Without trying too hard to sound like the ultimate douchebag hipster, I have to say, it’s hard to find a good bar in LA. Our neighborhood watering hole has become a place where you wouldn’t be caught dead, unless it has the luck of the draw to be deemed the cool bar by tons of obnoxious kids being way too loud and trying way too hard to get laid all the time, as opposed to just going to a bar and enjoying what the bar does best.
I’m not faulting clubs, or bars with good active dance floors. Hell, I know a great little salsa bar in Hollywood that you wouldn’t dare sit down in. You’d be the only fool not dancing! That’s great when I want to end an evening in someone’s arms, or really get into a dance groove and let music get me crazy. For that it works. For just getting a beer however, there seems to be a strict scale.
On one side of this scale, to me, is the ultra hip douche bar, serving specialty drinks and 8 dollar bud lights to the unsuspecting yuppie. These guys don’t have a clue that they’re overpaying, cause they just don’t know what beer costs in a regular bar. When they go to a concert, beers are the same price as their local “pub”.
Then, on the other side of the bar spectrum, is the way too gnarly dive bar. I love dive bars. Some, are just WAY too gnarly though. I don;t mind having to get buzzed into a bar so the hypodermic junkies don’t stay in there all day, that’s quaint. However, when you have to keep your eyes on your knuckles, and your fist around your pint, that’s just a little too gnarly for me.
The perfect bar, for me, is on the dive side of the spectrum. Being a lover of all kinds of different beers however, I like variety.
Last Thursday, I had the misfortune of being fooled by a cool bar facade. Los Angeles Brewing Company in Downtown LA, was the con man in this instance. Lured in bhy the promise of a hundred or so taps available, I purchased one of those totally hit or miss Amazon Local deals, seemingly doubling my money at the bar.
I should have known better, in retrospect. Any bartender, by his very nature,, is going to pay you less attention, if you’re paying with an 8.5 x 11 inch printout. Even if you go far beyond that, you’re a couponer. I had my doubts at first, giving bartenders the benefit of the doubt, as I am a lover of their craft, but the truth is simple, a coupon makes you seem like a no tipper. I tip, I took offense to the service I recieved. The place was empty, but no service. Anyway, this isn’t a bitch session. I’m just saying, having EVERYTHING I want, beer wise, is no guarantee. Service is a huge part of it.
Most people will never understand why a hag at the bar, all jiggly cleavage and gnarly flirtation, while not being in any way attractive, is still a shining beacon of bar warmth, if the girl does a good job. I say hag conservatively. Some barmaids are true gnar purveyors, full of dirty jokes and “I’m more than one of the guys” humour. They can make a trucker blush and a gangster scared, they are the barmaids who have seen it all, called the paramedics way too many times, and know what it is to watch someone puke at their bar and be responsible for that. That’s a good bar, and there just aren’t that many in Los Angeles.
Ok I take it all back. I’ve been typing because I just came from a bar in Woodland Hills, and am probably projecting that scene onto my fair city. My bartenders are out there. . . Laird at the Redwood, Jackie at the dirty Diver, and that dude at La Cuevita who calls himself a mixologist.
Still, be careful. . . . if you’re at an obvious douchebag bar, and you look around, and you don’t see any douches. . . it might be you!