Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Irish Bars on the West Westside of Los Angeles

McCabes - Santa MonicaMcCabes - Santa Monica

Now that the Temple Bar in Santa Monica is gone, many regulars will be in search of an authentic Irish bar on the west-westside that suits their purist standards. I personally think any bar you can get into on St. Patrick’s Day is a good bar for St. Patrick’s Day.

For purposes of this article, I am defining “west-westside” as the territory including Westwood to the beach and down to the Marina circling back up through Palms. This list is not inclusive of all Irish bars on the west-westside, but includes the Irish bars I have gone to on a regular basis over the years. I’m sure I’ve missed some, so feel free to inform me. This list is in order of preference.

2226 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403

A number 1 Irish bar. Top of the class. For me, this is the premier Irish bar on the Westside. Excellent food and service. Great bar. A little noisy, but full of character and delicious.

The Irish Times
3267 Motor Ave. (Palms)
Los Angeles, CA 90034


One of my favs when I am not driving and in the neighborhood. I love the dark, cavernous interior and all the wood. The place is authentically Irish in every way. I don’t go there often enough.

McCabe’s Bar & Grill
2455 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Great food. Devour the excellent Irish standards, but also try the soups. I recommend the split pea. They recently yanked out the old wood and put in coffee house couches. But they still have pool tables.

O’Brien’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
2941 Main St. (Ocean Park)
Santa Monica, CA 90405


Been years since I had a meal here, but I remember a good selection of appetizers. It’s a comfortable place. They have live music here. Don’t park in the lot behind the building. The people who work there, park there. Ticket and tow time.

O’Hara’s (formerly Maloney’s)
1000 Gayley Ave. (Westwood)
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Despite the name, it’s not a culturally Irish bar. It’s a “CHEERS” like college sports bar with huge beer mugs and a variety of appetizers. It has always been the unofficial UCLA pub. Nice cavern on a hot day.

Finn McCool’s
2702 Main St. (Ocean Park)
Santa Monica, CA 90407


Overpriced. I think they gouge you on St. Patrick’s, but they do things right. You get what you pay for. The dining room is a nice big room. Bright and ornate.

Sonny McLean’s
2615 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403


This joint is a New England expatriate hang out. My parents were from Rhode Island, so when I’ve gone to this bar, I’d hear a lot of folks talking like my family. I’ve had some problems with customer service here in the past, so I haven’t been there in years. I do remember a fondness for their appetizers. I once witnessed some terribly rude customers try to pick a fight with an innocent fellow. The management seemed to side with the aggressors. Hmm, sounds a bit like Boston Irish to me.

For the record:

Joxer Daly’s
11168 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90230


Never been there.

Brennan’s Pub (Irish?)
4089 Lincoln Blvd.
Marina del Rey, CA 90292


Never been there. But, I’d like to see the turtle races.

For the historically challenged:

Ye Olde Kings Head – Santa Monica
Excellent bar and restaurant - Not Irish.

The Britannia – Santa Monica
Excellent bar and restaurant - Not Irish.

O'Briens - Ocean ParkO'Briens - Ocean Park

Happy St. Patrick's Day and Good Luck Getting in Anyplace!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

LA Weekly: Drinking in L.A.


I know Manny Aguirre and I know his chilled vodka martinis. But I'm sure he doesn't remember me as I've not been to Musso's in years. However, once upon a time I was a semi-regular. When I was working with an equity-waiver theatre on Cherokee in the summer of 1980, I avoided the scary Boardners and coveted the cuisine at Mussos. I couldn't yet afford it. But eventually, after hitting the bar there a few times, I hit the booths and drowned myself in bread and butter accompanied by a chilled martini, still my sole remaining religious ritual. I once ate there with a visiting Bostonian friend who ordered the abalone. But later in the 80's, I went there often enough that we spent my bachelor party at Mussos, followed by Boardners. Mussos was superior, but Boardners was cheaper. Serve the good wine first. Those wineskins can go sour. During the remainder of the 80's and before we moved to Santa Monica, my wife and I dined there often. I've even been there for the breakfast flannel cakes. However, my favorite has always been the chicken pot pie.

But I digress.

A recent issue of L.A. Weekly has two excellent articles on the drinking scene in L.A.

The Martini Doctor Is In: Manny Aguirre - L.A. Weekly

The New Cocktailians - L.A. Weekly

BTW, Jonathan Gold is hereby the Los Angeles food and drink god.

Musso's and Frank Grill

Musso's and Frank Grill - wiki


Juicy Couture in a Hollywood Gutter

Juicy Couture in a Hollywood Gutter