By Scott Huver
ABOVE: Townhouse BELOW: Townhouse; Barney’s Beanery; Formosa Cafe; Chez Jay
“THE PROBLEM WITH the world,” offered Humphrey Bogart, “is that everyone is a few drinks behind.” Bogie’s wisdom has aged as well as the spirits that inspired it, as have many barroom hangouts where LA’s most devoted tipplers have been throwing back a few cold ones for decades.
Townhouse — est. 1915: This watering hole recently revived its basement bootlegging roots with the Del Monte Speakeasy. 52 Winward Ave., Venice
Formosa Cafe — est. 1925: Bogie and Sinatra bellied up to the bar; Marilyn Monroe cocktailed with her Some Like It Hot costars. 7156 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
Barney’s Beanery — est. 1920: James Dean dug the chili, and Janis Joplin clobbered Jim Morrison with a bottle of booze at this eternal standard-bearer for LA hipster dives. 8447 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; barneysbeanery.com
Harvelle’s — est. 1931: Listen close in this live blues joint for the echo of Miles Davis’ horn or a lingering note from Etta James. 1432 4th St., Santa Monica; harvelles.com
The King Eddy Saloon — est. 1933: One of the only surviving barrooms where Raymond Chandler and Charles Bukowski bent elbows. 131 E. 5th St., LA; kingeddysaloon.com
The Frolic Room — est. 1933: Legend insists Elizabeth “The Black Dahlia” Short hustled free drinks under caricaturist Al Hirschfeld’s mural. 6245 Hollywood Blvd., LA
Tom Bergin’s Tavern — est. 1936: Rebuilt brick by brick on Fairfax in 1949; the sharp-eyed still spot Cary Grant’s paper shamrock among thousands lining the ceiling and walls. 840 S. Fairfax Ave., LA; tombergins.com
The Dresden Room — est. 1937: Resident lounge act Marty and Elayne don’t go back quite that far; Swingers-inspired scenesters even less so. 1760 N. Vermont Ave., Hollywood; thedresden.com
Boardner’s — est. 1942: Best. Barflys. Ever. W.C. Fields, Robert Mitchum, Ed Wood and Mickey Mantle drank here. 1652 N. Cherokee Ave., Hollywood; boardners.com
The Blue Room — est. 1952: Awash in azure, turquoise and cobalt, its history unwinds far further than its cameo in Memento. 916 S. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank
Chez Jay — est. 1959: As under-the-radar as a divey oceanside canoodling spot can be—as JFK and Marilyn could’ve attested. 1657 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; chezjays.com
PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRANDEN AROYAN/LOWTIDERISING.COM (TOWNHOUSE, CHEZ JAY); LATIMEMACHINES.COM (FORMOSA)
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.