This longtime bar in San Pedro that once drew a crowd of bikers and meth-heads is visually unremarkable. Like so many neighborhood hangouts, Harold's Place has a pool table and is adorned with the usual generic poster advertisements for beer, along with an almost sarcastic painting of the sun setting over a tropical beach, which hangs in stubborn contrast to the dive bar's dark and murky ambiance. Fittingly for a dive in Charles Bukowski's old hometown, the drinks are relatively cheap, and the joint opens daily for hardcore barflies at 6 a.m. But what makes Harold's Place truly special are the bands that play there. The bar doesn't host live music most nights, but when there is a show, the tiny afterthought of a stage is often crowded with such South Bay punk, jazz, surf and underground legends as The Alley Cats, Mike Watt, The Last and Saccharine Trust. This little dump packs in a ton of talent.
Credit: Falling James