Food & Drink

Where to Find 9 Secret, Bar-Only Sandwiches and Burgers in LA

Published On 05/04/2015 Published On 05/04/2015
Cole's
Takumas Gourmet
Cole's
Spring St Bar
Matthew Kang/Eater
Flickr/Zsolt Vajda
Cooks County
The Original Ramen Burger
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1. The Thirsty Crow 2939 W Sunset, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Silverlake)

The Thirsty Crow is the kind of place you'd think your grandfather used to frequent. It's a bourbon-centric bar located in the former truck stop-style drinkery called Stinkers', whose owner capitalized on the elevated tastes (read: above the PBR/Jack Daniels paygrade) of his guests. He gutted, renovated, and re-concepted Stinkers' into The Thirsty Crow, and decked it out with a brand new... vintage feel. The shelves are stocked with over 40 small-batch distills, the music comes from an all-wood, all-vinyl juke box, the bar is lit by antique fixtures, and the walls are lined with weathered photographs. New construction, old-school flavor... like I said, there's no way your grandfather used to come here.

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2. No Vacancy 1717 N Hudson Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

Located in a restored Victorian house built in 1902, No Vacancy’s Prohibition era-inspired ambiance (there’s a secret entrance) and rotating, 12-item cocktail menu mimic its 20th century-born home. The three-story bar hosts cocktail connoisseurs in its various, dimly lit rooms, which are decorated with red leather and dark wood accents. At the bottom of a red carpeted staircase, a brick-walled courtyard is home to baroque fireplaces that set the tone for the live entertainment -- jazz music, burlesque shows, and tightrope walkers alike.

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3. The Varnish 118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014 (Downtown)

In the back of Cole's -- specifically behind an oak door that's marked with a framed picture of a cocktail -- is The Varnish, a tiny bar from the vaunted mixologists behind New York's Milk & Honey and Little Branch. The bar is an intimate, Prohibition-era hideaway with cozy wooden booths, soft jazz playing in the background, and expertly-made top-shelf cocktails. Order the Improved Whiskey Cocktail, or go off-menu and let the bartender make you something unexpected.

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4. Good Times at Davey Wayne's 1611 N El Centro Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

Straight out of The Brady Bunch set, this 70's living room-themed Hollywood bar is decked out with hammocks, an Airstream Trailer, and a DJ spinning Bee Gees-esque beats. It's hard to tell what's cooler: the epic secret entrance through a refrigerator door or the no-cover. Weekend nights usually draw the biggest lines, but Good Times is open on weekend afternoons, aka the perfect time to kick back on the patio and order up some Tex-Mex street food and craft cocktails.

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5. 4100 Bar 1087 Manzanita St, Los Angeles, CA 90029 (Silverlake)

Only in my dreams exists a bar that never closes, but 4100 comes close. Open every day of the week, 52 weeks of the year, 4100 is dedicated to providing Silver Lake with cheap beer, mules in copper mugs, and a neighborhood, dive bar feel… every damn day. The long, red-accented, tapestry-covered bar is dimly lit with leather booths and bar stools, so no one will even be able to see you shooting that pickle back. Stop by on a weekend, where the owner will grill you up a hot link sandwich for a mere $4, right outside the door (his BBQ sauce is something to write home -- or a Thrillist story -- about).

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6. EightyTwo 707 E 4th Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Make sure you bring quarters to this spot in Little Tokyo, essentially an arcade for the 21+ crowd. The great drinks and old fashioned games frequently draw crowds, but they stay all night to sip on the delicious craft cocktails.

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7. Cooks County 8009 Beverly Blvd , Los Angeles, CA 90048 (Beverly Hills)

Whether you're stopping in for hash or pancakes at brunch, heartier fare like bone marrow or duck sausage at dinner, or just want to get down with half-price drinks during the near-daily (Sunday-Thursday) happy hour, Cooks County is the county you want to be in.

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8. Lock & Key 239 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004 (Koreatown)

On such a bizarre stretch of Vermont that the only way to describe it is "across from the Vons", Lock & Key is a speakeasy totally hidden behind this unassuming/terrifying unmarked red door. Knock on said door and a dude wearing a bowler and ascot will answer and let you in. PRO TIP: Don't ask him if he's in Mumford & Sons.