Thunderbolt only opened earlier this year, but it already feels like a lived-in neighborhood bar. Located next to Park’s Finest in Echo Park, its low-lit leather couches, dark green walls, and speakers playing Jay-Z (like old, The Blueprint Jay-Z), make it ideal for everything from a first date to the monthly book club you’ve tried to start no less than four times. The menu is a mixed bag of hit-or-miss Southern-ish bar snacks like buttermilk biscuits and pork belly burnt ends, so you’re better off eating next door. You’re here for the drinks - which exist in that dangerous, highly coveted Venn diagram of very strong but still genuinely tasty. Our favorites are the La Frutera, with tequila, mango, and tamarind (order it spicy), and the Tropipop, which is sweet and tropical like a piña colada, but filled with so much rum you’ll forget that you’re not actually on vacation. But pretty much everything here pairs well with a discussion about hypothetically starting Sapiens with your friends from college.
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Bar Flores is the exotic, low-key cocktail bar Echo Park deserves. It’s very fragrant inside, too.
Honey Hi serves healthy, gluten-free food in Los Feliz. More importantly, it’s a great neighborhood cafe.
1642 Beer And Wine
1642 is an effortlessly cool bar in Echo Park with a great wine and beer selection, plus live music.
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FishBar is a bar/seafood shack on the Northern edge of Manhattan Beach and one of the last truly local spots in the area.
Public School 213
The Downtown LA location of Public School is much like the others - a gastropub that still feels a little bit like a local spot.
Rocco’s in Culver City is a pretty generic sports bar with a pretty great Happy Hour.
Suggested by our writers
Bar Calo is a Mexican cocktail bar/restaurant in Echo Park that reminds you why you love LA.
Porridge and Puffs
Porridge and Puffs in Historic Filipinotown has Asian-inspired rice porridge, and a quiet, welcoming feel.
The Park’s Finest BBQ
A Filipino-Southern BBQ spot worth a visit. Hit it on Wednesdays for their try-it-all $12 special.
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