Latest Best of LA

Best Bars With History In Los Angeles

October 24, 2013 6:00 AM

(credit: Sasha/Getty Images)

(credit: Sasha/Getty Images)

(credit: Sasha/Getty Images)

(credit: Sasha/Getty Images)

Los Angeles enjoys wearing a youthful appearance. That’s why the metro area remains ambitious in its continual effort to reinvent itself. Hidden behind the glitz and glamor of a cosmopolitan glow are some surviving saloons that date back to pre-Prohibition. Founded in 1915, Townhouse Bar in Venice Beach stands as the oldest establishment of its type on L.A.’s west side. From the Pacific Ocean to as far east as Glendale, one can find a smattering of bars with vintage lineage, including downtown’s Golden Gopher, which received its liquor license back in 1905. Here are a few more distinguished watering holes in L.A. that are rich in antiquity.

the cinema bar
The Cinema Bar
3967 Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 390-1328
www.thecinemabar.comBilled as the oldest drinking establishment in Culver City, this dive bar still attracts bohemian types of all ages. In operation since the 1940s, guests squeeze into an intimate setting with dark wood, tarnished seating and a year-round flickering of Christmas lights to add to the ambiance. This west side haunt has been a favorite hangout for those looking for an inexpensive drink with muscle alongside good entertainment. The venue features live music every day of the week, in addition to a vintage juke box. And much like years of old, the bar’s mission to re-charge and lift the human spirit through music and celebration remains intact.

molly malones yelp
Molly Malone’s Irish Pub
575 S. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 935-1577
www.mollymalonesla.comOwned and operated by the same Irish family since 1969, this movie location site is best known for the history that plasters its walls. Guests are greeted by scores of paintings by world-renowned portrait artist Neil Boyle, depicting Irish notables. The famous hangout continues its longstanding tradition of providing a stage for up-and-coming singers and musicians. Some guest performers have included the likes of English New Wave band Tears for Fears and American recording artist and multi-instrumentalist Lenny Kravitz. This is also where you’ll find the best Irish music, drinks and comfort food within an authentic Irish setting.

(credit: Nicole Standley)

(credit: Nicole Standley)

Rainbow Bar and Grill
9015 W. Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 278-4232
www.rainbowbarandgrill.comA major tourist attraction on the Sunset Strip, this famous bar and restaurant celebrated its opening in 1972 with a party for English rock singer and pianist Sir Elton John. It was also here where American comedian John Belushi ate his last meal at table #16. Throughout the 1980s, American heavy metal band Mötley Crüe and glam metal band Poison frequented the venue, which attracted many celebrity types. The establishment was even featured in a total of four videos by hard rock band Guns N’ Roses. Before becoming Rainbow Bar and Grill, the building was owned by film director Vincente Minnelli and was the place where Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe met on a blind date in 1952.

Related: LA’s Best Bars For A Blind Date

bar marmont Best Bars With History In Los Angeles
Bar Marmont
8171 W. Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 650-0575
www.chateaumarmont.comSince 1927, many celebrities have mingled in the fancy lobby and strolled through the corridors at the luxurious Chateau Marmont, home of Bar Marmont. Some of the hotel’s more prominent guests have included actors Rock Hudson, Errol Flynn, James Dean, Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor and Sidney Poitier, among many others. The lounge bar, that oozes low-key enchantment and nostalgic Hollywood, is also the place where actors Lindsey Lohan and Johnny Depp have been spotted routinely. The venue is a warmly cozy bar where anyone with a well-fed wallet can socialized at the same place adored by such A-list denizens as actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Pattinson.

(credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

(credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

Tower Bar
8358 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 654-7100
www.sunsettowerhotel.comDesigned in 1929, Sunset Tower quickly became a major tourist attraction. With elegant Art Deco architecture and modern accommodations, the hotel pulled in the likes of such iconic figures as Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Roger Moore and even gangster Bugsy Siegel. On the main floor sits the Tower Bar, a convenient rendezvous inspired by early Hollywood when both personal and business relationships were forged within an air of elegance, style, class and indulgence. Today, the Tower Bar plays host to TV and film personalities Jennifer Aniston, Tom Cruise, Sean Penn and Jennifer Lopez, among others. The building is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Related:  Best Lounge Bars In Los Angeles

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to


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