The Top Ten Douchiest Bars In Los Angeles

February 24, 2012
  • The Top Ten Douchiest Bars In Los Angeles

Well, Complex, with your list of the 25 douchiest bars in LA this week you managed to create quite the stir among the drinking crowd in our fair city. Although I didn’t read every word (I saw no need to read about bars I’ve never been to), you made some good points!

Unfortunately, you neglected to make a few distinctions that could separate some “douchey” bars from the rest of the pack, and you included bars that I wouldn’t. Saddle Ranch, for example, is The Jersey Shore of LA, but isn’t it still just a silly tourist trap? I’ve only been twice. The first was before I moved to LA. I was visiting a friend who told me it was a rite of passage. Maybe because of that I just don’t think of it as a bar actual LA residents frequent. It could also be because I live on the East Side and only rarely see The Strip. There are plenty of bars that are more “douchey.” The Hudson, to me, is one of them.

Furthermore, you didn’t distinguish between weekday bars and weekend bars. Q’s trivia night on Wednesday’s is great! Also, I’d rather watch an exciting football game at Big Wang’s than endure Cha Cha Lounge in Silverlake on most nights. I’d rather meet at The Brig for a beer and a shot before a mid-week dinner at Gjelina than step foot anywhere near the Echo Park corridor on a weekend. If you think it’s worse to down $4 pints of beer at Dillon’s on a Saturday night than it is to navigate the dancing hipsters and the three or four fights that are sure to start on a Saturday at Short Stop…well, you just don’t know your shitty bars!

Your list was close, but here’s my slightly-condensed, probably more accurate list of the ten douchiest bars in LA.

Side Note: I’ve gotten drunk — or get drunk regularly — at most of the bars on my list. I don’t typically mind bars that attract douchebags. I guess because I don’t know what you mean by douchebag. Do you mean frat guy? Or hipster? Or yuppie? Or rocker? I’m friends with all of those guys. And as long as I’m with friends, I’ll drink pretty much anywhere.  So I don’t think I’m above drinking at any of these “douchey” places. Hell, I’ll continue to frequent a lot of the bars on my list because the amount of fun I have at a bar is dependent on the company I keep, not the people around me, the service, or the quality/price of the drinks.

I guess what I’m saying is…I think any bar that doesn’t have Photo Hunt is the worst bar in Los Angeles. So I guess I can only drink at 1739 Public House, Akbar and Little Bar. A shitty sports bar, a gay bar and a Hollywood bar! Perfect.

By the way if anyone reading this knows of more bars that have Photo Hunt or Tic-Tac-Trivia on their Megatouch machines, let me know.

That said, perhaps a better list would be the ten bars that have gone furthest downhill since I moved to Los Angeles. And I’ll write that one next week. But because I wanted to respond to this “douchiest” article, you’ll have to settle with this list for now.

The Top Ten Douchiest Bars In Los Angeles

10. The Federal Bar – The first time I came here was right after they opened, for a birthday party upstairs in a rented-out room. It was a lot of fun! The taps in the big space upstairs were enticing and the prices were fair. The next time I came here they’d instituted a $10 cover charge. Absurd. As douchey as Wangs is across the street, it was tempting to just go there instead and wash away my sorrows while downing a bowl of disco fries. The Federal’s crowd is, more often than not, stereotypical Valley folk. My last visit was two or three weeks ago for a friend’s birthday and the clientele had reached new levels of annoying. Federal made for a great NoHo meet-up spot on Christmas Eve for the start of our Mouse Crawl, but beyond that…not my first pick in the area.

09. El Prado – With all due respect to a certain friend and former roommate, this is a “douchey” bar. The beers are overpriced, and I’m a huge craft beer nerd who wouldn’t mind paying their prices if the selection was better. If you’re just going to serve local brews by Craftsmen or Eagle Rock you can’t charge $7, $8 or $9. I could to Mohawk Bend and save three or four dollars per pint. And, sorry, but the clientele way too hip for me. I don’t know, sometimes I’m at a bar and I like to strike up conversations with people. Maybe someone who is drinking the same beer as me, or bobbing their head to the same song. Don’t bother with pleasantries here. Cold stares abound. You’re sized up the moment you enter. None of this makes for a fun drinking experience. I’ll probably never be granted entrance here again after writing this, but maybe that’s further cause for inclusion on this list?

08. The Happy Ending – The question I always ask myself at The Happy Ending is, “Is this place douchey? Or is it just the saddest place on Earth?” Upstairs can be packed either with frat bros playing flip-cup or beer pong, or the most pathetic struggling actors/actresses you’ve ever seen trying to penetrate or be penetrated. It’s enough to make you buy yourself a fishbowl and blackout just to wipe away the memory of the place. Of any bar in Hollywood, I think this is the most depressing spot to imbibe. You know that expression, “The Lost Generation?” That’s the clientele here. On the plus side, this makes it easy to take a guy or girl home with you. The stink of desperation permeates Happy Ending. I also love the no hats policy. What’s up with that!?

07. Piano Bar – If I recall, this used to be a piano bar, right? It wasn’t always a terrible rock band forcing everyone onto the smoking patio bar, right? It was dark, and it brought in a decent crowd, and someone would find a willing partner to bring home at the end of the night. But now…awful crowd, you have to fight to get your watered-down whiskey, and once you’ve been forced onto that patio by the terrible bands you have to endure the most mind-numbing conversations occurring all around you. It’s stupid in stereo. Attacked from all angles. This is one of the two or three bars on this list that I have no desire to visit ever again.

06. Station At The W Hotel (Hollywood) – If you’re like me, and you never got into Entourage, there’s a good chance you also haven’t been to Station. Don’t bother. As the author of the Complex piece writes, “Station only serves as a gathering place for those who couldn’t get into neighboring clubs like Drai’s or Avalon.” I wound up here once this past summer after a dinner date at Delphine and I will never return. Delphine, on the other hand, is pretty good! Just don’t get the burger. Ruinous bun. Ruinous.

05. (New) Gold Room – Point of reference: This used to be my favorite bar in town…and then they fired all the cool bouncers…and then new ownership tried to remodel and rebrand the bar. So Instead of saying the Gold Room is one of the douchiest bars in the city I’m just going to call it New Gold Room. And New Gold Room is one of the douchiest bars in the city. Over the last few years it’s gone from legitimate dive to a bar that is trying desperately to conceal its changed image under the guise of still being a dive bar. The lines here on the weekends make me laugh. The whole concept of a line outside the Gold Room seems patently absurd to me. Echo Park basically turns into West Hollywood on weekends now. It’s unbearable.  While on the topic of Echo Park bars going downhill, has anyone set foot in Little Joy in the past four years?

04. Cabo Cantina – And not just because I took one of the server girls out after her shift ended and she ordered $80 worth of drinks on my credit card without telling me. The crowd is terrible. The Complex article nails one of the reasons why when the author states, “it’s common knowledge that they fill their “top shelf” liquor bottles with cheap booze…what else can you expect from a place that hangs its inflatable beer bottles and pinatas from the ceiling to promote a 2-4-1 happy hour?” The last time I was at a Cabo location a friend and I had a chat with one of the busboys that was enough to break your heart: Guy trying to make enough money to pay rent and support his family in Mexico, he never gets to see them, and then what happens? Some idiot kid pukes next to us and this guy has to clean it up. He tries to smile when he says how it happens all the time, every night, and watching him standing there mopping up some idiot’s puke was enough to make my friends hand him $20 just to help him out.

03. The Hudson – This place is described perfectly by the author of the original article when she states that after 9pm it’s all pastel button-down shirts. It’s like the dinner crowd leaves and a switch is flipped. I also love how they try to market it as The Most New York Bar In LA. If it was a New York bar it’d be the Ginger Man, except without all the beer and dive-y booths. It’s just West Side bros who work in finance or real estate wearing, yes, “pastel button-down shirts”. The Complex description fails to mention the custom monograms on all the shirts. You forgot the monogramed shirts! Every drink on a given night might be paid for by an expense account. I brought my sister here to meet Thesy back in November and my sister’s jaw literally dropped. And she’s probably blacked out at all the worst bars in our home state of New Jersey. After two or three hours at the Hudson she pleaded with me to move back East.

02. The Association – I had a hilarious night at this stuck-up “lounge” downtown over the summer. The smug bartender told a few of the girls I was with that he was a mixologist and wanted to make them a new drink he had concocted. I think he might have been trying, in vain, to hit on them. Needless to say, the drink that he made was horrible, and when the girls called him on it he first mocked their taste, then — perhaps realizing he was losing the girls’ interest — he took the glasses back and tried to re-make the drink. Same terrible result. Even worse, when the girls said that they didn’t want to pay for the drinks because a) they didn’t order them and b) they didn’t like them, he told them that it was too bad, he had to charge them. I, in turn, responded by stealing a bunch of fruit from the fruit bowls on the bar and hiding it in the girls’ purses and coats. Childish, I know, but I was drunk and well on my way into blackout territory. To me that was the most entertaining aspect of my night at The Association. As for the crowd, if you happen to be female you need to be prepared to fight off the cadre of molest-y creeps that will be up on you for the entirety of your stay here. Awful vibe, too. Definitely manufactured to draw in the wrong kind of crowd.

01. Harvard & Stone – This is the worst bar in Los Angeles. Take my Yelp review, for example, which actually got me noticed by one of the bartenders! I wrote, “The setting is so meticulously manufactured (right down to the specific “vibe” put off from the stylized lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling) that you feel like you’re drinking in the Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland. The crowd now appears to be trying even harder to out-do one another. Don’t lie, that French Canadian accent was a sham, wasn’t it, Mr. I’m-Wearing-A-Woven-Parka-With-Fish-On-It? Maybe it was just last night but I felt like an outcast at a Parisian fashion show. ‘Ma’am, the runway’s outside on the smoker’s patio.’ This bar beautifully illustrates the difference between hipsters who actually have money and those who do not. The bartender makes a good Manhattan. +1 star for that. At this point my stance towards Harvard & Stone is that it’s good for people watching and not much else.” The first (and last) time I went to H&S after I wrote that, the bartender stopped me before I could order my drink and said, “Let me guess? An Old Fashioned? Because that’s the only good thing about this place? Yeah, I read your little review online. Recognized you from your picture.” I tried to laugh it off but the guy was red-in-the-face angry about it. Mother-fuck this bar and its adoring patrons. If there are any.

A Place To Bury Strangers – Drill It Up [MP3]


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    […] the course of the last month I’ve examined both the ten “douchiest” bars in LA as well as the ten that have fallen furthest downhill since my arrival in this city. […]

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