The word “dive bar” gets thrown around a lot, but to gaze upon the real deal, pull up a stool at Pasadena's 1881 Club. What you'll find are pool tables, darts, stiff drinks, lots of bottled beer (though only Bud on tap) and witty slogans on the wall — our favorite is “Hangovers Installed and Serviced.” It's the perfect spot to tie one on with friends, and if you don't have friends, never fear! Colorful characters populate the place, and the crowd tends to be outgoing and unpretentious. (Considering it's a 'Niners bar, however, it helps if you're a San Francisco football fan.) A universal jukebox sets whatever mood you want without taking away from any of the delicious squalor. The bathrooms, meanwhile, offer a peek into the spot's architectural past — it doesn't appear that anything has been changed on them since the joint opened. Los Angeles proper wishes it had a bar this cool. —Nicholas Pell
1881 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, 91104. (626) 794-3068, facebook.com/pages/1881-Club/127784844383.