LAReview

Oy Bar  review image
8.2

Oy Bar

$$$$

12446 Moorpark St, Studio City
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

As with breakfast burritos and Spirit Halloween stores, the best dive bar is usually the one that’s closest to you. The whole allure of them is the convenience of dropping in at a moment’s notice for a stiff drink and grumbling along with the crusty bartender who served you. Going out of your way for such an experience dilutes the point. That is, unless that dive bar is Oy Bar. 

The Studio City spot, run by the owners behind Jeff’s Table, isn’t just a great place to snag a solid cocktail and decompress, it’s also home to inventive and delicious bar food. And that alone is worth breaking out of your dive bar bubble to experience. 

Nothing about Oy Bar’s dimly lit interior feels particularly remarkable. Dated wood paneling lines the walls, old chipped-up swivel stools dot the bar area, and 1980s-era dropped ceiling tiles hover above everything. In other words, it’s exactly how a dive bar should look. The crowd is a mix of people in their 30s drinking $9 Old Fashioneds and dissecting script pitches, long-time Valley residents reminiscing about The Bar At Oyster House (the previous tenant, hence the name), and college kids home on summer break ripping shots because it’s somebody’s birthday. It makes for an eclectic mix—the scene is one of the charms that draws people in—but it's the food coming out of the kitchen that keeps drinkers in their seats.

Oy Bar  review image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Oy Bar’s elevated bar menu is made up of what can best be described as Jewish comfort classics that did a semester abroad. And perhaps more crucially, they are also the kinds of foods you want to consume while drinking. Take the “Jeff’s Special” quesadilla: a gooey, over-the-top masterpiece filled with smoked pastrami, sauerkraut, and covered with a crispy gruyere-jalapeno crust on the outside. There’s a pickle bento—a nod to the traditional deli pickle tray—but here it’s served in a bento box with various house-fermented vegetables and two different types of sauerkraut. One of the newer dishes, a deconstructed borscht that’s served cold and made with a beet and aji amarillo granita, is basically a frozen dessert. It’s objectively one of strangest dishes we've seen at a dive bar, but considering how sweltering Valley summers get, it’s a welcome refresher.

One item that’s not to be missed under any circumstances is the burger. In fact, if you’re reading this and it’s after 6pm (when Oy Bar opens), just get in your car and go eat it. The juicy beef patty comes topped with hoisin ketchup and an entire herb garden’s worth of cilantro, giving it a uniquely tangy, fragrant flavor—while still delivering the kind of unfussy bar burger experience you want from a place that blasts ‘90s R&B and has “cold beer” listed on their menu. It’s already one of our favorite burgers in LA.

If you live in and around Studio City, congratulations: You’ve got yourself a great dive bar that’ll make friends in other neighborhoods jealous. If you don’t live nearby, make a trip to Oy Bar anyway. We promise your bubble will still be there when you return. 

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Food Rundown

Oy Bar  review image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Oy Burger

A heavy helping of cilantro is something we’ve never seen on a burger before, but Oy Bar proves it’s a pretty great match with a thick, medium burger patty. Combine that with gooey Toma cheese, hoisin ketchup, lettuce, red onion, cucumber, and dijon—all on a plump sesame bun—and you’ve got a savory, herbaceous masterpiece.

Oy Bar  review image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Crispy Potatoes

Oy Bar doesn’t serve fries, but these salty chunks of potato will scratch the same itch if you’re craving some. Regardless, you should be ordering this because of the sweet, tangy chutney served on the side. It’s meant to be a dip for the potatoes, but we usually end up eating it with a spoon.

Oy Bar  review image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Jeff’s Special Reuben Quesadilla

Calling something “drunk food” feels like a jab, but we’ve all had those nights where greasy nourishment is the best tool in the box. At Oy Bar, the Reuben quesadilla is practically a Swiss army knife. Filled with pastrami, sauerkraut, and gooey comté cheese—with a gruyere and jalapeño crust for good measure—there’s nothing subtle about this dish, but hot damn, it sure tastes good.

Pickle Bento

If you’re at Oy Bar for a quick drink, this is a great dish to pick at while you stare into space. It’s a play on a traditional deli pickle tray, only here it’s served in a bento box: there’s various types of pickled vegetables and sauerkraut. The saltiness of everything will make whatever you’re drinking taste even better.

Oy Bar  review image

photo credit: Jakob Layman

Wings

The wings at Oy Bar are habañero-honey flavored, and while we wish there was a bit more heat to complement the sweetness, overall these are well-cooked, meaty wings that will likely vanish instantly upon arrival.

Oy Bar  review image

Matzo Ball Ramen

For obvious weather-related reasons, this noodle soup comes and goes during the summer months. But if it’s on the menu while you’re at Oy Bar, don’t hesitate. Made with a light, ginger-scallion chicken broth, and filled with thick cuts of chashu, mushroom, egg, chili crisp, plus a giant matzo ball, this is a soul-curing bowl of soup—and not at all a gimmick.

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