Whether you live there or not, few things rival a night out on LA's Eastside. With everything from world-class performance venues, to dingy dive bars, to German beer gardens, and all-night dance parties, there's few areas of town that can compete with what the neighborhoods of Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, and Atwater Village collectively dish out each weekend.
But how do you make sense of it all? For every craft cocktail bar worth your time and energy, there's an over-priced and crowded one ready to ruin your Saturday night. We're here to help. Grab your nearest pair of Keds and flannel button-down, here's where you need to be partying on the Eastside. Let's get rowdy.
In a city known for careful choreographed weirdness, Tiki Ti is the real, weird deal. This cash-only roadside hut seats only a handful of people at a time, but oh how lucky those folks are. Drinks that are named after patrons, an alcohol-to-mixer ratio that is off the charts, and if you order the right drink, a song will be sung in your honor. In which case, grab the Toro (the ever-present mini mechanical bull), and prepare yourself for a show.
Surly waitstaff, loud music, and the best f*cking wings in Los Angeles. This neighborhood dive is the perfect place to get angry-drunk while watching your team lose or try to pick up a lady with far more tattoos than you.
Good Luck Bar is where you go when you’re walking to another bar with a group of friends, pop in for a drink, and end up staying an hour. The kitschy, Chinese lantern-covered bar rides a fine line between tiki bar and full-on dive, but frankly no one here cares. Grab a $10 Potent Potion served in an actual coconut and forget about the fact you were supposed to meet your other friends an hour ago.
You can say you came for the drinks. Or you can say you came for the food. But let’s face it, you came for Marty and Elayne, the jazz duo providing the entertainment here for the past 34 years. Nothing feels more Old Hollywood than a drink at this landmark.
Red Lion Tavern isn’t just our favorite German beer garden on the Eastside, it’s one of our all-time favorite spots in LA, period. There are few experiences as enjoyable as sitting out on the back patio, ordering a sausage sampler, and drinking boots of beer until you actually think you’re in Germany. If the outdoor beer garden becomes too much (it does get crowded), head inside to the dark downstairs lounge and watch Father Time (aka a really old dude) croon at the piano for a few hours.
Cha Cha Lounge holds the great honor of being directly across the street from Red Lion Tavern, which means you’re stumbling over to this over-the-top, Mexican-themed bar afterwards. If Cha Cha wasn’t in Silver Lake, it’d basically be another location of Cabo Cantina. But it’s not. The crowd can get rowdy, but everyone’s there to simply have a good time, and the foosball tables in the back are always a good idea.
Does the fact that Jay’s serves their Old Fashioned from a tap make the drink taste better? Not really. Does it mean it's cheaper than a normal Old Fashioned? Not at all. But it shows a level of commitment to the drink that you just can’t help but admire. Tip: if the above average bar menu doesn’t suit your liking that night, you can order an always-delicious Garage Pizza (which is owned by the same folks) straight to the bar.
Is this the best gay bar in LA? Yes. The divey dance bar on the Silver Lake/Los Feliz border always has a great, mixed crowd (read: local), relatively cheap drinks, and usually an event each night that’s actually fun and not a gimmick. If you aren’t feeling the dance vibes though, not to worry. The space is broken up into two distinct areas: dancing and vodka sodas, and talking and vodka sodas.
One of the more iconic live music venues in all of Los Angeles, The Satellite is an Eastside staple and easily the best place to grab a few drinks and watch people like Beck become superstars. If you aren’t feeling tonight’s music though, there’s a separate area for some pool and other music-less revelry. Remember - this is a performance venue, so expect a cover most nights. But if you’re in the mood to dance to the best indie bands in town, there’s no better spot than Satellite.
Cliff’s Edge is about the cocktails, and there aren’t many places in town doing the better. Bold, creative, and delicious, these drinks will ring up the bill pretty quickly. But you get what you pay for, which is a perfectly mixed, appropriately stiff cocktail. Enjoy in the comfortable and cool bar area or head out back to Silver Lake’s prettiest patio.
We don’t know why this place looks like a half-assed Agrabah. We also don’t know why they insist on music so loud you spend your night screaming across your table. But we do know that halfway through your first rib or wing from the man BBQing outside on the weekends, you’re just fine with where your night netted out.
Hello from the other side. Smog Cutter is a tiny shell of a bar on the western fringes on Silver Lake where the women are stout and blacked-out karaoke is a way of life. Nobody starts their night at Smog Cutter, but if you’re in the area, there’s no finer way to end it than belting out Styx to a room full of strangers in jean shorts. God bless the USA.
Welcome to the hottest spot on the Eastside. Though the loss of MJ’s still stings for many Silver Lake locals, there’s no doubting that Tenant Of The Trees is a more than worthy replacement. The completely redone space is far more than just a drinking hole - it’s actually three separate concepts: a bar, a music venue, and an outdoor movie theater with rotating food trucks. Needless to say, there’s something for everybody.
You come to Short Stop for one reason: to dance. And to never stop dancing. This isn’t the fist-pumping, migraine-inducing dance club scene of your Hollywood nightmares. Short Stop is a dive bar, with unbelievable music, and a crowd that doesn’t give a sh*t that you’re bringing the disco back on the dance floor right now. Warning: Get there early. Weekends lines can get rough.
Beer, beer, and more beer. Mohawk Bend has one of the finest (and most affordable) stocks of California beer in the city. But if you aren’t into the stuff, there’s plenty of other reasons to stop by. The stunning space used to be an old vaudeville theater and has a fantastic vegan-friendly menu perfect for a casual date night. And for soaking up all those IPAs you’ve been drinking.
Sunset Beer Co. doesn’t get the public love that Mohawk does, but if you’re a beer drinker, this tiny beer seller is worth a pilgrimage. And while their to-go selection is downright impressive, the rotating taps behind the bar will keep you there for a while. Outside food in encouraged and there are board games everywhere, making this your ideal Saturday afternoon group hang.
It’s hard to imagine our lives without The Echo. The live music venue/dance hall is one of our favorite places on the Eastside to lose our minds and it’s high time you start taking advantage of it. Definitely check the calendar before going, as the themes tend to vary wildly. But from indie rock bands, to Rihanna vs. Beyonce mash-up dance nights, it’s hard to argue there’s a better place to be on a Saturday night.
What do you get when you mix booze, arcade games, and some of the best Chinese-fusion drunk food of all time? A version of heaven called Button Mash. The strip mall arcade bar in Echo Park is one of the hottest spots in the city right now, and the hype is real. If you’re rolling in with a big group, you can snag a reservation beforehand, otherwise play some pinball, drink some drinks, and wait for those fried tofu balls to arrive in your mouth.
The longtime dive bar got a big overhaul a few years back, and brought this somewhat forgotten gem back into the Eastside limelight. Expect to find lots of jukebox action and plenty of PBRs to go around - if you want craft beer or egg-white cocktails, head somewhere else.
Atwater loves its dive bars and The Roost is one of its best. The no-frills, cash only drinking spot is nearly pitch black inside and you want that at midnight on a Friday. You also want that dirt cheap well vodka because something about the smell of free popcorn in the air and all that cigarette smoke they’ll never get out of the furniture makes you crave nothing else.
Looking for something between a Parisian sewer duct and a Hobbit watering hole? The Griffin is your answer. Despite it’s rather nondescript exterior, the space is actually quite large, with a great back patio, and a cavernous, bricked interior with multiple fireplaces perfect for cozying up with a lover and a strongly made cocktail. The vibe is laidback and welcoming, perfect for a little night cap after date night at All’Acqua down the street.
Sometimes you want to drink in Los Angeles, but also feel like you’re maybe in Yosemite. Welcome to Bigfoot Lodge. The Eastside staple certainly doesn’t hide from its own novelty, and we’re completely okay with that. The old-school cocktails are the way to go at this wilderness lodge-themed bar, or you can let the night really kick into high gear with one of the (actually) excellent “Bartender Shots.” See you in the morning.
We don’t call this the quintessential dive bar because it’s dark (it is). Nor do we say it because it’s a tad dirty (it’s actually very dirty). This is the quintessential dive bar because from the moment you step in, you have a feeling that nothing you could do would surprise anyone in here, much less get you kicked out. Oh, and the drinks are dirt cheap. This is the place to bring those friends you’re embarrassed to bring around respectable folk, and you know we love a bar with a purpose.