Arroyo Seco, the watershed that spawned Los Angeles, means “dry streambed” but there’s no shortage of great bars in the neighborhoods north of the arroyo-adjacent Pasadena Freeway. Those looking for a great gastropub, live music, or a flame-spouting bartender can find all three at these Northeast Los Angeles bars.
Here, in the second of three posts, are three more of the eight top picks, arranged by neighborhood for maximum pub-crawling ease.
Eight Great Bars of the Arroyo Seco/Part 2:
Highland Park/Figueroa Street (from South to North)
With its deep horseshoe booths, red and yellow burlesque lighting, and retro/cheesy paintings of naked ladies, Footsies is a dark, comfortable, low-key, neighborhood bar. Friendly bartenders serve a solid selection of liquor and bargain brews, such as $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon specials, at the capacious bar. DJs spin a few nights a week by the defunct telephone booth; the well-stocked juke box entertains thirty-somethings playing pool or smoking on the outdoor patio. Front and back door security; parking is free in the back lot after 6:00p.m. (2640 N Figueroa Street, Los Angeles 90065 323.221.6900)
MR. T’S BOWL
The ultimate dive, this former Highland Park bowling alley (a ball return still intrudes into the room) features a miniscule bar, red diner booths, cheap beer and booze ($6 for a healthy shot of Herradura tequila) and live music with an emphasis on punk. (A reincarnation of seminal Los Angeles band the Germs once played here.) Patrons are loud and excitable; seats with cup holders ring the dance floor. Free parking after 6:00 in the well-lit, public parking lot off the monitored back entrance. (5621 N Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, 90042 323.256.7561 mrtsbowl.tripod.com)
Sparkly black ceiling? Check. Bat and red light motif? Check. Fire breathing bartender? Check. This small, kitschy, Highland Park bar with two outside patios is the ‘hood haunt for a friendly, eclectic crowd. An attentive bar staff serves signature Count Choculas and Bat-tinis made with black, Blavod vodka. Old school entertainment includes a Pacman/Galaga video game and an Eighties-themed jukebox. There’s plentiful street parking so avoid tow-happy lots. (5922 N Figueroa Street, Los Angeles 90042 323.255.6871 www.littlecavebar.com)
Ready? U know U want 2 go go….
Tomorrow: Eight, Great Bars of the Arroy Seco/Part 3:
Highland Park/York Street