At some point during every night out in LA, it'll be time for you to hit a dive bar. But which LA dive bar should you hit for, say, great popcorn? Or terrible karaoke? Or ladies in bikinis???? Relax. We've got you covered.

Best dive for free homemade food: Scarlet Lady Saloon

Culver City
The Scarlet Lady tempts you with many of the usual trappings of a genuine dive bar: cheap and strong drinks, colorful clientele, unpolished karaoke, and well-worn pool tables. But where it really comes through strong is with regular appearances of homemade food (chili, hot dogs, nachos, breakfast burritos...), often times for free, or at least all you can eat for cheap.
 

Best pre-flight dive by LAX: Lei Aloha

Westchester
Unlimited airport lounge cocktails are all well and good, but if you’re in need of some cheap, stiff drinks and local charm before your flight, this cash-only, no-frills dive is a must.  Mixed drinks for $5 and under? Check. Pinball machine? Double check. Microwave available to heat your own food? TRIPLE check.

Danny Jensen

Best Tiki dive: Purple Orchid

El Segundo
Classic Polynesian joints like Tiki Ti and Tonga Hut have a special place in our rum-soaked, tiny umbrella-topped hearts, but most seem a bit refined when compared to the dive-ier Purple Orchid. The multi-bottle strong tropical pours, loads of salty locals, and attitude all just chant "dive bar" (ooga booga). The inexplicable Barbie dolls in the mouths of Tiki masks only add to the charm.
 

Best dive for $2 beers all the time: Branch Office

Torrance
It’s hard to argue with $2 beers and $3.50 well drinks. Also, you should probably stop arguing with alcohol, it’s a sure sign that the booze is winning the argument. It's sort of like an ungodly cross between Moe’s Tavern and the bar at the Elk’s Lodge, and the free pool tables and decent grub make the Branch Office a reliable dive-y haven in the South Bay.
 

Best all-you-can-drink dive: Stovepiper  

Northridge
Normally the drinks are pretty cheap at the ‘Piper, but when they slap on that all-you-can-drink wristband for $20 on Friday and Saturday nights, there’s no telling what’s going to happen on that dance floor. Just be sure to fuel up on pastrami at Brent’s Deli next door before attempting the challenge.

Joe Jost's

Oldest continually operating dive bar West of the Mississippi: Joe Jost's Long Beach

Long Beach
This dive institution has been doling out frosty cold schooners of cheap beer, split Polish sausages on rye, and pickled eggs for decades, and thankfully hasn’t changed much over the years. Don’t forget to grab some peanuts from the 100-year-old roaster.
 

Best dive with ping pong: The Castle Sports Bar

Manhattan Beach
While some may enjoy watching their sports on the screens behind the bar, the real move is to head for the ping pong table in the back. Just don’t ignore the bar completely, as there’s a bit of a Coyote Ugly-vibe up there that's not to be missed.
 

Best you-gotta-see-it-to-believe-it dive: Jumbo's Clown Room

Thai Town
The tattooed girls at Jumbo's come in all shapes and all sizes, but this much is true: when they hit this bar's pole-abetted stage (despite what you may have heard, it's not a strip club -- there's actually no nudity at all), they're all equally devoted to their craft, defying gravity with crazy climbs or giving insanely believable come-hither stares in the name of making an extra couple bucks. Is it the perfect location when you've run out of locations? Yes, it's definitely that.

Alhambra Cocktail Lounge

Best dive with potential for disaster: Alhambra Cocktail Lounge

San Pedro
With buckets of King Cobra and $3 Fireball shots making regular appearances at this historic San Pedro dive-of-dives, there’s a lot that can go wrong. But, there’s also a lot that can go right.
 

Best dive where you can win a "water pipe" while singing karaoke: Bar 107

Downtown
On Wednesday nights, the grimy, stickered-up Bar 107 gets C-list comedians to judge karaoke there, and they. Are. Brutal. They also give a, um, hand-blown, um, water pipe to the winner. And, not that we know from experience, but fat dudes doing the splits to "You Give Love A Bad Name" totally win.
 

Best Hungarian dive with cheap pitchers and pool: Ujpest Sports Lounge

Van Nuys
When you need a Hungarian sports bar with mini-pitchers of beer for $3.50 and pool tournaments (for whatever reason), Ujpest is your dive of choice. Also: free hot dogs on Monday nights and karaoke most nights.

Flickr/Thomas Hawk

Best "everything around us is fancy and screw that crap" dive: Frolic Room

Hollywood
Next door to the Pantages. Across the street from the W. A few doors down from luxury condos. The Frolic Room: your fantastic alternative for Hollywood BS since 1930.
 

Best if you don't want to see who you're with dive: The Drawing Room

Los Feliz
Sure, there are a lot of dark, dimly lit dive bars. And then there's this dark, dimly lit dive bar in a Los Feliz strip mall, which has its lights at such low levels that playing darts is an issue. Or maybe that's just the booze. Either way, good luck finding your way around without bumping into something.
 

Best dive bar breakfast: Roadhouse Bar & Grill

Torrance
You may not find Swayze at the door, but the breakfast and Bloody Marys at this open-at-6am South Bay favorite are worth getting up early for.

Flickr/MisterFastbucks

Best "I like my live music chill" dive: Cinema Bar

Culver City
Wanna go to a dive that's got live music, but don't wanna bring earplugs? This Culver City spot has free bands nearly every night, most of whom fall into the gypsy jazz/swing/country/country-swing-gypsy-jazz realm, and not the OH-MY-GOD-I-STILL-CAN'T-HEAR-ANYTHING-THE-NEXT-DAY realm.
 

Best "I like my live music ROCKING" dive: The Escondite

Downtown
Not only do they have burgers we'll never stop talking about, but this adjacent-to-Skid-Row barstaurant also books some of the best bands in LA, with Black Keys-ish blues blasters Snakearm (formerly Restavrant) and rowdy genre-smashers Blackwater Jukebox both regular rockers.

Flickr/Philip Fibiger

Best dive for bar games: Cozy Inn

Culver City
Yo: full-size shuffleboard. Also: pool. Also: darts. Also: full-size shuffleboard. Also.
 

Best dive with bad karaoke: The Smog Cutter

East Hollywood
It's on our list of the Best Dive Bars in the US, and deserves its place for many reasons -- the sticky bar, the, uh, brutally-honest/abrasive bartenders, the regulars playing pool, and silently-or-not-so-silently judging you as you walk in. But more than any of that, it's the karaoke, broadcast on a tiny tube TV and often featuring people singing "Circle of Life" out of tune, that makes this bar stand out. Really, it's so wrong that it's SO RIGHT.
 

Best bar with good karaoke: Tattle Tale

Culver City
What, you expected the Brass Monkey? Too busy. Dimples is closed (RIP). The Gaslamp is full of American Idol wannabes. But the Tattle Tale? You can usually sing a song from its massive list within an hour of walking in.

Flickr/Daremoshiani

Best dive with a cheeseburger: Hinano Cafe

Venice
Let's be honest: the superlative post-drinking burger is your #1 reason to go Hinano, and you may not even remember it the next day, but it's worth it, because it is so good. It is even better topped with a hot dog. For real.

Best dive with a cheeseburger... and plenty of history: Ercolés

Manhattan Beach
If you’re looking for a place where everyone will eventually know your name and be eating great classic cheeseburgers, this Prohibition-era haunt is your spot. There’s nothing fancy about the burger, but you didn’t come here for fancy, you came for cheap beer, and now you’re ALSO eating a tasty burger.
 

Best dive with a cheese...steak: Philly West

West LA
Cheesesteaks? Yep: this spot from a Philly expat's got the real-deal-American-cheese-griddled goodness, in a hall that feels ripped right from the home of the Liberty Bell and ingloriously unloaded on West LA. In other words: magic.

Flickr/Mikey Wally

Best updated dive: King Eddy Saloon

Downtown
Last year, LA lost perhaps its best dive, The Powerhouse -- a dingy Hollywood haunt populated by characters like Mini Mr. T on carpeting that hadn't been cleaned in decades -- to the throws of capitalism, with new drinks-slingers now mixologizing great cocktails, and none of the original spirit. So when King Eddy -- a similarly beloved, possibly even more-run-down bar -- announced it was being updated, it stood to reason the same would happen there. Not so: it's still dank, and dangerous-feeling, and you can still get an extra-strong rum-and-coke and not feel like you gotta order some frou-frou drink with, like, muddled whatever. It just smells a bit better (and has better music) now.
 

Best free popcorn???: The Roost

Atwater Village
Seriously, has anyone ever said "Let's go to the Roost" without following it up with "they have awesome free popcorn"...? The answer is no. No one has ever done this. Which is why it's a bummer they seem to have TAKEN AWAY THE FREE POPCORN MACHINE. Bring it back. Now.

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Jeff Miller and Danny Jensen are both glad they've never had to be escorted out of any of these fine establishments. Hit them up at @ThrillistLA and @dannyseamus on Twitter, respectively.

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1. Scarlet Lady Saloon 5411 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230 (Culver City)

The Scarlet Lady tempts you with many of the usual trappings of a genuine dive bar: cheap and strong drinks, colorful clientele, unpolished karaoke, and well-worn pool tables. But where they really come through strong is with regular appearances of homemade food (chili, hot dogs, nachos, breakfast burritos...), oftentimes for free (or at least all-you-can-eat for cheap).

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2. Lei Aloha 5622 West Manchester Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045

If you’re in need of some cheap, stiff drinks and local charm before your flight, this cash-only, no-frills dive is a must. Mixed drinks $5 and under? Check. Pinball machine? Double check. Microwave available to heat your own food? TRIPLE check.

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3. Stovepiper Lounge 19563 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91324

Normally the drinks are pretty cheap at the ‘Piper, but when they slap on that all-you-can-drink wristband for $20 on Friday and Saturday nights, there’s no telling what’s going to happen on that dance floor. Just be sure to fuel up on pastrami at Brent’s Deli next door before attempting the challenge.

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4. Jumbo's Clown Room 5153 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Los Feliz)

What better way to end your night than to hit up a strip club and throw whatever bills you have left in your wallet in the air?!

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5. Purple Orchid 221 Richmond St, El Segundo, CA 90245

The multi-bottle strong tropical pours, loads of salty locals, and attitude all just chant "dive bar" (ooga booga). The inexplicable Barbie dolls in the mouths of Tiki masks only add to the charm.

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6. Alhambra Cocktail Lounge 216 W 11th St, San Pedro, CA 90731

No one remembers much about the origins of one of the diviest dives in the South Bay (especially not the dudes at the bar downing a bucket of King Cobra and $3 cinnamon whiskey shots), though we do know that from 1905 to 1908 the building housed the San Pedro City Hall, and the former jail cells are rumored to still exist just below the jukebox. With buckets of King Cobra and $3 Fireball shots making regular appearances at this historic San Pedro dive-of-dives, there’s a lot that can go wrong. But, there’s also a lot that can go right.

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7. The Branch Office 2320 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90501

It’s hard to argue with $2 beers and $3.50 well drinks. Sort of like an ungodly cross between Moe’s Tavern and the bar at the Elk’s Lodge, the free pool tables and decent grub make the Branch Office a reliable dive-y haven in the South Bay.

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8. Joe Jost's 2803 E Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804 (Long Beach)

This mostly locals-only LBC hotspot is doling out cheap brews and even cheaper pickled eggs and roasted nuts to snack on.

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9. The Castle Sports Bar 2401 North Sepulveda Boulevard, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

While some may enjoy watching sports on the screens behind the bar, the real move is to head for the ping-pong table in the back. Just don’t ignore the bar completely as there’s a bit of a Coyote Ugly-vibe up there that's not to be missed.

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10. Bar 107 107 W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Though there's a pretty strict "no dance music" policy at this red and gold painted dive bar, the dance floor still gets a pretty good workout. Once you down the cheap well drinks during happy hour, you're sure to get in a few moves yourself, forgetting all about the random unicorn statue and deer heads.

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11. Ujpest Sports Lounge 14034 Vanowen St, Van Nuys, CA 91405

When you need a Hungarian sports bar with mini-pitchers of beer for $3.50, pool tournaments (for whatever reason), and karaoke most nights, Ujpest is your dive of choice.

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12. Roadhouse Bar & Grill 3103 W 190th St, Torrance, CA 90504

You may not find Swayze at the door, but the breakfast and Bloody Marys at this open-at-6am South Bay favorite are worth getting up early for.

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13. Frolic Room 6245 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028-5310 (Hollywood)

Rumored to be an uber-exclusive speakeasy lounge opened by a dude allegedly named “Freddy Frolic”, this dive bar officially opened to the public in ’34. A Charles Bukowski favorite and possibly the last stop for the ill-fated Elizabeth Short (aka the Black Dahlia), the art deco neon and vested bartenders continue to welcome fans of small dark dives, cheap pours, and strange murals that feature caricatured celebrities.

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14. The Drawing Room 1800 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (Los Feliz)

There are only a handful of bars actually open right when it's legal to serve at 6am, and most of them are dives, but none of them are as gloriously divey as this Los Feliz institution, where you're guaranteed to get super-strong drinks and ultra-charming characters.

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15. Cinema Bar 3967 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230 (Culver City)

This bar is what every dive should be: friendly, casual, cheap, and offering up a stellar rotation of live music most nights.

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16. The Escondite 410 Boyd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

A dark-lit, off the beaten path, neighborhood dive bar with daily live music and an amazing burger menu.

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17. Smog Cutter 864 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029 (Hollywood)

Smog Cutter is a Hollywood dive/karaoke bar that's got awesome music, lively bartenders, and an even-livelier crowd.

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18. Tattle Tale Room 5401 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230 (Culver City)

Tattle Tale Room is your quintessential karaoke/dive bar, with awesome libations and great company.

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19. Cozy Inn 11155 Washington Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90232 (Culver City)

Yo: full-size shuffleboard. Also: pool. Also: darts. Also: full-size shuffleboard.

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20. Hinano Cafe 15 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292 (Venice)

Open since 1969, Hinano Cafe was reportedly Jim Morrison's favorite bar in Venice. Claim to fame aside, the uber-casual, beachside mainstay has great beer and an even better burger, served on a sesame-studded egg bun with standard toppings (lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayo, mustard, and relish) and add-ons like cheddar, Swiss, chili, and bacon. The bar slightly resembles a tiki hut from the outside, but the interior is a typical dive scene with a pool table and TVs.

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21. Philly West 1870 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025 (West La)

Cheesesteaks? Yep: this spot from a Philly expat's got the real-deal-American-cheese-griddled goodness, in a hall that feels ripped right from the home of the Liberty Bell and ingloriously unloaded on West LA. In other words: magic.

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22. The King Eddy Saloon 131 E 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

The surly old geezer of LA bars, this Skid Row-adjacent stalwart first opened as the tavern for the still-operating King Edward Hotel and managed to get a court order to keep pesky street preachers of the day from scaring off would-be boozehounds. Since officially reopening in ’33, The King Eddy Saloon has famously poured heavy for Bukowski, Burroughs, and other literary liquor lovers, and remains a solid cavernous dive for losing a few hours.

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23. Ercoles 1101 1101 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

One of the few classic dives that hasn’t received a shiny new coat, Ercoles maintains its Cheers-vibe, welcoming regulars with a glance-up-from-my-PBR hello, while you settle into well-worn booths and stools. You'll need a stack of napkins to sop up the juice from this dive bar’s phenomenal burger. Expect a high-quality beef patty from Manhattan Meats next door, which comes loaded with toppings and tucked inside a small bun for a sloppy and satisfying experience.

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24. The Roost 3100 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039 (Atwater Village)

This Atwater Village bar is a perfect dive for just chillin' out. It's not overly crowded, the drinks are cheap, and the pours are generous. A menu of Americanized Chinese & Thai food, snacks and the bar’s infamous “Big TV” make The Roost hard to beat.

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