Cheap eats in LA: Where to dine and drink near Dodger Stadium

Dodgers fans, check out our list of the best cheap eats in LA near Dodger Stadium to grab a drink or bite after the game.

Photograph: Jeff Gross
Dodger Stadium

There's no dearth of cheap eats in LA, especially on the Eastside. So if you're looking for somewhere to host a celebratory meal—or drown your sorrows—after a Dodgers game, check out our list of the twelve best budget places to eat and drink near Dodger Stadium, from dive bars and taco trucks to al fresco dining and fancy brews. No matter your budget or your palate, we've got the spot for you.... Unless you're rooting for the opposite team, in which case our advice is to get out of the 'hood as fast as you can.

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Short Stop

Critics' pick

Past the pupusa and hot dog street stands sits a black box of a bar, with a blazing red "cocktails" sign as its only marker. Inside is a divey hub for hipsters in bandanas and baseball fans in Dodgers caps to enjoy unpretentious atmosphere while sipping (or gulping, more likely) $2 libations. Enter beyond the big guy at the door into a scene from Dazed and Confused—clearly, management hasn't updated the grungy aesthetic in forever, but this retro hangout is most known for its popular, disco ball-bedecked dance room. Depending on the night, you’ll hear '70s-era disco to New Age pop. Either way, this is the neighborhood spot for cheap drinks; you're most likely to pound your standard brews (Bud, Coors), but there are also craft brews like Bear Republic Brewing's Racer 5 and made-in-LA Revolution from Eagle Rock Brewery. The place ain't fancy, but it happy hour goes until 10pm and late night DJs certainly take the edge off. Not to mention the jukebox, pool table, arcade games and photobooth, which may leave you with a set of lazy-eyed printouts, but also a batch of happy—albeit cloudy—memories. Just a fifteen minute walk from Dodgers stadium, there's no better place to delight in a post-game night out.

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Echo Park

The Park Restaurant

This Echo Park bistro is where locals go for dinner, lunch and weekend brunch, and is a great place to stop before or after a game—especially if you've got parents or out-of-town visitors in tow. The menu is solid, with eclectic offerings such as Szechuan fried calamari, seafood fideos, roast chicken and spaghetti and meatballs. Browse the beer and wine list for a good selection of reds and whites by the glass, as well as tasty craft beers. Wednesday is the popular (read: super crowded) $5 burger night. They've recently updated their patio, which makes al fresco dining here a delight. And if you want to escape the sweltering heat in the summer, the Park has some much-appreciated AC.

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Echo Park

El Compadre

What better way to celebrate the home team's win (or mourn their loss) than to stroll ten minutes west of Dodgers stadium and tuck into some authentic Mexican eats? El Compadre serves up homemade tortilla chips and salsa that rival any you'll find south of the border, and their flaming margaritas are a must-try. The moody lighting, mouth-watering menu and live Mariachi make the El Compadre experience a spicy one. There's also no better spot to relive the glory (or hash out what went wrong) than the bar here—two big TVs play everything Dodgers-related, and vocal fans hang at the bar with micheladas and lots of opinions.

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Sunset Beer Company

Critics' pick

This beer store and bar offers a gigantic selection of brewskies, from West Coast microbrews to rare Belgian ales and small production specialty bottles. (There's also wine, and a pretty good little selection, but we rarely see anyone drinking it here.) There are refrigerated cases from which you can grab bottles to go, or get one opened at the bar (for a small corkage fee) and hang out with a plethora of Eastside beer nerds and Dodgers blue-bedecked baseball fans. There are always local brews on tap, and the space hosts special events such as a beer and cheese tasting with Stone Brewing's master brewer. Join the "mug club" and corkage fees are waived for a year, with each pour you buy going into your very own mug (well, more like a stein) that's kept behind the bar. The staff are super knowledgeable and friendly—no beer snobs here—and the atmosphere is cozy, with communal benches, comfy plush chairs and a smoking area outside. There's also a decent pizza place next door to help you soak up all that delicious booze.

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Echo Park

Two Boots

Since 1987, the Two Boots mini-chain has been serving innovative pizzas named after pop-culture figures (example: the Dude from The Big Lebowski)—offering diners a leg up at Trivial Pursuit in addition to a tasty slice. The original Two Boots is in New York, but we think their slices taste better here (if only because they lack the fierce competition of Big Apple pies). It's the perfect place to grab a quick, cheap dinner after a game. Bonus: Stop by in the afternoon for the after-school special: a cheese slice and small soda for $2.50.

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Echo Park

Guisados

Guisados, the Boyle Heights taco institution, launches into the new year with a second taqueria in Echo Park. Handmade tortillas are made to order and filled with the house signature (hence, its namesake) braised goodness. Snag a table on the outdoor patio or sit inside to watch the kitchen in action as you dig into the mouthwatering tacos ($2.50). We like the moist tinga de pollo, rich and juicy mole poblano and flavorful cochinita pibil topped with spicy red onions—washed down with refreshingly tart jamaica aqua fresca or creamy, spiced horchata. Can’t decide what to order? The six-taco sampler ($6.99) offers two-bite tastes, while spice fanatics can’t miss the chiles torreados—it’s muy caliente.

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Echo Park

Gold Room

While the neighborhood around it gentrifies, this mostly-locals dive keeps thing honest with top-shelf tequilas and Mexican League futbol. The crowd these days is mainly made up of thirtysomething males taking a break over cheap drinks in an atmosphere teeming with casino-waitress hospitality (order a beer and a shot and you'll get free tacos—but you have to know to ask for them). The jukebox has amazing Mexican hits mixed with hilarious stateside hammers (think Meatloaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love"), and the strip of ceiling above the booth seats has tiny lights stuck in it, making for a kitschy indoor night sky. The Gold Room is great, but not the place to flaunt a weird haircut or bust out a lofty attitude: locals and staff have zero tolerance for posers.

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Echo Park

Masa of Echo Park

This is a perfect spot to go post-game if you're out with clients, or a date. The cozy, family-owned vibe at Masa matched with a mouth-watering menu of classic Italian and Chicago-style edibles (vegan options too!) turns an average night out to dinner into a hug on the inside and out. The Chicago deep dish at Masa of Echo Park is the real deal, folks. You've got your 2" deep pan, your fresh cornmeal crust, your cheesy sauces and chunky fillings for days. Wash down your 'za with a bottle of pinot, and don't forget dessert. If all goes well, you'll be rolling out of there like a hunk of stuffed crust.

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The Parks Finest

Baseball and BBQ go together pretty well, and this spot is just south of the Stadium on Temple—enough of a walk to get your appetite up. Run by the Concordia family, who have been mastering the art of BBQ for generations, The Park's Finest spices up traditional American cuts with Filipino flavor. Known for their "50% mom, 50% pop, 100% LA" mantra, this one-of-a-kind BBQ restuarant has grown from a small catering company (in 2009) to a popular eatery near Downtown LA (since 2012).

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Downtown

Little Joy Cocktails

Critics' pick

Revamped, refurbished and under new management, this former dive bar brings a little bit more joie de vivre (and upgraded digs) to Echo Park. There are concrete floors, a pool table, newly lacquered parquet wood bar and very clean bathrooms (a far cry from the Little Joy of yore). When the bar’s coveted seats (14 in total) are taken and the only two booths in the joint are at capacity, standing room allows for old-fashioned mingling in the fairly small space and a game of pool—get your name on the chalkboard early. The drink menu is straightforward—full bar with standard bottle selections—with eight beers on tap, including a brew called the "Glutenator" ($12 for 22oz) for gluten-free imbibers. Don’t ask if they make "cocktails"—you’ll be met with a blank stare before the bartender turns to take someone else’s order. Some say the new Little Joy is the poor man's El Prado—but only time will tell how they both do now that LJ has been fancified.

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Echo Park

Comments

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JUST FYI - Taco Zone is not open for an "afternoon snack" - the truck usually rolls up around 8pm.