Every dive has its history, but when it comes to bars in Southern California, it's nearly impossible to top Long Beach's Joe Jost's--one of the oldest continually operating taverns in any state west of the Mississippi.
Jost, a Hungarian immigrant, opened the eponymous business in 1924, running it as a combination barbershop and pool hall that served food--including the famous Special sandwich and pickled eggs--during the dry years of Prohibition. That those eggs, stained yellow with pepper-spiced brine, predated the availability of a nearly frozen schooner of Eastside Old Tap Lager--or, in later years Pabst and now Busch--seems almost impossible, as their spicy, vinegary flavor is matched perfectly with a gigantic beer so cold that small ice floes often appear on the head.
Enjoyed at the bar, the eggs come showered in black pepper, served in a loosely twisted square of deli paper alongside pretzels and a stray pickled pepper or two. And for fans that live a few too many freeway interchanges away, the bartenders will gladly will you send you home with a Mason jar full.
Joe Jost's: 2803 East Anaheim Street, Long Beach, (562) 439-5446.
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Look for more "Best of L.A." pieces in our annual Best of L.A. issue, coming Oct. 7th.