Despite its name, Café Nela isn't really a cafe so much as it is a beer bar for those 21 and older. However, the “Nela” part is accurate, as the spot is located in northeast L.A. Since Carnage Asada cellist Dave Travis opened the Cypress Park bar in October last year, it has quickly turned into one of the city's best live-music venues. The small, homey room has a dive-y ambiance, what with its low, white stucco ceiling offset by a scuffed checkerboard floor, strands of Christmas lights and posters of Big Boys and Meat Puppets. Travis books the type of adventurous punk, jazz, stoner rock, metal and improvisational bands that would have played at Raji's, Al's Bar, the Cathay de Grande or, going further back, the Hong Kong Café and the Starwood. The attitude at Café Nela is more free-spirited and experimental than mercenary, with admission usually around $5. —Falling James
1906 Cypress Ave., Cypress Park, 90065. cafenela.net.