What's With the Attitude? L.A.'s 5 Surliest Neighborhoods
Eric Demarcq / Flickr

What's With the Attitude? L.A.'s 5 Surliest Neighborhoods

We all know you think your neighborhood is the best, especially if you live in one of the hipster zones such as Venice's Abbot Kinney area.

Yes, your grocery store is full-on organic, the local dog park is to die for, and Yelp lists a dozen hot foodie joints on your main drag. But is your 'hood tough? Would it win in a fight against, say, the South Bronx? The short answer is ... no. But, we thought about it and came up with a list of L.A. city's five surliest neighborhoods. Just for your enjoyment:

5. Silver Lake. Ha! We hit you with a surprise hook. Sure, Silver Lake is L.A.'s original Boys Town. And it's the epitome of "gentrification" in L.A., right down to the inevitable opening of a Whole Foods sometime in 2014. But there really are two Silver Lakes:

See also: Los Angeles' Douchiest Neighborhoods.

There's the one in the manse-filled hills, and the side that runs along Sunset Boulevard until it reaches that onetime barrio known as Echo Park. South of Sunset you'll find a predominantly Latino neighborhood with gangs and even the occasional shooting. We especially love the otherwise friendly Armenian musclemen who run things after-hours at Los Globos Fridays. The definition of surly.

What's With the Attitude? L.A.'s 5 Surliest Neighborhoods
Crime scene tape outside the Whole Foods in Venice following a shooting. Really.

4. Venice. We're not talking about the pinkies-in-the-air, espresso-sipping scene of Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Rather, we're speaking of the old-school Venice, largely in the Oakwood neighborhood but even outside of it.

We're talking about the Venice Breakwater Locals (VBWL) surf clique, gangster white-boy skaters, bikers and cholos with pit bulls. The place is just waiting for a fight.

What's With the Attitude? L.A.'s 5 Surliest Neighborhoods
Jordan Downs.

3. Watts. How things have changed in the more than 20 years since the L.A. riots. Latinos have taken over much of South L.A., and the area is home to a music revolution fueled by Mexican-American punk-rock teens with skateboards.

See also: 5 Los Angeles Rental Neighborhoods Under the Radar.

Still, if you want to find Instant surly, go to the Jordan Downs Housing Projects and say hi to some of the Grape Street Crips that rule the area. Or better yet, don't. People still occasionally shoot at cops around these parts. Sorry, no hipster jokes here. Hipsters are considered pet food in Watts.

What's With the Attitude? L.A.'s 5 Surliest Neighborhoods
The cast of the reality show 'K-Town' by W.B. Fontenot for LA Weekly.

2. Koreatown. Wait, Koreatown? Home of adventurous gastropubs and the Boiling Crab and dive bars and karaoke and hipsters galore? Yeah, but Koreatown is also at the crossroads of the headquarters of the two baddest gangs in America, 18th Street and Mara Salvatrucha. Things have been pretty mellow, but the streets along Western and Normandie aren't exactly Rodeo Drive. Korean men are no pushovers, either. And this is one of L.A.'s favorite watering holes: People like to fight when they're drunk. Bring gloves.

And, finally, L.A.'s surliest neighborhood is ...

What's With the Attitude? L.A.'s 5 Surliest Neighborhoods
Pete / Flickr

1. San Pedro. This community has it all. Not only is San Pedro (and neighboring Wilmington) home to some pretty rough streets and gang crime, but the L.A. harbor area is home to truly surly fisherman, Teamsters, dock workers and Croatian and Portuguese immigrants. You want to get into a bar fight with Popeye? This is your place. It's also where tough-guy former City Attorney Carmen Trutanich grew up. And if he were still City Hall's top prosecutor, he'd bust your ass for even looking at him sideways.

See also: We Love San Pedro, Surliness And All.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories