The Place: Hank's Bar, Stillwell Hotel, 840 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles; 213-623-7718.
The Hours: 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. Sunday – Thursday; 11 p.m. – 2 a.m. Friday – Saturday.
The Digs: Hank's is a little hole on the first floor of a residence hotel with gummy black booths in the back. The bar area has more funky mismatched wood than a shop class turned upside down. When we visited Hank's for a nightcap last week, a tattooed lady was snapping the caps off sweaty Bud bottles whenever she was able to tear herself away from the jukebox. Bars get major dive cred when the bartender doesn't actually tend bar. At Hank's, the bartender dials up deep Tom Petty cuts and kicks back. If you hate waiting, you could try serving yourself, but we don't recommend it.
The Verdict: Like a pass-fail class in college (that is, if you went to a sweet burner college that offered them), a dive bar doesn't ask much of its patrons. Our favorite dive bar in San Francisco once admitted a lurching, half-awake man with a fresh hospital wristband and blood-soaked bandages wrapped loosely around his head. He asked to be served and he was, quite promptly. Likewise, patrons expect little of dive bars. They need only be cheap and divey, which we reckon is some vague aggregate of dirty, smelly, remote, obscure, and character-rich.
Interestingly, the people who really pay attention to how divey their most beloved dive bars are tend to be hipsters who want nothing to do with hipsters. The minute fellow discerning consumers of culture start showing up, they start complaining that it has gone to shit because of all the hipsters. What do ya know, right? Doesn't that sound like something a crusty old coot at a dive bar would say right before he falls off his stool? Anyway, Hank's makes the grade, even though we were there.
Overall Grade: Satisfactory.