BARS AND RESTAURANTS

The Best Worst Dive Bars in Hollywood According to Native Angelenos

The Best Worst Dive Bars in Hollywood According to Native Angelenos

Friday night in Hollywood can be Hell on Earth. Even if you manage to claw your way through the packs of drunk tourists, screaming children, wannabe actors, guys hawking mixtapes and people in superhero costumes, it doesn’t get much better once you find an actual bar. Hollywood has to be home to some of the worst bars in LA. There’s a reason why there are so many films where LA is destroyed by a giant asteroid: they were written after a terrible night drinking along Hollywood Boulevard.

True, a lot of Native Angelenos avoid Hollywood like the plague. But, they also know that if you’re in the mood, Hollywood is like this weird vortex that sucks in all kinds of people—and if you know the right places to go, you’re pretty much guaranteed a wild night. Sometimes the worst place to go is also the best place to go.

So, we asked a few Angelenos to recommend the best of the worst in LA. From classic dives to fetish clubs here are 9 places where you (probably) can’t fail to have a good time in Hollywood.

 

Facebook / The Dime

The Dime

When you first walk in it might not look like much, but head to the bar and order a shot of tequila. And then another one. As the fog clears, you’ll start to notice all the elements coming together: cheap drinks, low lighting, and a DJ who knows how to party. But the secret ingredient here is the crowd. Once it gets rolling, it really does have the potential to be one of the best nights of your life.

 

Boardner’s

This old school Hollywood dive has been around forever. You can lurk in the dingy front bar or head up to the dance floor (they regularly host “alternative” bands and 80s nights). It generally has a pretty relaxed vibe, but be warned: it’s just off the tourist drag and you do get the occasional bachelorette party or Hollywood pub crawl coming through here.

 

Bar Sinister @ Boardner’s

If you head to Boardner’s on a Saturday night, you might want to be wearing black. To be honest, I don’t really understand the whole fetish thing. I mean, sex is sex, right? I’m not sure why people need leather or role playing to make it more interesting. Still, everyone needs to go to a fetish club once, and this Hollywood fetish institution has been around forever. Downstairs there’s a dance floor, while upstairs things get a little more raunchy.

 

Facebook / Bar Sinister

Burgundy Room

Another original Hollywood dive hanging on down Cahuenga. Many people of the “alternative” persuasion claim this is the best bar in Hollywood. Though it was originally opened in 1919 (making it one of the oldest bars in Hollywood), it was done over as a punk bar in 1989 and still has that anything-goes 90s vibe. You’ll find a mixed crowd in here: rock stars who never made it, the young and beautiful, and locals nursing a beer at the bar.

 

Frolic Room

Even if you’ve never been here, you’ve probably driven past the sign. It’s right on Hollywood and Vine, wedged in between the t-shirt shops and tourist traps. It can get pretty crazy on this block but this historic relic of Hollywood glamour makes it worth wading through the morass. It’s probably better for a quiet drink on a weeknight or Sunday afternoon due to the location, but if you’re drunk enough on a Friday night, you can definitely have a little fun here.

 

Bar Lubitsch

If you’re into comedy, they do regular nights here—and occasionally some pretty big names show up. The live music is more WeHo singer-songwriter fare—you can take it or leave it. The main reason to come here are the cocktails and the dance floor. Sure the DJ’s a bit naff, but they serve 200 types of vodka. Once you’ve sampled a few, you won’t care what they’re playing.

 

Saddle Ranch

This is a bit further out in West Hollywood and it’s a bit of a tourist trap, but who can resist a mechanical bull? It’s the perfect date place if Urban Cowboy is your favorite movie.

 

Brick Yard Pub

No dance floor, but if you’re looking for a low-key place to shoot some pool over a few quiet beers, you can hide from the Hollywood hustle and bustle in here.

 

Loaded

For some of us, the 90s recently came back. For others, like the regulars at Loaded, they never went away. That’s the weird thing about Hollywood—even though you’re in the midst of all these tourist traps and commercial culture, many of the locals seem to be hanging on to an anachronistic idea of 90s alternative culture. The live music runs the gamut from glam rock to grunge to hair metal and it’s not uncommon to see a few aging punk rockers reliving the glory days of 80s and 90s rock ‘n roll here.

Stories you'll love