Monday, January 4, 2010
Over The Hill
In honor of my (hopefully) impending move to the Valley, I decided to do a rundown of its watering holes, a couple of which I have visited, most of which I intend to shortly. Sadly, there is a dearth of cocktail-focused bars, and a plethora of dives and Irish or English pubs, but here is a list of some of some of the best/most interesting the Valley has to offer:
Laurel Tavern – Crowded and sceney gastropub, but super convenient as it’s right over Laurel Canyon, plus there’s not really any other bars in the vicinity. I haven’t had the food, although it looks yummy, and they have a great selection of beers and a good selection of quality liquor – I got a very generous shot of Bookers for $9!
Tonga Hut Tiki Lounge– LA’s oldest tiki bar, open since 1958. After years of neglect when it became a defacto dive bar, new owners took over a few years ago and they refurbished it, returning it to its original kitschy tiki-ness. It will definitely be my first stop on my Valley tour!
Bar One – A step up from a dive bar, it’s more a simple neighborhood bar full of locals, with cheap strong drinks and a relaxed vibe. Plus, their happy hour runs from 7-9pm (which means I can actually take advantage of it after work!)
Sardo’s –Tuesday night is Porn Star Karaoke night. ‘Nuff said.
The Fifth – Owned by the same people who own The Well and The Woods (and also NoBar in North Hollywood). It’s another neighborhoody bar/lounge with cheap drinks and a laid back vibe (although weekends can get pretty busy).
Los Toros – If you ever happen to venture out to the far northwestern reaches of the Valley (aka Chatsworth) and are craving cheap Mexican food and tequila, this is your place. It’s quite an experience – think El Coyote on steroids. The space is huge, like a block long, with many many rooms, and a couple different bars. The people watching is amazing – there was a couple having their wedding celebration with family, there were guys in cowboy hats, there were cholas galore, and there were quite a few old leering men too. I was with a group so I felt pretty safe (although my friends told me that fights are not unheard of). There was also a good selection of tequilas – they even had Partida, and it was cheap – so that was a bonus!
There’s also a huge amount of English and Irish pubs in virtually every part of the Valley, including The Fox & Hounds in Studio City, Timmy Nolan’s in Toluca Lake, The Robin Hood Pub in Sherman Oaks (great pot pies, btw), and The White Harte in Woodland Hills, among others.
Hopefully this will get you started in the Valley until one of our cocktail brethren (by which I don’t mean males per se, I just didn’t know what the female version is – sistren?) decides to open a serious cocktail bar there. Happy drinking!
By Hot Toddy (aka Rebecca)
Laurel Tavern: 11938 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604, (818) 506-0777, www.laureltavern.net
Tonga Hut Tiki Lounge: 12808 Victory Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91606, (818) 769-0708, www.tongahut.com
Bar One: 12518 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91607, (818) 509-1938 , www.bar1noho.com
Sardo’s: 259 N Pass Ave., Burbank, CA 91505, (818) 846-8126, www.sardosbar.comThe Fifth: 4821 Whitsett Ave., Valley Village, CA 91607, (818) 753-8297, www.vintagebargroup.comLos Toros: 21743 Devonshire St., Chatsworth, CA 91311, (818) 882-3080, www.lostoros.com