Showmances are a terrible idea. Just ask every actor who married another actor, ever. It always starts out great - you’re on set together, you run lines together, and you can hook up in the trailers together. Inevitably though, she’ll be noticed in a commercial, sign with WME, and end up in Atlanta shooting with Channing Tatum while you’re at USC for another student thesis audition.
It’s time to meet your own Amal Clooney, Prince Harry, or whoever else won’t ask you for a self-tape after the second date. But you’re going to have to go somewhere other than the bar down the street from your comedy school. Like one of these 12 places, which should be full of people who (hopefully) won’t leave you for someone more famous.
It’s hard to eat well when you’re waiting for your big break. Get the rest of The Actor’s Guide To Eating & Drinking In LA here.
No actor wants to drive west from Burbank after an audition, so getting as far away from the Valley as possible is one good way to avoid them. The Lincoln is a casual spot in a quiet part of Venice, with a nice front patio and Top Gun-themed cocktails. Despite the Maverick and Iceman references, this is a spot filled with people who live around the corner and probably won’t care that your most recent IMDb credit is from two years ago.
If you’d like to meet someone who may have inspired any one of Matthew McConaughey’s surfer bum roles, this dive bar in Manhattan Beach is a good bet. You’ll listen to people talking about riptides and incoming swells, a thing that turns out to be refreshing after dating an internet celebrity who constantly took selfies with margaritas he never planned on drinking. This place is cash only, so make sure you bring enough for one of the very good burgers everyone here ends up eating.
Located on the second floor of an old Masonic Lodge in Highland Park, Checker Hall is an excellent place for when you want to go out but don’t feel like “going out.” The crowd is low-key, the cocktails are fantastic, and other than a couple of booths, this is just a big triangular bar, so there’s plenty of space to mill about and meet someone interesting who doesn’t just like you because you have a photo printer for headshots.
The Craftsman is uncomfortably close to the Third Street Promenade, but don’t let that turn you off. Their crowd is less tourists and more people who actually live in the neighborhood, stopping in for the daily Happy Hour and the live music on weekends. Order some excellent tater tots, and hang out near the shuffleboard table to find someone as committed to that game as you are.
Crawford’s is the neighborhood bar everyone wishes was in their own neighborhood. Next to a Taco Bell in Historic Filipinotown, this is an unpretentious place to escape your usual people with whiskey and Buck Hunter 2000. The beer and wine options are very cheap, and the fantastic hot chicken means you won’t have to go next door for a Cheesy Gordita Crunch when you get hungry at midnight.
Ye Rustic Inn is dark and divey, with zero qualities that attract actors hoping people will look at them. The lack of performing arts majors here might also have something to do with that fact that you’ll eat so many wings your trainer will absolutely yell at you tomorrow, and drink so much light beer that you wind up singing along to “American Girl” on the jukebox.
Tony’s is absolutely a sports bar, but one full of good food, fantastic beer, and friendly people. It’s a great place to watch the Clippers, but once they start losing, there’s a chatty after-work crowd, as well as board games that will keep you at the bar all night with a newfound Scrabble opponent. This is one of the only places near downtown Burbank where you’re not at risk of running into someone trying to workshop their Flappers set on you.
It’s a Friday night, and you don’t have anywhere you have to be in the morning. The problem is, your regular Friday night spot has gotten boring, mainly because every person there is from the same Groundlings class as you. Change things up, and go to the Chestnut Club in Santa Monica. Get here early so you don’t have to wait in line to get drunk on vodka-sodas and dance to T-Pain with someone that won’t ask you to be in her rom-com web series the next morning.
When you’re on call for auditions 12 hours a day, leaving town can seem impossible. But at least there’s Bigfoot. This Eastside staple feels like that escape to Yosemite you canceled three months ago after getting a callback, with an unpretentious crowd that’s down to get a little weird any night of the week.
From the outside, this spot on Fairfax looks like it could be any generic bar, but inside it feels like the bar car on a very dark, unrealistically good-looking train. A bar car where you can tell the bartender what you like, and he’ll make you something good. You might not expect to enjoy a spot filled with people who work in finance, until you realize you haven’t spent a night with someone who works full-time since 2013.
Unlike most spots that have a dress code, not everyone at The Normandie Club just wants to be seen. This Koreatown spot is dark and cramped, with first dates happening at the tables towards the back, and people drinking excellent cocktails and actually talking to strangers around the bar. You might run into an actor or two here, but they’re not the kind that’ll ask you to connect them to your new manager five minutes after you meet. They’re the kind you have to pretend you don’t recognize from your favorite HBO show.
This casual Playa Del Rey spot feels like a college bar filled with surfers and people who have owned their VW van since 1972. There are a bunch of not-flatscreen TVs, a few stained ping pong tables, and two patios that smell like a mixture of the beach and a gas station. We’ll admit that sounds kind of terrible, but the laid-back crowd is what makes this place great. After a couple of whiskey shots with strangers you’ll forget all the hurtful things your agent said when you bombed that cat food audition yesterday.