Los Angeles is known for a great many things—great sports bars, though, are not among them. While the city lives and dies with the Lakers, and to a lesser extent bleeds Dodger Blue, the lack of an NFL franchise has left many across the Southland without a dog in the NFL hunt (except, I suppose, for transplanted Cleveland Browns fans).
The good news, though, is that the NFL power vacuum has allowed pockets of other fan bases to have their moment to shine. Instead of being subjected to 16 Raider games, fans can choose from an eclectic array of sports bars, some with a specific faith, while others, in the words of one bar owner, are “non-denominational”.
Thus, I have been on a quest to survey the landscape of sports bars in Los Angeles, and determine ideal viewing spots for different fan bases. Since this is a massive undertaking, we will begin by looking at West Los Angeles, with upcoming views of Santa Monica, Venice/Marina Del Rey, the Valley, Downtown, mid-Wilshire and even Pasadena—all pending the ability of my liver to play like a champion.
Drawing the line between the west side and Santa Monica can get a little hazy, but the general cutoff I will use for my own inscrutable purposes will be 26th street. Closer to the ocean is in Santa Monica; anything from there to, let’s say Overland, falls into the Westside realm. With that in mind, I present a rundown of the sports bar scene in West Los Angeles. List in alphabetical order.
Busby’s West. Location: 3110 Santa Monica Blvd.
NCAA Football allegiance: Wisconsin, Cal, Stanford
NFL allegiance: Buffalo Bills
Beers on tap: Blue Moon, Pyramid Haywire Hefeweizen, Stella, Sam Adams Octoberfest, Sierra, Fat Tire, Ranger IPA, Guinness, Heineken, Newcastle, Miller Lite, Bud Light
Note: Busby’s will have four 3D televisions for football season. Also, Busby’s has an executive chef, and caters its menu to its loyal following. Local touches include Cheese Curds and Brats delivered from Wisconsin, and “true western New York” buffalo wings.
Cabo Cantina. Location: 11829 Wilshire Blvd.
NCAA Football allegiance: UCLA, USC.
NFL allegiance: none
Beers on tap: none (bottles and cans; mostly Mexican beers, such as Corona, Modelo, Dos Equis and Pacifico)
Note: Cabo, like its neighbor Q’s, has a great outside patio area, and is ideal for smokers. One downside: the screens are spread out, so it can be difficult to track multiple games at the same time.
Q’s. Location: 11835 Wilshire Blvd.
NCAA Football allegiance: Nebraska, other scattered teams
NFL allegiance: Jets, Cowboys
Beers on tap: Sierra Nevada (Pale Ale), Blue Moon, Stella, Guinness, Bass, Newcastle, Fat Tire, Sam Adams Octoberfest, Miller Lite, Bud Light, Coors Light
Note: Click here for a World Cup adventure at Q’s.
SF Saloon. Location: 11501 W. Pico Blvd.
NCAA allegiance: UCLA, USC
NFL allegiance: 49ers
Beers on tap: Anchor Steam, Lagunitas IPA, Newcastle, Stella, Blue Moon, Sierra Nevada, Fat Tire, PBR
Notes: A great bar for NorCal transplants. Click here for my World Series shenanigans.
Sonny McLean’s. Location: 2615 Wilshire Blvd. (Literally on the border between Westside and Santa Monica).
NCAA football allegiance: None (blame the mediocrity of Boston College)
NFL football allegiance: Patriots.
Beers on tap: Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Sierra Nevada, Smithwicks, Fat Tire, Bass, Boddingtons, Yellow Tail Pale Ale, Anchor Steam, Newcastle, Blue Moon, Stella, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Sam Adams Noble Pils, Harp, Amstel Light, Strongbow (apple cider), Wydmer’s (pear cider)
Note: Signature Boston bar in all of Los Angeles. Click here for a World Cup adventure had here.
South. Location: 3001 Wilshire Blvd.
NCAA allegiance: Michigan
NFL allegiance: Patriots
Beers on tap: Abita Amber, Blue Moon, Bud Light, Budweiser, Chimay Tripel White, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Deschutes Twilight Ale, Fat Tire, Firestone Double Barrel, Guinness, Lagunitas IPA, Miller Lite, Pyramid Hefeweizen, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Sam Adams Octoberfest, Sierra Nevada, Stella, Woodchuck (cider)
Note: Click here for a complete review, and here for another World Cup diary. Also, the Michigan Wolverine connection is not to be ignored; the place is packed with Maize and Blue come Saturday.
Admittedly, this list is incomplete—I will be revising it as best I can throughout football season. If you have a bar you’d like included, or want to sound off on any of these topics, feedback is always appreciated.
As mentioned, this is the first in a series, so be sure to check back on the home page for updates. Until next time, bottoms up!