Don't you hate it when you wake up in the morning and want to start drinking, but don't like the idea of sitting at home and doing it by yourself? Well Santa Monica has changed a lot over the years, but one thing hasn't– you can still get pre-noon drunk at The Joker, one of the last of the great old dive bars left in the city.

The Joker is not somewhere for young, single guys to hit on recent college graduates, even on the busiest of Friday nights. It's a place where you can imbibe like you're in a time warp, play pool, and order drinks without waiting behind a three-deep crush of agents, actors and lawyers.

During the week, they open at 10 AM, but on weekends, owner Marv MacMueller tells us, “I open around 6 or 7 in the morning with Bloody Mary specials.” (Enter quickly though– regulars hate it when you let in the natural sunlight.) Business has been a little off of late, like in much of the country, but don't expect things to change much. “We're just one of the old bars. We've got a liquor license and you've got to be 21 to come in. I came to the bar in '56, and it was here then, but I don't know how long it had been around before that.”

They don't serve food, but if you're a few breakfast drinks in and need something in your stomach other than bile and Canadian Club, just cross the street and grab some diner grub at Rae's Restaurant, another standout of cheap, old-school Santa Monica. Just make sure to head right back and grab a seat at the bar before your buzz wears off.

The Joker, 2827 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, (310) 828-9235., Rae's Restaurant, 2901 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, (310) 828-7937

LA Weekly