dive (and sadly unrepresented in our photo archives), Glendale Tap is definitely a home-base for the beer-centric. The polar opposite of nearby Stepford-brewery Golden Road's in-your-face corporate quirkiness, the Tap will help remind you that beer can still be enjoyed without a clever t-shirt. (They're so laidback the owner wasn't 100 percent sure he'd open the doors on Christmas when we checked in, but he was leaning towards it.) Glendale Tap has maxed out its dizzying array of taps with the best local suds. Oh, and there's free pool, free peanuts, and no windows. Jackpot. 4227 San Fernando Road, Glendale, (818) 241-4227
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