Dive Bars in Seal Beach

Select Local Merchants

More than 100 whiskeys and a comparable bounty of beers flow at Johnny’s Saloon, an eccentric neighborhood bar that dubs itself a “twisted Cheers.” Opened in 1982, the bar emanates a charm stemming from its appreciation of the rock 'n' roll generation and a rejection of anything that represents the status quo, such as walls. The jukebox is stocked solely with vintage rock 'n' roll and country, steering clear of Top 40 pop and hip-hop, and in the spotless bathrooms, 20 scented lotions keep hands smelling fresher than the Snuggle bear’s dance moves. Though the bar doesn’t serve food, the staffers happily order in from the nearby famous Donuttery and pour libations from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. They serve up single shots of spirits such as Midleton Irish whiskey and Macallan 21-year, but patrons can also purchase a private bottle of liquor that’s held behind the bar under lock and key.

17428 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach,

Bowlers on a quest for either recreation or league glory can soak up the retro vibe at La Habra 300 Bowl until at least 11 p.m. every night. On Friday and Saturday, cosmic effects add a festive glow to nocturnal bowling (extra fee), evoking the excitement of outer space without the danger posed by reckless spaceship drivers. The center also offers party packages that furnish groups with lane space and shoes but require partygoers to bring their own cakes.

370 E Whittier Blvd
La Habra,

The cool, dark confines of the Mermaid are a shelter from the sun-drenched sand just beyond its doors, even before bartenders pour out cold beers. Guests lounging in its black-leather booths chow down on foods from popcorn shrimp to filet mignon, or linger sipping classic cocktails and fruity tiki drinks. Enormous front windows offer views of the action on the beach.

Surf or Turf?

Pick a side of the Mermaid's extensive menu:

Fresh Seafood Dishes Tender, Juicy Meats
Baja-style fish tacos Grilled filet mignon with bernaise sauce
One pound of crab legs Pan-roasted, bone-in pork chop with apple chutney
Beer-battered fish and chips with homemade coleslaw 8-ounce Angus beef burger with spicy thousand island dressing

A Peek Inside

In terms of decor, The Mermaid keeps it simple. Recent renovations have softened the lighting without erasing the bar-restaurant's laid-back, dive-y charm. Blown-up black-and-white photographs of surfers smile out over diners in the front part of the dining room, while horseshoe-shaped booths ring red pool tables tucked in back of the bar.

11 Pier Ave.
Hermosa Beach,

The Burgundy Room on Los Angeles’ Cahuenga Boulevard is a small, comfortable dive bar amidst the relative street hustle of tourist-heavy Hollywood. The name, so it seems, comes from the heavily-colored deep red bar stools, candles and lighting that accents the interior, and would give the impression that this is laid-back, jazzy bar, but far from it. The Burgundy Room rocks a host of live deejays that spin mostly metal, hip hop, punk and rock inside the dim, tiny space. Crowds can form quickly as lines for the bar get deep, and the long bathroom line can make for even more excruciating waits. The limited floor space also means dancing isn’t likely to take place; locals instead opt to drink and chat with friends over the din of the nearby tunes.

1621 1/2 N Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles,

Places like The Fifth might be hard to avoid calling a home-away-from-home. Especially since this home has arcade games, a pool table, and perfectly-execute drinks someone else makes. Complete with a mirrored lounge, leather banquettes, and a unique, rounded bar, The Fifth is a cozy and chic place for a tipple. Behind the bar, the staff uncaps a wide variety of beers, and crafts cocktails and mixed drinks?both on and off the menu.

4821 Whitsett Ave
Valley Village,

Inside an unassuming green house, the eponymous owner of Angie's Skin Care plies her skin-nourishing trade. Clients seeking renewal and relaxation flock through the front door, unwinding during facial sessions that cleanse away grime and clear pores. After visages are clean, hydrating formulas penetrate deep into the skin, leaving complexions more youthful and radiant than a newborn glowworm.

15 Washington Blvd
Marina Del Rey,