LA nightlife is not restricted to the well dressed and wealthy. With the economy on the steady decline the modest, low-key bars seem to be on the rise. If you enjoy the music and people aspects of nightlife as much as the next person but aren’t too keen on getting all dressed up to stand in long lines just to be told you cannot get in somewhere, I’ve got just the places for you to check out. Tired of waking up with the ringing in your ears from the loud club you went to the night before, these hole in the wall bars have jukeboxes with an amazing song selection, good cheap drinks. and some of the greatest people watching you’ll ever experience.
99 E Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105
Could a Friday or Saturday night get any better than sitting at a bar that serves greasy food, cheap drinks, and has a good looking wait-staff? No I didn’t think so. But how about all that plus a TV at practically every table and booth? Or what about karaoke downstairs or foosball, air hockey, and pool tables as far as the eye can see, for those of us who aren’t the sports fanatic types? Sounds like a good time! But that’s not even the beginning of it. Barney’s Beanery in Pasadena has all that and enough stuff on the walls to keep the extremely ADD entertained. This bar with its casual atmosphere and great décor is the place to go for a low-key but entertaining night. The people are great and the drinks are inexpensive. And if you have an old license plate just lying around the house take it with you, you’ll see why when you get there!
419 Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Are you a Rolling Stones or Guns & Roses fan? If so, you should check out where they got their start at The Kibitz Room in West Hollywood. It’s no big name club, but it has been around since the ‘30s; which is almost unheard of for Los Angeles. With its chill atmosphere it is the perfect place to sit, have a drink, and listen to artists rock out. On a normal night three bands will perform. Pictures line the walls of all the bands that have once played there. With the music and people watching it is ideal for the laid-back. But a word of advice, you can get the same beer anywhere so go with the mixed drinks, they’re strong and worth the price. Kibitz is conveniently attached to Canter’s 24-hour deli so just walk next door if you get the late night munchies or need some food to soak up the strong drinks. And did I mention Sunday nights are open mic night? What else is there to say?
916 S. San Fernando Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91502
The Blue Room is your typical old school, neighborhood dive bar. It is a cash only bar but don’t fret there is an ATM on the premises. It is a nice place to go for after work drinks with an informal crowd, and a decent selection on the jukebox. The smoking patio out back is also a huge bonus. The only thing that is not ordinary and old school about this bar are the bright blue green vinyl booths and blue lights. If you go to see nothing else, you must check out the wild decorations during the holiday season.
5511 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
With the black walls and few tables and booths in the back, the dark ambiance and simple décor of Relax Bar is perfect for dirty rock shows. Despite the fact that there is no liquor served, only serving beer and wine gives this bar an unpretentious atmosphere. It is owned by the same people that own the Thai carryout restaurant next door so you can order food off their menu and eat it right inside the bar. There is a cover charge but the metal music shows are well worth the money.
12 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105
Tired of the loud clubs where you can’t hear yourself think much less what the person next to you is saying? Well Freddie’s 35er is just the place to go for a catch-up session with an old friend and actually hear what they are trying to tell you. With personable bartenders who not only serve good cheap drinks but also a large selection of beer on tap, this funky little dive bar in Old Pasadena is simple yet so exciting all at the same time! They serve Guinness on tap for goodness sake. There is no menu to order food from so either keep an eye on how much you drink or eat a lot of the free popcorn they offer at the bar.