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 are the last of the eight top picks, arranged by neighborhood for maximum pub-crawling ease.


 Eight Great Bars of the Arroyo Seco/Part 3


Highland Park/York Boulevard


This former speakeasy retains its Prohibition-era mystique thanks to black and white tiles, pressed tin ceiling, and legal-again absinthe; a fountain on the bar drips ice water over sugar cubes to turn the pale green liquor milky white. While small, Johnny’s diversions include a pool table, a foosball table, two screens playing offbeat movies, and a Fifties and Sixties-heavy juke box.  Safe, plentiful, street parking. (5006 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90042 323.551.6959) 



If Johnny’s is jammed, walk a couple doors down to The York; a central bar, high ceilings and exposed brick walls make this gastropub roomy and welcoming.  The front windows open to the street for prime people watching while sipping a signature drink; try the tangy, Margarita-like Paloma. There’s a nice range of single malts and a comprehensive beer selection; the small but good wine list complements bistro fare like the truffle-grilled cheese sandwich with tomato salad.  A large screen plays subtitled movies. There’s safe, street parking as well as a public lot in back, accessed by a passageway between Best Hardware and a nameless auto parts store. (The lot also works if you’re drinking at Johnny’s, above) (5018 York Blvd, Los Angeles, 90042  323.255.9675) 



Dark salmon walls, gold Buddhas, and comfy seating create a richly tactile room in which to sample the meat-heavy menu (Try the Kobe burger with garlic aioli), elaborate martinis, and the “Vintage Tattoo” (3 shots of Corzo Silver Premium Tequila for $30) served by efficient, pretty bartenders.  The mostly contemporary juke box keeps the intimate room loud and lively; long bar tables and a reserve-able lounge area maximize space for easy drink-stashing by the stylish crowd.  An outside smoking lounge is its own destination come summer.  There’s a valet but safe parking is easily available. (5137 York Blvd, Los Angeles, 90042 323.256.2400) 


Ready?   U Know U Want 2 Go Go….