My idea of a good bar is one that’s casual, unpretentious, has no cover and no velvet rope. Some of these might have strayed away from that over time and become more for the Hollywood crowd. I guess that’s all part of the L.A. evolution.
Bar 107 • 107 W. 4th St • http://www.myspace.com/bar107
When it was still a tranny bar a few years back, I was interning at a multimedia studio just down the street. It was the only thing there other than Pete’s. It’s probably the only bar that’s managed to hold onto its appeal despite its popularity.
Casey’s Irish Bar • 613 S. Grand Ave • http://www.bigcaseys.com
Casey’s became my go-to bar for the short walk to and from, the large space, and general lack of scenesters. Bands that play on Fridays have been pretty good too.
Seven Grand • 515 W. 7th St • http://www.sevengrand.la
My favorite out of the 213 bars, if only because good times are always to be had here, especially if you’re with a group. Another bar to avoid on the weekends.
Cole’s / The Varnish • 116/118 E. 6th St • http://colesfrenchdip.com
Though separate entities, you have to go in one to get into the other. The historic significance and the decor of both places are so definitively downtown L.A.
The Edison • 108 W. 2nd St • http://www.edisondowntown.com
I’ve avoided this place like the plague lately, especially on the weekends, but it’s still a can’t-miss bar if you’re in L.A. The architecture, the decor, and the drinks have all raised the bar – pun – on downtown nightlife.
Villains • 1356 Palmetto St • http://www.villainstavern.com
This place got popular – and expensive – real quick, but it’s one of the coolest-looking bars I’ve been to in awhile. Reminds me of old bars you’d find in Chicago.
Far Bar • 347 E. 1st St • http://farbarla.com
An alleyway bar with a string of lights and Bruce Lee movies projected onto the walls. Kind of romantic in that gritty, Little Tokyo kind of way.
Bordello • 901 E. 1st St • http://www.bordellobar.com
It’s pink, red, and looks like a real Victorian brothel with nights that alternate between burlesque shows and local indie bands and artists that you will be hearing on the radio in a couple of years. I celebrated a birthday here, so it holds a special place in my girly little heart.
Biltmore Gallery Bar •506 S. Grand Ave • http://www.millenniumhotels.com/millenniumlosangeles/restaurant/
The usual suspects that you’ll find at this bar are far from it, but it’s such a glamourous bar to me that I always want to dress up here.
The Association • 110 E. 6th St • http://www.theassociation-la.com
It’s kind of lame now, due to the influx of suburbanites in stunners on the weekends. But when it first opened, it was the perfect neighborhood bar. They even held Twitter Tuesdays.