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Smoke on the Water at Good Times at Davey Wayne's
Photograph: Frank IshmanSmoke on the Water at Good Times at Davey Wayne's

Hollywood bar crawl guide

Forget what you know about Hollywood nightlife and instead use this bar crawl to see another side of the star-infused nabe

Written by
Ross Gardiner
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As the center of LA’s exported image, Hollywood is a neighborhood that everyone seems to experience during their tenure in the city. There are plenty of honey traps laid for wallet-heavy tourists, but even more importantly, the star studded nabe boasts dive bars and cocktail bars tucked away for the more jaded drinkers among us. Check out these classic watering holes to see a side of the real Hollywood. 

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Your Hollywood bar crawl guide

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

This once-ritzy, now-divey former speakeasy in the Pantages Theatre (don't worry, you don't need to see a show to access the bar) is a staple of “Old Hollywood.” Said to be the last place the Black Dahlia was seen alive, the Frolic is a cheap, no-nonsense hole-in-the-wall with a cracking jukebox and some of the most interesting clientele on the strip.

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

This spot created a huge buzz when it first opened, chiefly because you have to walk through a garage sale and a refrigerator to get into the place. Opened in tribute to the owners’ father, Davey Wayne’s is a tripped out journey back to the burnt orange 70s living room. Make sure to stay for the roller skating show that happens on the patio's roof.

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

Black is one of Hollywood’s best kept secrets. Tucked away near Santa Monica and Vine, it’s an imposing black cube that looks like an S&M vampire biker bar, but inside is relaxed, divey and smoker-friendly. The fantastic outdoor patio is almost as large as the bar itself and can get pretty lively at the weekends.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

Three Clubs is another low-key bar that seems to buck every Hollywood stereotype. This dim, red-licked dive has become one of the great, unpretentious spots in the neighborhood, the drinks are reasonably priced and there’s always live music or burlesque shows going on.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

This New Orleans-themed craft cocktail bar from the 1933 nightlife group is an absolutely gorgeous establishment on Vine, just a few blocks after the stars on the sidewalk start to burn off. With fantastic cocktails, great live music and a bar that looks like it’s been reclaimed from a sunken steam boat, Sassafras is one of the best spots to grab a cocktail in the area.

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