Once you get past the gridlock, the maze of hilly roads with “LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY” signs, and the high probability of spending four hours next to a drunk man yelling about how the Dodgers need bullpen help (whatever that means), a game at Chavez Ravine is one of the better ways to spend a summer evening in LA.
The only problem with that plan? Hot dogs in the ballpark cost four times what you’ll pay at a cart down the street, and beer costs more than your ticket. So instead of spending too much on a meal you’ll probably end up dropping on the ground while trying to balance it on your lap, just go somewhere close to the stadium pre- or post-game. These are our favorite dive bars, beer spots, and restaurants near Dodger Stadium.
You shouldn’t really need an excuse to eat at Button Mash, but being walking distance from Chavez Ravine is a pretty great one. There’s plenty of space if you’re with a group, and the food is fantastic - the wings are spicy and crunchy, and the tofu balls will probably cause you to make that involuntary “mmf” noise that makes all your friends a little uncomfortable. Plus, with all the old arcade games, you can make your Padres-obsessed friend’s night even worse by beating them on a KISS-themed pinball machine.
There’s no such thing as an official Dodgers bar, but The Short Stop is as close as you’re going to get. Before the first pitch, this dive bar on Sunset is packed with people wearing Dodger blue taking advantage of the long list of Happy Hour deals. And after the game, Short Stop turns into a full-blown party where you can drink $5 jungle juice while James Brown plays from a jukebox. So, weirdly similar to your junior year of college.
You thought you’d be able to leave work early today and get a meal before the game, but now you’re just walking out of your office and the first pitch is in 45 minutes. When all you have time for in a pregame is a sandwich and a beer, this Cajun restaurant/grocery store in Chinatown is your place. The sandwiches come out quickly, so the only thing slowing you down will be choosing from the 30+ different options for filling. We’ll make it easy: get the Oyster Fish po’boy with catfish and oysters.
If we had to dream up an LA taco place, we would probably get lazy and just point you to the Echo Park Guisados. A small space with a constant (but fast-moving) line, a shady patio to sit in, and truly fantastic mole poblano tacos, our only real issue with Guisados is that it’s also BYOB. Give us a six-pack and a bunch of tacos, and there’s a not-small chance that we won’t be at the game until the fourth inning.
If you’re going to the game with a big group, Highland Park Brewery’s second location in Chinatown is where you’ll want to get a relaxed beer and some snacks before you enter the chaos of Chavez Ravine. You can all sit out on the patio at the picnic tables, pretending Elysian Park is actually your front yard. Even if you’re a lifelong Yankees fine, drinking a beer called Hello, LA next to people who only own clothing with Dodgers logos is enough to make you reconsider your loyalties - at least for the night.
Dodger Stadium has roughly three non-light beer options at most of their concession stands, so the 70 taps of (all-California-made) beer at Mohawk Bend will make up for that. Especially if you come for their late-night Happy Hour (after 10pm on weekdays or 11pm on weekends), when beers are $5.50. The crowd is a mix of locals who are here three times a week and people who’ll cross town for vegan buffalo cauliflower “wings,” all spreading out in a huge converted theater and working their way through that tap list.
If the Hollywood El Compadre is where you go for a night you probably won’t remember, the Echo Park location of this classic Mexican restaurant is where you go to prep for a ballgame. You’ll find TVs tuned in to catch up on all the Dodgers news you haven’t been paying attention to, and plenty of loud men wearing Kike Hernandez jerseys, so at least you’ll know one player’s name before you sit down. And there are flaming margaritas strong enough that you’ll find the game pleasant whether you’re a baseball person or not.
Little Joy is where you come if you refuse to pay too much for mediocre beer. The bouncers will make you wonder if you wronged them in a past life, but with plenty of $5 beers on tap, that’s a thing you can get past. Once you’re in, take over a big booth for your group’s customary play-by-play.
Walking into Sunset Beer feels like walking into a library, except the books are beer and instead of librarians shushing there are adults shouting about board games. They have hundreds of varieties of beer that you can pick off the shelves, along with a very good tap list and a small wine list. There are a bunch of board games too, so you can play chess if you want to annoy your friends a little bit, or Settlers of Catan if you want them to be annoyed with you forever.
Any kind of wine you order at Chavez Ravine is certainly going to taste like a mix of vinegar and tap water, so you should really just wait the game out and then head to El Prado. They have a great selection of wines by the glass, and hanging out in a dark bar playing records is a nice break after all the sun and organ music.