Blue Star Café closes its kitchen after the lunch rush; that's when owner Kash Brouillet hands his diner over to the local punk-rock scene. A hidden gem in a just-beginning-to-be-gentrified part of industrial downtown, the Blue Star is an oasis for loud music, cheap beer and good-natured debauchery. Local and touring bands play on the outdoor stage, which feels like someone's backyard. Decorative lights are strung across the patio, while through the café window you can catch glimpses of campy 1960s horror movies looping on a big-screen TV. Hamburgers and hot dogs are served up from an outdoor grill. Not a punk fan? The Blue Star is still worth a trip, if only to indulge in Brouillet's raved-about macaroni and cheese, meatloaf or all-day Saturday brunch. 2200 E. 15th St., dwntwn. (213) 627-2022,

—Lorinda Toledo

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