In a city like ours, most clubs are chock-full of networking wannabe stars who won't engage with you unless you're a “somebody.” At the King Eddy Saloon, however, the attitude is a little different; its tagline, after all, is, “Where nobody gives a shit about your name.” A speakeasy during Prohibition, King Eddy's upstairs was converted into a legal saloon in 1933 and later attracted folks like Charles Bukowski. It's now one of the friendliest, most democratic spots in the rapidly gentrifying downtown area; on a recent Saturday night, skid row regulars like the guy singing along with the old soul on the jukebox (in falsetto) mingle with frat-boy types. While new owners bought the bar earlier this summer, our fingers are crossed it will remain the down-to-earth dive it's always been. Here's hoping they maintain the Plexiglas-partitioned smoking section, stiff pours and the bartender who, last time we were there, was passing out free Nickel Diner maple bacon donuts. 131 E. Fifth St., dwntwn. (213) 629-2023,

—Rebecca Haithcoat

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