Thunderbolt only opened earlier this year, but it already feels like a lived-in neighborhood bar. Located next to Park’s Finest in Echo Park, its low-lit leather couches, dark green walls, and speakers playing Jay-Z (like old, The Blueprint Jay-Z), make it ideal for everything from a first date to the monthly book club you’ve tried to start no less than four times. The menu is a mixed bag of hit-or-miss Southern-ish bar snacks like buttermilk biscuits and pork belly burnt ends, so you’re better off eating next door. You’re here for the drinks - which exist in that dangerous, highly coveted Venn diagram of very strong but still genuinely tasty. Our favorites are the La Frutera, with tequila, mango, and tamarind (order it spicy), and the Tropipop, which is sweet and tropical like a piña colada, but filled with so much rum you’ll forget that you’re not actually on vacation. But pretty much everything here pairs well with a discussion about hypothetically starting Sapiens with your friends from college.
More spots in Echo ParkSee more
Bar Henry is a casual cocktail bar in Echo Park, a neighborhood where low-key places with good drinks are pretty rare.
Tsubaki is a new Japanese spot in Echo Park and one of the better izakaya experiences in the city.
You might spend some time trying to find Reggie’s (it’s in the Citibank), but once you’re inside this family-run deli, you'll find great sandwiches.
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Joxer Daly’s in Culver City is where you go if you want to catch the Manchester vs. Chelsea game and drink beer with a guy named Torrey from Leeds.
FishBar is a bar/seafood shack on the Northern edge of Manhattan Beach and one of the last truly local spots in the area.
Barney’s Beanery in Redondo is a more low-key location of this sports bar mini-chain, with bar games, nachos, and a water view.
Suggested by our writers
Bar Calo is a Mexican cocktail bar/restaurant in Echo Park that reminds you why you love LA.
Porridge and Puffs
Porridge and Puffs in Historic Filipinotown has Asian-inspired rice porridge, and a quiet, welcoming feel.
The Park’s Finest BBQ
A Filipino-Southern BBQ spot worth a visit. Hit it on Wednesdays for their try-it-all $12 special.
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