If you love music, then at some point, you’re likely to find yourself at the Echo.
Whether that means watching a noise band grind out their set to an audience of five people upstairs or dancing with a hundred people at a nightclub downstairs, the big question is always going to be: Where can we eat?
Thankfully, the Echo is located right in the middle of bustling Echo Park’s main drag, which is packed with bars and restaurants, from clean-living cafés serving vegan food and organic cocktails to late-night taco joints and dive bars.
While it’s not hard to find somewhere to go in this popular neighborhood, here are some tips to help you make the most of your night.
The light, airy vibe of Mohawk Bend is perfect for a low-key beer or glass of wine before you head down the street to the Echo. If you’re in the mood for a big night with an early start, happy hour runs from 3pm to 7pm, Monday through Friday, and features $11 pizzas along with drink specials. This being Echo Park, both the regular menu and the happy hour menu have plenty of vegan and vegetarian options.
Rock ‘n’ roll isn’t the most immaculate pastime in the world, so if you want to treat your body as a temple before you demolish it, then a cleansing pre-gig meal at Sage is in order. As you might expect, the substantial menu includes plenty of vegan “greatest hits,” along with some innovative uses for jackfruit, including a BBQ “pulled pork” sandwich and a “tuna” melt. You can also enjoy a selection of organic beers and fruity cocktails, and there is kombucha on tap for the sober crowd.
This cozy, well-worn date spot can get crowded later in the night, but if you arrive early, you should be able to find a seat at the bar. The vibe is hip but casual: A turntable, a chalkboard, and low lighting are about the extent of the interior decorating, but the rotating wine and beer lists won’t disappoint. If you’re hungry, there are light bar snacks available, but you’ll have to go somewhere else if you’re in need of a full meal.
A relatively new addition to the Echo Park stretch of Sunset Boulevard, Bar Calo specializes in Mexican wines and mezcal cocktails whipped up by ex-Bestia bar manager Jeremy Simpson. A light food menu is also available all day, focusing on snacks and shared plates, including oysters and salt-roasted spot prawns. Come early and grab a spot on the comfy, wrap-around couch if you can.
It may not be the fanciest food in Echo Park, but a 3am taco from Burrito King is certainly one of the most satisfying experiences you’ll have in the neighborhood. A local institution well before the latest crop of bars and restaurants moved in, Burrito King is ready and willing to supply you with cheap, delicious Mexican food well into the early hours of the morning.
The Echo Park outpost of this New York pizza chain known for quirky creations like “The Newman” and “The Larry Tate” thankfully keeps the pizza ovens burning until midnight. If you’re simply in need of a snack, grab a slice or two, or you can settle in and order a whole pie if you’re serious.
Located on Glendale Boulevard, a little away from Echo Park’s main drag, Semi-Tropic is housed in a nondescript building, so keep your eyes open. The low-key vibes continue inside, with plenty of open space and a stripped-back renovated-warehouse feel. Despite the late hours (it’s open until 2am), things tend to stay pretty civilized here, so it’s the perfect place to decompress over a drink rather than party into the night. Dinner, which includes sandwiches and bowls, is served until midnight.
Old-school Echo Parkers will often complain that Little Joy has changed for the worse since back in the day. While you’re more likely to find people sipping craft kombucha than nodding off in the corner, you can still have a good time at this long-standing LA dive. The vibe is no-frills, a throwback to a time when this was simply a hole in the wall for drinking: basically a low-lit room with a pool table and plenty of exposed brick. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a DJ or a party in the back room.