Many bored girlfriends agree: Guys aren't that good at going out. Even if you can get them to leave the house, they’ll probably suggest the same old place, and they’ll probably even order the same old thing. So when it’s time for two guys to go out together, even their combined creative energy can result in little more than a decent burger, or a nearby bar. What happens when that’s not good enough?
Your friend from college has been calling and you haven’t seen him in years. Your new coworker isn’t from around here and he wants you to show him the city. Maybe your girlfriend’s dad is in town, or you’re hanging out with your girlfriend’s best friend’s boyfriend — just the two of you.
Fear not. We’ve put in the work and done the math, and we think we have the answer to avoiding potential bro-down disasters. So put on a clean shirt and go pick up your mates. Tonight, we’re having a proper man-date.
5. Fat Sal's
Fat Sal’s makes the kind of sandwiches Homer Simpson dreams about. Piled sky high with a staggering cornucopia of deep fried indulgences, they’re like an entire appetizers menu between bread. Think you’re man enough? Well you might want to get your blood pressure checked first. These sandwiches are so contrary to notions of healthy eating that they should come with a warning label from the Surgeon General. Expect a rise in cholesterol, a possible heart attack, and a guaranteed food coma.
The wall-sized menu that greats you when you enter the Hollywood location can be overwhelming for first timers, which is why the place actually supplies a docent to walk you through your choices as you enter the Louvre of Lard. They have Fat Salads, Fat Wraps and Fat Fries, all available with toppings such as hamburger meat, pastrami, onion rings, and guacamole.
But the main event at Fal Sal’s is obviously going to be the Fat Sandwiches. As the slogan says: “We’re making sandwiches ova here!”
The classic Fat Sal's Sandwich is roast beef, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, fries, brown gravy, and mayo on a garlic hero. The Fat Jerry is a cheesesteak with chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, crispy bacon, and a fried egg. One more? Okay. The Fat Jaime is grilled ham, chicken fingers, grilled jalapenos, grilled onion, mozzarella, avocado, lettuce, and pico de gallo.
We’ll stop there, but honestly we could read through this menu all day. And if these and the other seven pre-set options aren’t enough, you can feel free to build your own. You might not want to tell your doctor about all this, but that’s nothing to worry about. If you're eating here, we know you don’t go to the doctor.
4. Sunset Beer Company
The Sunset Beer Company in Echo Park has the power to do the impossible. Believe it or not, this place makes men excited about shopping. The casual beer store and tasting room combination has everything two guys need for a long evening: a fireplace, comfy leather chairs, board games, and beer. Lots and lots of beer.
If you’re looking for a funky farmhouse saison, they’ve got a few. If you’re interested in trying something with Norwegian crowberry, they have that too. Focusing on small batch, seasonal, and unique craft beers, Sunset Beer Company has the feel of an independent record store, only for beer nerds. Their selection may be snobby, but their resident experts are anything but. Just grab a guy that looks Shaggy from Scooby Doo and he'll be more than happy to discuss various strains of hops or the proper way to go about aging certain brews in your now-overflowing beer cellar.
Allowing you to truly explore their vast selection, Sunset Beer Company has unboxed their six packs, encouraging you to select affordable singles, which are perfect for sampling new or experimental beers. This plays well into another masculine tendency: fear of commitment. And if you really need some time to think over the vast selection, you can slide into the tasting room to sample the rotating selection on tap. Or, if there’s a beer in your shopping basket that you have to try right now, they waive their corkage fee during happy hour (4-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday). Sunset Beer Company, 1498 W Sunset Blvd., Ste 3, Los Angeles, CA 90026, Echo Park
3. Taylor's Steakhouse
No list of man-food would be complete without a steakhouse. And if you're talking about the great all-time steakhouses of Los Angeles, you're probably talking about Taylor’s. Founded in 1953, this iconic Mid-Wilshire landmark stands preserved in time, and grounded in tradition. Even the prices look they're straight out of the past. The French Onion Soup is $4.50. The salads are five bucks.
But we’re not here for salads. We’re here to eat meat!
In the words of Ron Swanson “on second thought, I think I will have that third steak.” For the rest of us mortals, one juicy cut from Taylor's is going to be enough to put you under the table. The restaurant's signature 3-inch thick Cullotte, dry aged for 35 days and cooked with precision, is a toe-curling meat experience that would even stop Ron in his tracks. Seasoned simply, the meat is able to speak for itself; a great cut from Taylor’s needs no ornamentation, which is why common steak toppings such as grilled onions and sautéed mushrooms are served as side dishes here. Perhaps it’s a suggestion to eat the steak as it is, or perhaps it’s the manliest possible way to consume your daily dose of veggies.
Sitting in a red naugahyde booth, with a highball in hand and a steak on the way, it’s hard not to feel like the don of some organized crime family. Maybe it's just the lighting, or maybe its their expert serving staff, who go out of their way to make you feel like a boss. Either way, if you’ve got something to celebrate, or you're making someone an offer they can't refuse, you can’t beat this old-school standard for the perfect steakhouse experience. This food is so good, a cow would eat here.
Taylor’s Steakhouse: 3361 W 8th St., Koreatown.
Turn the page for two more great spots for a man-date.
2. Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Café
When people talk about the biggest burritos in L.A., they usually bring up the infamous “Porno Burrito” from El Atacor, recently mentioned in the Weekly's list of good eats for the stoned. But whereas the porno burrito might impress with obscene length, Manuel’s Special Burrito is unrivaled in jaw twisting girth. Don’t be put off by the $23 price tag; you’ll need the greater majority of a frat house to take one down in a single sitting.
At El Tepeyac, the guacamole is always fresh, the cheese is more than abundant, and in the early hours of the morning, the pork shoulder is patiently simmered for nearly half a day. The complex yet harmonious combination of spices used in the chili verde alone would be enough to explain Manuel's legendary status, but the reason Manny's makes this list of macho destinations is that these burritos literally weigh five pounds. Local favorites include Manuel's Special Machaca Burrito and the equally enormous breakfast burrito, which, yes, you can order with a side of bacon. Once featured on the Travel Channel’s Man vs Food, a Manuel’s Special Burrito can be an all day event for those eating for sport.
Founder Manuel Rojas is no longer with us, but for nearly 50 years he could be found at the entrance to El Tepeyac greeting each of his costumers in person. The men would often receive a shot of tequila while the the ladies would have trouble squeezing by without a kiss. Manuel's presence is still felt at this memorable East L.A. gathering place, with a large banner that communicates his guiding philosophy: “It's all about mind over matter. If I don't mind, it doesn't matter.” Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Café, 812 N. Evergreen Ave., Boyle Heights
1. The Black Boar
Loosely modeled after a British Pub, Eagle Rock’s Black Boar is careful not to take its theme too far. You won’t see anyone calling fries “chips,” and they don’t dress the doorman up like a member of the Queens Guard. What you will find, however, is strong drinks, nice people, and the perfect manly ambiance. Our only unfulfilled desire: finding a manlier way to say ambiance.
You can catch the game, but it’s not a sports bar. You can play some foosball but it’s not Dave and Busters. This is the kind of place you can really settle into, perfectly at ease next to Eagle Rock's infamous combination of friendly locals and mid-30s hipsters. Pull up a stool at the bar or plop down by the fireplace. Either way, the surrounding stone walls, detailed wood work, and rustic accents will make you feel like you just came home from a good hunt.
The Boar is also friendly to local restaurants, so feel to bring your food right in. Perhaps a pulled pork sandwich from Oinksters, or an eggplant and sausage pizza from Casa Bianca, or even the off-menu nachos secretly available at Ca Cao. Friendlier still are the Boars bartenders, which makes all the difference in the world when determining your new neighborhood bar. The Black Boar, 1630 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock