Gettin' Down & Dirty in the Dive Bars

— by Caroline on Crack

Frolic Room
Clipped from

Do you ever get tired of feeling like you have to round up your friends and get dressed up just to get a drink in this town? That’s what dive bars are for–cheap drinks, free popcorn, jukebox not dj, lax dress policy and real-live barflies asleep at the bar. And some even ::whisper:: allow smoking indoors! If you want to drink alone, hit a dive. Everyone there understands if you just want to cry into your beer. And the burly bartenders and earthy regulars will keep you company. Forget the velvet rope, hip party crowd and brusque doormen, just make sure you bring enough cash as most dives don’t take credit cards. I know ! Weird!

Frank N Hank’s
This K-Town dive is billed as “an awesome dive bar with super cheap booze…where every hour is happy hour.” With a rep like that, how can you go wrong? If you don’t want to just sit at the bar and stare down into your very strong cocktail, you can play darts, shoot some pool or sing along to a song from their very eclectic jukebox selection. Here, you rub elbows with Wilshire businessmen, K-Town artists and barflies.

518 S Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 383-2087
Cross Street: Fifth Street
Daily 2pm-2am

The Frolic Room
Located next to the flashy Pantages Theater on Hollywood Boulevard with its equally flashy sign, you can’t miss this old Hollywood dive bar. What’s funny is that that beautiful neon “Frolic Room” sign does not reflect what you find inside. Instead of a 1930s lounge, you get a really tiny, dark room with stools. But that just makes it easy to make friends with the theater-goers and hipsters who pour in and out of this place for the cheap drinks.

6245 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028-5310
(323) 462-5890
Daily 12pm-2am

Hinano Cafe
With the seeming gentrification of this MDR/Venice border spot (first Starbucks and now Coldstone Creamery, I hope Cow’s End doesn’t go anywhere) and popular nearby bars like Beechwood, the Brig and the Otheroom, the scattered sawdust on Hinano Cafe’s floor is a cozy reminder that this is Venice, home of the beach bums and artsy-fartsy artists, and you don’t have to get too fancy here. Ferget about asking for an apple martini as they only serve beer and wine. Crowds here consist of laid-back beachy locals or dolled up patrons of the nearby restaurants and fancier bars.

15 Washington Blvd
Venice, CA 90292-5123
(310) 822-3902
Daily 10pm-2am

Lost & Found
::Sigh:: Many memories at the good ol’ L&F as it is the dive bar that I like to frequent. Here you can get $4 very-strong cocktails, sports trivia on your napkins and free popcorn. Entertainment includes playing pool or darts and watching Andy, the friendly old geezer behind the bar, flirt with the ladies. What most might not like is that there’s smoking allowed, and lots of it so at the end of the night, if you don’t smoke, you smell and feel like you did.

11700 National Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064-3600
(310) 397-7772
Daily 11am-2am

The Stone
The first time I stumbled into this Thai Town bar was a little after 9pm and it looked like a dive bar with potential. There was the random old Thai barflies leaning on the bar and TVs mounted on the wall playing Asian music videos. But as soon as 10 o’clock rolled around, it seemed as if a bus of 20-something hipsters were let out here. And suddenly, I had never felt so old. Apparently this spot, as CitySearch puts it, is “as diverse as the surrounding neighborhood, with various theme nights including DJ dance music, live rock bands, karaoke and college parties,” so you never know what you’ll get when you walk in.

5221 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90027
(323) 466-6061
Cross Street: Harvard Boulevard
Daily 7pm-2am

Got a favorite dive bar that I didn’t cover? Post it here in the comments.