Every dive has its history, but when it comes to bars in Southern California, it's nearly impossible to top Long Beach's Joe Jost's — one of the oldest continually operating taverns west of the Mississippi. Jost, a Hungarian immigrant, opened the eponymous business in 1924, running it as a combination barbershop and pool hall that served food — including the famous Special sandwich and pickled eggs — during the dry years of Prohibition. That those eggs, stained yellow with pepper-spiced brine, predated the availability of a nearly frozen schooner of Eastside Old Tap Lager — or, in later years, Pabst and now Busch — seems almost impossible, as their spicy, vinegary flavor is matched perfectly with a gigantic beer so cold that small ice floes often appear on the head. Enjoyed at the bar, the eggs come showered in black pepper, served in a loosely twisted square of deli paper alongside pretzels and a stray pickled pepper or two. And for fans who live a few too many freeway interchanges away, the bartenders will gladly send you home with a mason jar's worth. 2803 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. (562) 439-5446, joejosts.com. —Willy Blackmore
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