Hinano Cafe is a chill AF beachside joint at the south end of Venice, California, that opened in 1962, making it—by ephemeral Los Angeles standards—an historic landmark.
Jim Morrison was a regular at Hinano, and prior to finding fame as the lead singer of the Doors, he’d carved his name into a wooden rail that ran along the U-shaped bar. On my first visit in the early aughts, I located Morrison’s signature at the far end of the bar near a pool table by the exit. It was barely legible, worn away by the many years and countless assorted body parts.
I asked a bartender if management had ever considered trying to preserve Morrison’s faded signature with some sort of protective covering. She cocked her head and said, “I doubt it,” adding “You need a beer?” And that was that.
And that is why Hinano made the cut on this list of Los Angeles’s best down n’ dirty bars—no-frills watering holes that have never purported to have a concept, tend to cater to a fiercely loyal clientele, and serve as enduring reminders that the more things change, the more people covet familiarity.