The Place: Verdugo Bar, 3408 Verdugo Rd., Los Angeles; 323-257-3408.
The Hours: 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Fri.; 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat.-Sun.
The Digs: The vertical white “Cocktails” sign outside reveals nothing about the soul of the place. You'd expect a time-worn hovel inside with a scuffed pool table and unfriendly sots crumpling over the bar. Or you'd expect crowds of young people in expensive denim, milling about in a passable simulation of the dank old man dive archetype.
Yet Verdugo's door unfolds to reveal neither. The wooden bar curls like two-thirds of a movie villain mustache; the lighting is low and moody, even when the doors first swing open at 6 p.m. on weekday evenings. Innocuous art looms on the walls. You can watch an evening game or check out the bartenders ritualistically sampling the impressive array of taps — but the real action is later on, outside on the spacious smoking patio festooned with beer posters. DJs do their thing here, presiding over the picnic tables littered with pint glasses and refuse from the food trucks that start circulating at around 9 o'clock.
The Verdict: Glassell Park isn't exactly bristling with nightlife options. You may scratch your head at the crowd, but the beer list is no joke, with options like Chasing Freshies by Deschutes, Eagle Rock's Solidarity and Delirium Tremens pouring forth on any given night. Plus, if you stick around, and you're lucky, you can chase a few of those beauties with the Grill 'Em All truck's panko-crusted tater tots.
Overall Grade: B
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