The Place: The Backstage Bar & Grill, 10400 Culver Blvd., Culver City.
The Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.
The Digs: Why are bars so dark? You may say this to yourself when you step into the 70-year-old Backstage Bar & Grill. If you're drinking during the day — which, if you're at the Backstage, you probably are — you will be shocked when you enter. Just as your body recoils when it's tossed from hot tub to icy pool, your eyes need time to adjust.
The Backstage is that dark, a cozy, cool cave, albeit one with karaoke and sliders. Once you start to make out shapes to accompany the sounds — classic rock, the clinking of glasses, the occasional spat — you'll notice that the bartenders are all female, attractive, and Beaujolais-young. You may overhear them discussing video shoots and recording sessions as they pour drinks and smile. Why? Well, the Backstage is a karaoke destination and it tends to draw bartenders who like to sing as well as patrons. To avoid karaoke and the waves of red-faced, Eminem-chanting bros it frequently inspires, don't come on Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays.
The Verdict: Busier than the nearby Scarlet Lady, cleaner than its neighbor the Tattle Tale, the Backstage serves up stupid-sounding drinks like The Blowjob and the Culver City Slut. Just the act of ordering one should make you sick, even if a mixture of Stoli Vanilla, cream, Coke, and Kahlua (the Culver City Slut) does not. The beer selection is unexceptional but the prices, especially during happy hour, are solid, especially if you like nice beer. Twenty-two ounce bottles of Arrogant Bastard for $5 apiece? Spend 20 bucks, add a few shots of Patron from the frosty Patron machine, and you'll be sleeping in your car by 9 p.m.
Final Grade: B+