What classifies as a dive bar? First and foremost, the bartender should definitely know how to make a stiff Red Bull and vodka that's also cheap. And if there's a jukebox bumping out oldies from the 60s and 70s, then that's usually a good sign. It should also be very dark inside – enough for you to gloss over the fact that there's shag carpeting on the walls. Because who wants to stare at that all night?! Hollywood has always been a prime locale for dive bars, probably because it's the only place in the city where glamour and grit are synonymous with one another. That being said, here are a few spots you'll want to check out.
Power House: Located right across from the Hollywood & Highland Center, Power House is one of those places you've most likely driven past hundreds of times, but never once stepped foot inside. And it's probably the only place in Hollywood that has PBR on tap for three bucks – it doesn't get more dive-y than that. Power House can get a little crowded on weekends, but when the jukebox is spinning Joy Division and The Kinks, life just seems a little less cramped. On a side note, Power House is also a favorite after-work hangout for Hollywood Boulevard street performers. So who knows? It could be one of the few times in your life where you can say you drank with Batman.
1714 N. Highland Ave., 90028; 323-463-9438
Frolic Room: If you're in need of an extra stiff drink before a concert at the Palladium, than the Frolic Room will not disappoint. A Hollywood institution since the 30s, much of the area surrounding the Frolic Room has recently turned trendy with the arrival of the W Hotel. But the Frolic Room has somehow managed to maintain its dive-bar roots – despite being surrounded by cool people all the time. Mixed drinks will run you about $8, but you'll never pay more than $3 for a Budweiser or PBR. They recently ditched the old school jukebox and went digital. But with a selection that includes both Tom Jones and The Misfits, how can anyone complain?
6245 Hollywood Blvd., 90028; 323-462-5890
The Woods: It's located right next to a liquor store in a seedy-looking strip mall just off Sunset. But quirky locales aside, Hollywood's dive bar-folk still rank The Woods as one of their go-to spots. Drinks are always cheap – expect to pay about $6 for well drinks, and $4 for beer. And if you happen to be in the mood for one of their signature cocktails, then be sure to try the s'mores martini. It tastes just as good as it sounds. The cozy interior also has the look and feel of a mountain ski lodge, complete with elk antler chandeliers and cedar walls. Why else would it be called The Woods?
1533 N. La Brea Ave., 90028; 323-876-6612
The Well: It's tucked away on Argyle Street, about a stone's throw away from Hollywood and Vine. If you're familiar with the area, you may have driven past The Well about a dozen times but never noticed it. That's quite all right, though, because The Well takes pride in being unpretentious. It's here that you can get a sturdy mixed drink for about $6, and most beer for $3. The Well also has food, like jalapeno mac n' cheese, street-style tacos, and an out-of-this-world turkey burger with fries for only $9. And if you're a fan of all types of music, then you'll fall in love with their old school jukebox. It has a nice blend of old hits and modern classics – none of which are sung by Beyoncé. Bonus?
6255 W. Sunset Blvd., 90028; 323-467-9355