09 Aug 2011

by Marc Passion

On the Down Low: Photo Essay of Downtown Los Angeles (pub crawl included)

An old LA Theatre, one of the very few left.

On your next trip to Los Angeles, forget about being that tourist where you feel its necessary to take a photo of the Hollywood Sign or Muscle Beach and instead head to Down Town LA. Get amongst the Suits, the Yuppies, the other but not so many  tourists and of course the trolley pushing homeless. Down Town LA really is one cool and hip place to check out and at no time did I feel unsafe.

When you go down town you’ll feel like you’ve head back in time to the early 1900′s when LA was bustling along. The first film was made in Los Angeles in 1908 and in 1913 Cecil B. DeMille hired a barn in the suburb called Hollywood for film making. Los Angeles City Hall was built in 1928 and Union Station in 1939.

City Hall Reflection in a not so early 1900′s building.

Not only is Los Angeles full of cool buildings but also plenty of hidden away bars. I met up with Roller Coaster Dan, a LA local, to cruise the streets with a mission to fill our ‘belly’s full of piss’ (fill our stomachs full of beer for those non Aussie slang speakers).

We began our pub crawl at Coles on 118 East Sixth Street. Having been established in 1908, this makes it Los Angeles oldest bar. It was here Harry Cole invented the French Dip Sandwich. With a cold beer, the sandwich goes down like a treat.

Coles Est. 1908

The original old school decor.

From there cruise along Main street passing old school architecture standing tall and still as impressive as the day it was built.

Old is Gold.

When you hit W 5th Street take a left and you’ll find bar stool number two. With a wall of ‘Down and Out Celebrities’ to get the conversation started, The Down and Out is a dark and dingy bar where the drinks are cheap and the tunes are rockin. There’s a grimey feeling (but not actually dirty) for the yuppies to hang out at, so it’s a nice little getaway spot when you’re in Downtown.

Definitely down but not out.

When Celebs hit rock bottom.

Can you hear that train? Time to make traxx for beer number 3……well 3rd stop anyway. Moving away from the down right dingy you can step back in time to 1939. Union Station Traxx Bar was once the original Telephone Room for all of Union Station. Now it’s a great place to drink, surrounded by gorgeous art deco wood, terra cotta and marble tiled floors that spill out onto the main ticket concourse.

Traxx Bar.

The glorious backdrop of the classic golden days of Hollywood beckons the traveller as well as the explorer in all of us. Even with modern Los Angeles blossoming in its midst, Traxx’s ambience recalls the glamour and wonder of train travel’s golden era.

Union Station fuses the Spanish colonial representing California’s heritage.

Once the train pulls out, head round the corner and follow Alameda Street to Tokyo Town and the Contemporary Art Gallery. Unfortunately it was closed when we I was in town that day so make sure to check out daily openings. I missed out on a cool exhibition of graffiti street art.

Watch out Yogi!

But never fear! When an Art Gallery is closed…..on 400 E First Street is Weiland Brewery. A 100 year old brew house with a massive selection of bottle beers as well as their very own special brews, including Honey Blonde Lager, India Pale Ale, Amber Ale and our Hefenweizen. Hmmm beer slurp, slurp.

100 years old and still pouring strong.

If you can manage to stand after slurping back every type of beer they have, your next top up will be Bar 107 situated at 107W 4th Street. This place rocks! Full of all kinds of junk, but cool junk. Just as if you walked in to a second hand store except they have cold beer here and an awesome atmosphere.

Weird and whacky world of Bar 107.

Our last stop was all about ‘Perspective’ and perhaps even a little posh. By hitting the heights of LA you are able to track back your route of drinking debauchery. So head over to The Westin Bonadventure (this will need a short taxi ride although you could walk). Sitting at the top is a revolving bar with the best views of LA from the Hollywood Sign (on a clear day) to as far as the eye can see.

The Impressive old with theUgly new.

Pub Crawl time.

So remember hidden away gems could be any where. Latch on to a local and you’ll always get the best experience out of your new found town.

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  • Graciel Cecilio

    Nice one. This takes me back to LA where I lived for about 3 years. A good stop is also Little Tokyo where you can go to an izakaya- drink sake and eat some really good sushi.

  • Marc Passion

    We did check out Little Tokyo. I lost my glasses the previous night and was able to pick up a pair for $5! Definitely a good place to shop. Next time I’ll be sure to get stuck into the saki!

  • kiwivic

    I’ve bookmarked this one for next time I get to LA – I love a good pub crawl!

  • jenjenk

    You hit up some great places! although I think Phillippe’s may argue the beginning of the french dip sandwich! :)

  • Marc Passion

    Nothing better than a cold beer on a hot day! And LA has these secrets where the tourist never stray. It’s good to live like a local and find these hidden places.

  • Marc Passion

    Yes. That is the big argument. Either way a good feed and cold beer to be had.

  • Nomadic Samuel

    Passion takes over LA!  That’s a nice assortment of places.  I’d love to give this a go myself sometime soon :)

  • Marc Passion

    I was lucky, my mate is a local there and took me round to these not very well known places. Definitely was another side of LA which I hadn’t seen…and of course the beer…mmm

  • Marc Passion

    Yeah when I was there..I was told about the conflict of ownership. Either way it’s delicious :-)

  • Marc Passion

    Nothing better than a pub crawl….especially when the crawling kicks in. Enjoy!