Our criteria for a good dive bar would be the love child of Bukowski and Anthony Bourdain: an honest, judgment-free refuge from your daily grind, good music, no lines, bartenders who will listen and if needed bust your balls, and of course cheap, stiff drinks. We have a special place in our heart and stomach for bars that have good food, and extra points if they have good vegetarian food. A good dive bar has always been a place to ponder the grander questions of the universe, so if there is a conversation about dolphins killing sharks while the ponies are running on the TV, yes pour us another round. Add extra points if they open before noon and 100 points for those who open at 6am.

Dive bars is where you can get a martini for $3, and even though the liquor comes from beneath the well, somehow it’s the best damn cocktail you’ve ever had.Could it be the gnarled bartender who has been making them since she started pouring there when she was 15, or somehow the faint whisper of tobacco from decades ago that still lingers and mixes with the miscreants smoking in the alley, marrying old ghosts with those in training? It tells you this place has been here before your grandparents were bumping uglies and will definitely outlive you. A hologram to the grandiosity of our brief and temporal existence, bringing and keeping us in a perpetual present. It feels like home, to be who you want, and say what you want without judgment. Each watering hole is as unique as its post and patrons, but welcomes outsiders all the same. The dive bar is a home for all those that need one. Allen Nalasco / Blaz Galleos 

los Angeles Dive Bars