L.A. is a city full of transplants. Every Thanksgiving, a few pack their bags and head back to the Midwest for turkey dinner at grandma's house. Locals hunker down, save the dog sitter expense, and drink an exorbitant amount of cheap booze with their takeout. Football is how Angelenos give thanks — that, and occasionally a food drive at the L.A. Food Bank.
For many, Thanksgiving in L.A. is just another excuse to get drunk after eating a supermarket turkey. Usually a bar within walking distance will do. After all, DUI crackdowns are expected, and Uber's surge prices are becoming a bit much.
Then again, it's Thanksgiving, and some of the town's best watering holes will be closed; yes, even bartenders have families.
But not to worry. We found the local bars that are actually open for business!
Better yet: A few of the bartenders are doing something special to make sure Thanksgiving isn't just another lonely slosh fest. Here's a list of places to get a stiff drink on Thursday, Nov. 26, without the in-laws getting in the way.
10. Johnny's Bar – Highland Park
Here's something to be thankful for: The hipsterfication of Highland Park has yet to infect Johnny's, York Boulevard's last remaining dive bar and one of the best neighborhood watering holes in the entire city. Johnny's proudly keeps its doors open seven days a week, 365 days a year, and Thanksgiving will be no different. They're even buying a turkey and some holiday trimmings to show their appreciation for their regulars, who might just organize an impromptu ping-pong tournament to see who gets the drumsticks.
5006 York Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90042. (323) 982-0775. Open from 2 p.m. – 2 a.m.
9. Tonga Hut – North Hollywood
L.A.'s oldest tiki bar (and probably the best bar in NoHo) looks like the living room from The Flinstones meets Ricky Ricardo's Club Babalu. Which means they've got a bodacious jukebox and trippy surf party, B-movie drink names like the Old Skool Zombie and Voodoo Juice. Try something with rum in it.
12808 Victory Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91606. (818) 769-0708. Open from 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.
8. The Roost – Atwater Village
If you need to tie one on before you can face down your racist relatives and an overcooked turkey, Atwater's best dive bar has you covered. They're offering up a special Noon to 7 p.m. happy hour, with $5 well drinks and $3.50 domestic drafts. Just be sure to Uber it over to grandma's house afterwards, OK? No matter how much of the Roost's free popcorn you wolf down, it still might not be enough to soak up what they promise are “the stiffest pours in town.”
3100 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039. (323) 664-7272. Open Noon to 2 a.m.
7. Taix 321 Lounge – Echo Park
Taix French Restaurant is expecting to be busy on Thanksgiving, but if you missed out on making reservations, not to worry — they'll be serving a $36.95 prix fixe menu in the 321 Lounge, which has open seating. Check out their special Thanksgiving menu for the lowdown on dinner. Whether you're looking for turkey, prime rib or just a stiff drink (dirty martinis, especially), get there early, because the lounge closes at 8 p.m.
1911 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026. (213) 484-1265. Open from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
6. Beelman's Pub – Downtown L.A.
Located in the heart of downtown L.A., Beelman's is an English-style gastropub known for its ridiculously good burgers, brick-walled patio and affordable prices. In other words, it's a refreshing antidote to all those painfully hip mixology joints popping up on every corner of DTLA. They don't celebrate Thanksgiving in England and they won't be celebrating it here, either — but if you need some approximation of the holiday, they do make a great turkey club sandwich.
600 S. Spring St. Los Angeles, CA 90014. (213) 622-1022. Open from 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.
5. The Daily Pint – Santa Monica
Don't let its divey exterior fool you: This neighborhood favorite, tucked away in a non-descript row of shops near Santa Monica College, has one of the best selections of beer (100 in bottles, 33 on tap) and whiskey (over 300) of any bar in town. They're especially famous for their bewildering array of single malt Scotches, which they claim is the biggest west of the Mississippi. After a wee dram or three of the nectar of the Highlands, you can make some new friends over pool or shuffleboard.
2310 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405. (310) 450-7631. Open from 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.
4. Prince o' Whales – Playa Del Rey
L.A.'s self-proclaimed oldest sports bar (in operation since the '50s) stays open 365 days a year, including Turkey Day. They'll be offering a “potluck”-style dinner for the regulars, as well as a pretty great daytime special (before 3 p.m.) for anyone who wants to get pleasantly buzzed while watching the early football game: a cheeseburger and two domestic draft beers for under $10. And with its outdoor patio and nautical motif, it's the perfect spot from which to text laid-back California selfies to your frozen relatives back east. Wish you were here, suckers!
335 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey, CA 90293. (310) 823-9826. Open from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
3. Velvet Lounge at Culver Hotel – Culver City
If you want to pretend you're drinking alone on Thanksgiving in the 1920s, head to downtown Culver City's time warp of a hotel bar, the Velvet Lounge. Located on the second floor of the historic Culver Hotel's opulent lobby, the lounge is done up like a cross between a Parisian brothel and a scene from Boardwalk Empire, making it the perfect place to knock back a few boulevardiers and toast the fact that you're not making awkward dinner conversation with aunts and uncles over canned cranberry sauce. To keep the classy vibe going, stumble down to the Grand Lobby Bar after 7:30 p.m. for some live jazz.
9400 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232. (310) 558-9400. Open from 4 p.m.- 2. a.m.
2. Gold Room – Echo Park
Even though most of Sunset Boulevard will be closing early, it's business as usual at the Gold Room — which means beer with a shot of tequila for $4, free tacos, free peanuts, and a schizophrenic jukebox that jumps from Slayer to 2Pac on a dime. On Thanksgiving, Gold Room is where you go to set fire to the all that puritanical nonsense of “giving thanks,” and instead, squeeze into a crowded bar of Dodger fans and Echo Park's finest group of misfits. Go to Taix for dinner, come to Gold Room to puke it out.
1558 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026. (213) 482-5259. Open from 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.
1. Frolic Room – Hollywood
Frolic Room is Hollywood Boulevard's best dive bar. It's been around for over 80 years, and for the past 20 years, it's been the best escape from the trendy, bro'd-out clubs that own the block. It's also the best place to be on Thanksgiving because of a classy lady behind the bar named Gita. She's been there for over 20 years, and every year on Thanksgiving, she serves up a full Thanksgiving dinner with the works (no turkey this year, though — she says you'll have to wait till Christmas for that). She also stocks up, like your favorite aunt from some Nick at Night rerun, so there's plenty for everyone, all night. There's also a legendary jukebox, and if you're a good tipper, Gita might share some stories while you enjoy a cocktail in the coziest dive bar on Hollywood Boulevard.
6245 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028. (323) 462-5890. Open from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
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