Black Wednesday is that time of the year when families and friends reunite in a big way. Whether you’re avoiding the in-laws or reuniting with everyone from school, it’s important to hit the best local haunts. With a dizzying number of entertainment-themed taverns dotting the social landscape of the greater Los Angeles region, there is a tasteful jumble of unique establishments that offer a lot more than a stiff drink and quick wink. These are the best bars for black Wednesday in Los Angeles.
1410 3rd St. Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Located within walking distance of the bustling Santa Monica State Beach and pier, Yankee Doodles is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Open seven days a week, this family oriented, double-tiered entertainment center features a full-service bar and restaurant, an impressive number of high-definition television screens, nearly 30 pool tables and an arcade. Enjoy a wide assortment of beer, wine, specialty drinks and American-style food items either inside or on its outdoor patio that provides a front-row seat to talented street performers. The best time to stretch the dollar is Monday through Thursday, between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday through Thursday, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., when tabs for select appetizers and alcoholic beverages are half-priced.
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Black Market Liquor Bar
11915 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
Established in 2011, Black Market Liquor Bar has become a talked-about watering hole for those who live and work in this trendy neighborhood. Near CBS Studio Center, this adults-only pub is known more for its internationally famous staff than its honeycomb of solid cocktails, superb specialty drinks and premium food menu. Book author and former “Top Chef” competitor Antonia Lofaso runs the kitchen, where she crafts delectable meals to complement the bar’s unique offering of designer beverages, blended by a team of acclaimed mixologists. Be sure to taste Chef Lofaso’s lemon pepper shrimp with aioli, fried cauliflower or the veal meatballs for an experience not soon forgotten. Prices are set to accommodate wallets of all sizes.
Ye Olde King’s Head
116 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
After raising its shingles in 1974, this jolly establishment — located within walking distance of Third Street Promenade and the bay city’s inviting sandy shores — has become a meeting ground for British residents and tourists. A triple threat, it is an eye-catching blend of a British pub, restaurant and museum stirred into a shepherd’s pie. Items paying homage to Great Britain’s royalty and rich entertainment history adorn the walls in this quaint manor, which carries the following fundamental rule: Eat and drink like a king, queen, prince or princess. This lovely place is as close to the United Kingdom one can get without having to paddle across the pond. The best time to sit down at the venue’s one of two bars is Monday through Friday, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., when the cost of select drinks and pub snacks are discounted. On Black Wednesday/Thanksgiving Eve, live soccer will be broadcast at 8 p.m.
6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd., #2150
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Known as one of the more unique venues in San Fernando Valley, The Rack is where creative dining and entertainment bump knuckles. In addition to its wide selection of tequilas, martinis and signature malt scotches, this adults-only playground boasts nearly 20 elegantly carved billiard tables, oversized television screens, a state-of-the-art sound system, VIP room and a temperature-controlled outdoor patio with an intoxicating fire bar. Menu prices are surprisingly reasonable, with the cost of a draft beer starting at $3 and a half-rack of baby back ribs with sides averaging less than $6. Happy hour takes place Monday through Friday, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., when discounts come into play. A strict dress code is enforced after 9 p.m.
Backstage Bar & Grill
10400 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Anyone who is into karaoke, trivia games and live music may want to stop by this historic bar that features good food and strong alcoholic beverages at unbelievable prices. Located near Sony Pictures Entertainment, Backstage Bar & Grill — in operation for more than 75 years — is the oldest bar in Culver City, with drink prices that have not changed in some 20 years. In fact, the cost of a domestic beer is still stuck at $2. This intimate venue throws a party 365 days of the year from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and an hour earlier on game days. Frequented by studio folks, locals and tourists, it also boasts a bar kitchen that refuses to house a microwave oven or freezer; everything on the menu is made from scratch. Happy hour is offered seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning freelance journalist who covers the glittering nightlife and bustling music scene in Los Angeles, among other topics of social interest. Some of her contributions to the entertainment industry have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Samples of her unique writing style can be found on Examiner.com.