Some combinations seem like they were just made for each other: Sirs Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. Peace and quiet. Burgers and beer. And while we can’t help you become best friends with Gandalf and Professor X, we definitely can help you find the perfect place to surrender all responsibility, raise a glass of something above 10% ABV, and house a cheeseburger. Because sometimes, that’s all you really need.
You can argue about whether or not the Office Burger, a patty-on-a-sub-roll, really counts as a hamburger, but there’s no denying that it tastes good, and it goes perfectly with a limited-release IPA. Father’s Office has a large outpost in Culver City, but when you’re solo, you can’t beat the tiny Santa Monica original. It’s got a lively bar, an overwhelming tap list, and a staff that’s ready to help you select the perfect beer to complement your burger - or whatever you want to call it.
Plain and simple, Everson Royce Bar has the best burger in LA. It’s an excellent lesson in simplicity - just ground chuck, pickles, and cheddar. They’d be on this list even if all they had on tap was Coors Light, but the stuff on their list is way better - mostly local brews from Three Weavers, Beachwood, and Common Space. The inside bar is a good spot to talk with the bartenders, who somehow manage to maintain serious conversations while making extremely complicated cocktails.
Compared to some of the other places to drink in Playa del Rey (it’s right next to the iconic Prince O’Whales), The Tripel is a relative newcomer. But this spot on Culver Blvd. has become an essential piece of the neighborhood, because they serve consistently great burgers and have one of the best beer lists on the Westside. If there’s someone in your life who claims they don’t like beer, this is the place to prove them wrong, because they truly have something for everyone - from a 3% Berliner weisse to a huge 13% barrel-aged stout.
Blue Dog is a block from the 405 in Sherman Oaks, but it feels more like a hometown bar somewhere in Maine. Whether it’s your first time or you’re there twice a week, the bartenders treat you like a regular. There’s a serious tap list that changes frequently, so get whatever looks good to go with one of the burgers. Our favorite of the bunch is the Blue Dog - bacon with mushrooms and onions - but really, anything with their homemade root beer BBQ sauce deserves your attention.
This train-station-turned-bar on the Hollywood/Weho border is one of the rowdier after-work spots in town. On a random Tuesday, you’ll find a crowd of people stopping in for “a beer” on their way home from work, even though they know full well they’ll walk out two hours later with a serious buzz. They probably also know they’ll order the burger, because it’s one of the best in town - with house-made American cheese and sweet griddled shallots. The beer list is good, and if you’re looking to branch out, the burger pairs well with the $6 Happy Hour martini.
Big Dean's Ocean Front Cafe
Considering that it’s basically underneath the Santa Monica Pier, it’s sort of a miracle that Big Dean’s manages to stay tourist-free. This sports bar is one of the few spots in the area where people from the neighborhood actually go, and it’s an excellent place to spend an afternoon. Their double cheeseburger is the platonic ideal of an LA burger - griddled onions and all. The bar will always have games on the TVs, but chances are, the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Orlando Magic won’t compare to the people-watching on the back patio.
When the original Plan Check on Fairfax shut down, we were pretty bummed. Fortunately, there are still locations in Downtown LA, Sawtelle, and Santa Monica. The DTLA spot has a particularly lively after-work crowd, and all three serve standout burgers. We have no idea how they make the Americanized dashi cheese and ketchup leather that come on the namesake PCB, and we don’t really care, as long as we can keep ordering it.
Ercole’s in Manhattan Beach is another beach dive with a burger that’s definitely worth the drive. They griddle them right behind the bar, and though they basically look like fancy McDonald’s burgers, they’re way better. Considering this place opened in 1927, they’ve got a surprisingly great selection of craft beers. The crowd here looks like they all might have appeared in The Endless Summer, and if you sit by the pool table, there’s a not-small chance someone will challenge you to a game (that you will lose).
Getting a reservation at Connie and Ted’s used to be near-impossible. It’s since calmed down a bit, and it’s even better for it. Pretty much any night of the week, you can walk in, grab a seat at the bar, and order a burger, a beer, and maybe some oysters. For having a pretty snoozy dining room, there’s a fun - and often pretty rowdy - group of neighborhood people (including a famous actor or two) sitting at the bar during Dodgers games.
If you’ve ever wanted to see where off-duty pirates (and the ghost of Jim Morrison) hang out, head to Hinano Cafe. Located right off the Venice boardwalk, it’s a beach dive in all the best ways, crowded with locals who remember a time when the canals were definitely not a tourist attraction. The burger isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, but it just feels right to be eating it along with the free bag of Lay’s and the pepperoncinis you get on the side. Also important to note: They serve that burger until 1am.
In the midst of Hollywood strip joints and clubs full of lesser Kardashians is Stout - a surprisingly calm burger spot. They have a massive tap list that usually includes a bunch of hard-to-find Belgian beers that go great with any of the burgers. Our favorite is the Morning After - basically a bacon, egg, and cheese burger - but you can’t really go wrong. They’re also open until 4am, so even though you won’t be able to get a beer then, it’s still an excellent place to swing by once Tramp Stamp Granny’s (just up the block) closes at 2.
The Third Street Promenade, in general, is not an ideal place to be alone with your thoughts, but HiHo Cheeseburger is special. There’s no actual bar, but after you order at the counter, you can sit by the window and watch the chaos unfurl all around you as you eat an excellent smashburger. The beer list is small, but with a burger this good, you don’t want some super-sweet tripel to go with it, so a simple lager is perfect.
This legendary family-run Thai spot on Sunset has more than 200 items on its menu, but a burger isn’t one of them. But it still makes our list because of the Jazz burger - a super-spicy burger inspired by the lunches Chef Jazz used to make for her kids. Ask for it by name, and order a large Chang beer, too. You’ll not only experience one of the best combos in town, you’ll get to feel like you’re a member of a secret burger society.
Choosing to drive down Laurel Canyon at rush hour is like voluntarily locking yourself in a room with a bunch of angry wasps, which is why so many captives of the lots in Studio City decide to wait out the traffic with a burger and a beer at Laurel Tavern. Even if you don’t work in the Valley, you should still visit - it’s an industry spot that feels like more like a neighborhood hangout, and has a very good burger. One comes with honey mustard and cheddar, and is the size of a large guinea pig.
Cassell’s is a retro diner in Koreatown on the ground floor of the Normandie Hotel. And since this is technically a burger-and-beer guide, we’ll tell you that their classic cheeseburger with bacon is very good. But if you want to branch out a bit, order the patty melt. It’s somehow simultaneously super greasy, yet also light enough that you’ll still want a slice of key lime pie afterward. Sit at the counter and chat with the people pouring your beers while you eat.