Six Places to Drown Your Worries on a Budget

El Vaquero Arts and Entertainment Editor

ABOUT 6ix:

Each issue, El Vaquero will feature six interesting items of interest. Whether it’s six great bands, bars, restuarants or theme parks, 6ix will narrow the field and feature the best that is out there.

Cha Cha Lounge

The days of high cover charges and pricey drinks may be coming to an end, as the rise of the friendly neighborhood bars is giving bargoers a place of their own.

At 11:15 p.m., the line to get into some trendy bar in Downtown L.A. is not getting any shorter. Restless bar flies whip out their cell phones like switch blades and “Hey, what are you doing tonight?” calls are made by the dozen. A gorilla of a bouncer at the door, who goes by the name of “Big Fred,” stops a young couple at the door. The girl gets in free while the dude has to cough up the $20 cover charge. Inside, some scantily clothed girls dance by the bar, while others stand around and discuss how they are “so over the scene.”

A lone soul walks over to the bar to wet his whistle, orders a beer and walks back mumbling, “10 bucks! I could have gotten a six-pack for that.” As the night winds down, a bartender shouts, “last call!” Two young pre-law types stroll in as the place is closing after waiting two hours in line. What ever happened to the good old days, where the only line at a bar was for the foosball table and drinks didn’t leave you cashing in your pennies to pay the rent? Luckily, times are a-changing, as the rise of friendly, local neighborhood bars are giving those jaded by trendy night spots a new place to congregate.

Depending on the day of week, there might be a line to get in, but it’s actually worth the wait and surprise, surprise, there is no cover at the door. The Cha Cha Lounge, nestled in Los Feliz on Glendale Boulevard, boasts both a great atmosphere and friendly regulars. The L.A. transplant of a Seattle-based bar, was voted one of the best bars in the world by

The red-lit, tiki-hut themed bar, compete with a straw-thatch roof covered bar makes for an interesting meet place or good first date. Drinks are realtily cheap, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer is only $2.50 a pint and mix drinks for under $10. The bar host great tunes as well, everything from The Rolling Stones to Slayer could be blarring as you walk in. Nice touches include the foosball table and photobooth, which im sure would have some intresting stories to tell, if photobooths could talk.

Where it’s at: 2375 Glendale Blvd. (Cross Street: Silver Lake Boulevard), Los Angeles. Call (323) 660-7595.

The Echo

Further south, off the 2 South in Echo Park, is The Echo, located on the scenester stip of Sunset Blvd. The Echo doubles as a great venue as well as place to enjoy a drink or two. With either a touring band passing thru or clubs each night of the week, The Echo has a little something for everyone. Higlites include Dub Club, spining the best of reggae and due on Weds nights and Part Time Punks on Sunday nights where noisey, alt-indie bands showcase their stuff.

With a fully stock bar and New Castle, Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap, there is enough inebriation to go around. I strongly recommend either an Irish car bomb or Jager bomb (a shot of Jagermeister dropped into a glass of Red Bull) as an appetizer.

Where it’s at: 1822 W. Sunset Blvd. (Cross Street: Lemoyne Street),
Los Angeles. Call: (213) 413-8200.

Little Joy

Just a few blocks east of The Echo is Little Joy, the undisputed king of the hip dive bar circuit. All the elements are in play, cash only, broken pool table and booths held together with duct tape. Don’t let the trashy appearance fool you though, on any given night you may find your price charming or lock eyes with a blonde bombshell while having a drink with a regular who knows who shot JFK. Cheap drinks and a warm welcoming crowd add to the appeal of this bar. Weekend nights trend to get little crowded at times as the spill over from The Short Stop stumble over. Be sure to tip your bartender, play some Johnny Cash on the jukebox and check out the art on the hallway walls as you walk to the restrooms.

Where it’s at: 1477 Sunset Blvd (Cross Street: Portia Street),
Los Angeles. Call (213) 250-3417.

The Bigfoot Lodge

Across town, by the 5 Freeway, is The Bigfoot Lodge in Los Feliz. Smoky The Bear welcomes you as you enter the bar; the entire bar is decorated as a wood cabin, with mechanical beavers that pop out of fake wooded logs and deer heads mounted on the walls. One of few strictly punk rock bars left in the city, the bar usually attracts the punk and rockabilly crowd, with the exception of a few stand outs that wonder in. The bar hosts themed nights each night of the week, Monday is rock n roll karaoke and Tuesday nights is Mix Tape, with drink specials for all the ladies. The Bigfoot has a tendency to get crowded on the weekends, but is perfect for a weeknight outing with the boys, or girls for that matter. Order a Toasted Marshmallow and have a funny story to tell your friends on Monday.

Where it’s at: 3172 Los Feliz Blvd. (Cross Street: Glenfeliz Boulevard), Los Angeles. Call (323) 662-9227.

The Roost

Close by The Bigfoot, lays The Roost. Nipping at the heels of Little Joy, The Roost could be the second best dive bar in L.A. The beauty in The Roost starts with its very relaxing atmosphere, the perfect place to drop in, have a drink and escape the big crowds at other bars. Drinks are very cheap and if you tip well, you will only need one drink, if you catch my drift. Even on a weekend it doesn’t trend to get too crowded, so order a Whiskey Sour, help yourself to some fresh popcorn courtesy of the bar and watch as the owners pour 120 proof alcohol on the bar counter and light the sucker on the fire.

Where it’s at: 3100 Los Feliz Blvd. (Cross Street: Edenhurst Avenue), Los Angeles. Call (323) 664-7272.

The Scene

Voted having the best jukebox in L.A. by Amoeba Music, local hometown hero The Scene has a nice following. The down and dirty rock ‘n’ roll bar hosts live music or DJs each night of the week. There usually is a $5 to $10 cover charge on nights with live music. The bar has nightly drink specials, and if you’re a football fan, Monday nights is football night where $10 gets you a food ticket good for an In-N-Out double double, a bag of chips and soda as well as two drinks, not too shabby for a night in Glendale.

Where it’s at: 806 E. Colorado Blvd, (Cross Street: S. Cedar Street), Glendale. Call (818) 241-7029.

So, hopefully with these new watering holes, you won’t be left standing line, counting the cracks in the sidewalk, wondering how your shirt got stained and chain smoking. All while, some douchbag cuts in line in front you to drop $30 at the door and another $20 on two beers, 11:15 p.m. on a Saturday night.