The word “shack” in Big Mama's Rib Shack is a misnomer; this is more like Big Mama's living room, and she has an endless supply of hospitality to match. This blues spot, a Las Vegas refugee, became the last outpost of a 50-plus-year-old institution a few years ago. But what it lost in Sin City crazy, it made up for it in hominess. Sure, the night tends to end early at this North Pasadena venue, but it's not for a lack of intensity — in the form of a wailing full band or just one lonely dude in a mullet tickling an old guitar. If you want to hear some seriously offbeat live blues on a Saturday night and stuff your face with unparalleled ribs, this is the only place west of Texas to do it properly. If you're feeling bold, get a pile of perfectly fried chicken and a rack of ribs, and see how those sweet blues chords vibe with your delightfully diminished heart rate. 1453 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena. (626) 797-1792, bigmamaspasadena.com. —Paul T. Bradley
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