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 in any state 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 that live a few too many freeway interchanges away, the bartenders will gladly will you send you home with a Mason jar full.
Joe Jost's: 2803 East Anaheim Street, Long Beach, (562) 439-5446.
Look for more “Best of L.A.” pieces in our annual Best of L.A. issue, coming Oct. 7th.