Glendale is known for a few things: Armenian bakeries. Great kebabs. The Americana. But cocktail bars? Not so much. When it comes to drinking in Glendale, karaoke bars and dive bars dominate the boozy landscape, offering laidback options for locals to end their day. There's nothing wrong with that—in fact, it makes bar hopping in this quaint city a breeze. For a no-frills cocktail, a glass of wine or a solid craft beer, check out these stalwart bars in Glendale.
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Where to drink in Glendale
Adding to the renaissance of craft-beer mania in LA, the Glendale Tap brings a seasonal, rotating list of more than 50 beers on tap/cask. A couple pool tables commandeer the center of the room as anticipatory players wait their turn (no charge). Even though the joint has the markings of a dive—beers, beards, bar games, humidity and a fairly unmarked façade—the newness of the lacquered bar and comfy leather seating unite with carefully placed wall decor of vintage signs and automotive-inspired wall art (hub caps, vintage sports car photos and the like) to create a dive-defying, neighborhood watering hole with everything but peanut shells on the floor. If craft beer is the latest standard, than the Glendale Tap is the new standby for serious connoisseurs to imbibe mostly California, Colorado and Belgian craft brews from pristine taps served by knowledgable barkeeps.
This California-inspired wine bar, which doubles as a retail shop and art gallery, provides an escape from the nearby Galleria. Here you'll find a five-page global wine list: Northern and Central California options are aplenty and categorized by grape, while European wines are easily perused by country. Everything is available by the bottle, with wines by the glass ranging from $8 to $14. Pull up one or two stools at the long granite-topped bar and stick around for the live music, which may or may not help elevate the wine in your glass. A nearby parking garage offers free parking for 90 minutes, just enough time to grab a flight and some light fare during happy hour (daily 5-8pm).
Cheap beer, free popcorn, comfortable seating—Capri Lounge is where a dive bar meets a hotel bar, where affordable drinks meet excellent service. Located on Pacific Avenue, you'll find checkered chairs scattered around the place where patrons hold glasses of craft beer or peach martinis. There's karaoke here on select nights—it is Glendale, after all—and you're apt to make fast friends with that stranger perched next to you at the bar.
The Famous is directly across from the infamous Americana but, once inside the brick-facade watering hole, the vibe is much closer to the Varnish or Harvard & Stone. The furniture is all wood and leather, exposed brick walls project stills of classic movies and obscure liquor brands are served by vested and mutton-chopped barkeeps who are deeply passionate about their craft. Think Hollywood minus the pretention. It’s a friendly neighborhood place with casual eats—sliders and quesadillas are available before 9pm—and elegant drinks. And though we suspect it’s killing them inside, barkeeps will still pour you rounds of vodka shots with a smile.
This neighborhood dive in Glendale is the kind of place where the bartender knows your name, the drinks are strong and affordable, and the evening will probably end with you drunkenly belting our your favorite karaoke song. There's something going on every night: Mystery Mondays (who knows what the bartender is pouring?), Open Mic Thursdays, free pool and hot dogs on Sundays, and karaoke almost every other night. Challenge strangers to a game of pool and settle in for an evening of laidback imbibing at one of Glendale's oldest bars.
Okay, so El Tigre Magnifico isn't exactly a bar, but as one of Glendale's most fascinating places to drink, it certainly deserves a spot on this list. El Tigre is a pop-up, the result of a few cocktail-savvy friends offering an underground bar experience for adventurous imbibers. Held at an apartment in Glendale (location only revealed to the lucky attendees), the evening offers free cocktails (remember to tip your bartenders) in an intimate setting. So how do you get invited to this exclusive "bar"? Follow @eltigrecocktails on Instagram, where they'll pose photo challenges to interested cocktail fanatics. May the odds be ever in your favor.