Once you get past the gridlock, the maze of hilly roads with “LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY” signs, and the high probability of spending four hours next to a drunk man yelling about how the Dodgers need bullpen help (whatever that means), a game at Chavez Ravine is one of the better ways to spend an evening in LA.
The only problem with that plan? Hot dogs in the ballpark cost four times what you’ll pay at a cart down the street, and beer costs more than your ticket. So instead of spending too much on a meal you’ll probably end up dropping on the ground while trying to balance it on your lap, just go somewhere close to the stadium pre- or post-game. These are our favorite dive bars, beer spots, and restaurants near Dodger Stadium.
Whether you live in the area, are leaving a Dodgers game, or just need some alcohol post-Lassens, Bar Flores is one of the best new places to drink on the Eastside. Located above the recently opened Lowboy and Adamae, stepping into this Latin cocktail bar is like stepping into a different, much better world. There’s a gorgeous patio in the back, the drinks are strong and taste great (the sangria should win some international award), and we have no clue what’s in the air, but it smells better than an Aesop showroom in here. Sure, you’re dealing with the usual Echo Park crowd of NPR shirts, but all things considered, this is a truly excellent bar.
Between their excellent Japanese bar snacks and very impressive sake menu (it literally has a table of contents), Ototo is practically custom-made for a post-game celebration - or if things don’t go well, a great place to erase the last nine innings from your memory. The atmosphere is low-key, almost everything on the menu is shareable, and their katsu sando might just be our favorite version in town.
You shouldn’t really need an excuse to eat at Button Mash, but being walking distance from Chavez Ravine is a pretty great one. There’s plenty of space if you’re with a group, and the food is fantastic - the wings are spicy and crunchy, and the crispy tofu balls will probably cause you to make that involuntary “mmf” noise that makes all your friends a little uncomfortable. Plus, with all the old arcade games, you can make your Padres-obsessed friend’s night even worse by beating him on a KISS-themed pinball machine. They may have Manny Machado, but you have the high score.
Probably the most upscale spot on this list, Winsome is what you get when you mix a mid-century modern showroom with Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. The food here is interesting and solid enough (focus on their potato rosti and hanger steak), the back patio is one of the best on the Eastside, and even though the watercolor wallpaper looks like it was pulled from a History undergrad’s Pinterest page, the atmosphere is relatively laid-back and unpretentious.
There are many things that we like about Monty’s new Echo Park outpost - it’s a lot bigger than the original, their plant-based shakes are still thick as hell, and they give out free stickers at the register. But perhaps our favorite is their proximity to Dodger Stadium. Stop by for one of our favorite vegan burgers in the city and try their new blueberry milkshake, which was presumably created to pander to Dodgers fans (and blueberry fans, too).
There’s no such thing as an official Dodgers bar, but The Short Stop is as close as you’re going to get. Before the first pitch, this dive bar on Sunset is packed with people wearing Dodger blue taking advantage of the long list of Happy Hour deals. And after the game, Short Stop turns into a full-blown party where you can drink $5 jungle juice while James Brown plays from a jukebox. So, weirdly similar to your junior year of college.
Although there is some pretty legendary (roast) beef surrounding Philippe’s claim to being “The home of the original French Dip sandwich,” we don’t really care if they came first, second, or 50th - theirs is still our favorite version in the city. The lines for their iconic, perfectly cooked roast beef will be (understandably) long, but this century-old deli works like Clayton Kershaw on a good day - quick and fast, like a well-oiled machine.
From its incredible Baja-Mexican food to its quiet Chinatown location, Mexicali Taco is a home run. You can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu - everything comes on one of their signature Baja tortillas - but what you’re here for is the Vampiro. After making an appearance on several Top Taco lists (including our Best Tacos in LA), this garlic-sauced-covered taco/quesadilla is almost as famous as the blood-sucker it’s named after.
We love eating at Eastside Market because it still feels like a secret, kind of like the time capsule supposedly hidden in Dodger Stadium (it’s rumored to have been buried a few years after their World Series win in 1959). Plus, you won’t be able to find the Italian deli’s gigantic, red-sauced covered sandwiches anywhere else in town, and they just so happen to provide all the carbs and meat you’ll need to scream your heart out in the nosebleeds.
Although we love eating at their Echo Park location, our favorite pre-game tradition is grabbing Park’s Worker Wednesday box to-go and enjoying it in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. The Filipino/Southern BBQ box is filled with rice, pulled pork, barbecue chicken, hot links, veggies, cornbread, and their heavenly coconut beef (all for only $13), meaning that even if the Dodgers lose, you still win.
Our favorite pizza place in the city, we would drive long distances (read: from the Westside) just to grab one of Triple Beam’s Roman-style slices. Luckily, if you’re coming from Dodger Stadium, you don’t have to be so dramatic - the second location of the Highland Park pay-by-the-slice joint recently opened in Echo Park. Like the original, the menu changes seasonally, but if you happen to be there on an asparagus pizza day, get it.
You thought you’d be able to leave work early and get a meal before the game, but you’re just walking out of your office - and first pitch is in 45 minutes. When all you have time for is a sandwich and a beer, this Cajun restaurant/grocery store in Chinatown is your place. The sandwiches come out quickly, so the only thing slowing you down will be choosing from the 30+ different options for filling. We’ll make it easy: Get the Oyster-Fish po’boy with catfish and oysters.
If we had to dream up an LA taco place, we would probably get lazy and just point you to the Echo Park Guisados. A small space with a constant (but fast-moving) line, a shaded patio to sit on, and truly fantastic mole poblano tacos, our only real issue with Guisados is that it’s also BYOB. Give us a six-pack and a bunch of tacos, and there’s a not-small chance that we won’t be at the game until the fourth inning.
If you’re going to the game with a big group, Highland Park Brewery’s second location in Chinatown is where you’ll want to get a relaxed beer and some snacks before you enter the chaos of Chavez Ravine. You can all sit out on the patio at the picnic tables, pretending Elysian Park is actually your front yard. Even if you’re a lifelong Yankees fan, drinking a beer called Hello, LA next to people who only own clothing with Dodgers logos is enough to make you reconsider your loyalties - at least for the night.
Dodger Stadium has roughly three non-light beer options at most of their concession stands, so the 70 taps of (all-California-made) beer at Mohawk Bend will make up for that. Especially if you come for their late-night Happy Hour (after 10pm on weekdays or 11pm on weekends) for $2 off all taps. The crowd is a mix of locals who are here three times a week and people who’ll cross town for vegan Buffalo cauliflower “wings,” all spreading out in a huge converted theater and working their way through that tap list.
If the Hollywood El Compadre is where you go for a night you probably won’t remember, the Echo Park location of this classic Mexican restaurant is where you go to prep for a ballgame. You’ll find TVs tuned in to catch up on all the Dodgers news you haven’t been paying attention to, and plenty of loud men wearing Justin Turner jerseys, so at least you’ll know one player’s name before you sit down. And there are flaming margaritas strong enough that you’ll find the game pleasant, whether you’re a baseball person or not.
Little Joy is where you come if you refuse to pay too much for mediocre beer. The bouncers will make you wonder if you wronged them in a past life, but with plenty of $5 beers on tap, that’s a thing you can get past. Once you’re in, take over a big booth for your group’s customary play-by-play.
Walking into Sunset Beer feels like walking into a library, except the books are beer and there are adults shouting about the Dodgers. They have hundreds of varieties of beer that you can pick off the shelves, along with a very good tap list and a small wine list. There are a bunch of board games too, so you can play chess if you want to annoy your friends a little bit, or Settlers of Catan if you want them to be annoyed with you forever.
Any kind of wine you order at Chavez Ravine is certainly going to taste like a mix of vinegar and tap water, so you should really just wait the game out and then head to El Prado. They have a great selection of wines by the glass, and hanging out in a dark bar playing records is a nice break after all the sun and organ music.