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Best counter service spots?

Would love to make a list of people's favorite L.A. area restaurants with counters and/or places where you can dine at the bar.

Bonus points for stools with backs.

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  1. Swingers
    101 Diner
    Fred 62
    Bar Marmont

    1. Bobby's Diner
      Mc G's
      Apple Pan
      3rd Stop
      AOC (?)
      Library Alehouse
      Naja's Place

      3 Replies
      1. re: Diana

        Diana, where are Bobby's Diner and Mc G's? Trying to pull together a full list with links. Thanks.

        1. re: wutzizname

          here, I used Google for ya! :)

          22821 Ventura Blvd
          Woodland Hills, CA 91364-1202
          Phone: (818) 225-1324

          Mc G's
          21356 Devonshire St
          Chatsworth, CA 91311
          (818) 734-7056

      2. BLD-- has stools w/backs and has a hook for hand bags. The food is good (used to be better) the service is good (sometimes great, sometimes....never mind). They also have a full bar...even at breakfast...those bloody marys...mmm.

        K-ZO-- has stools w/backs don't know about hand bag hooks. Amazing food, wonderful service, pretty room and you really can "dine" at the bar.

        101--I'm usally too asleep to remember if there is a back on the stool cuz I'm leaning over my plate trying to eat and stay awake.

        HUNGRY CAT- the best service is at the bar-forget the regular tables. no seat backs but great cocktails so who cares when the drinks are that good. Food, always yummy .

        1. I dine solo, so I am most often dining at the bar.

          The Mozzas have stools with chair backs. Especially fun is the Nancy Bar inside Osteria Mozza.

          Also, Bowery is a great spot to eat at the bar.

          And for old time's sake, I can't forget Pie N Burger in Pasadena, though I'm not sure what you're looking for in terms of counter service, since it's not a bar, but a very old school diner.

          But, by far, my favorite eat-at-the-bar location is The Hungry Cat.

          The Hungry Cat
          1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

          The Bowery
          6268 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

          Pizzeria Mozza
          6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

          Pie 'n Burger
          913 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

          2 Replies
          1. re: SauceSupreme

            Hooray, the Nancy bar! When I get to Mozza Ost (can't review it if I don't try it!) I wanna sit at the Nancy bar!

            1. re: SauceSupreme

              Thanks Saucy. I love both, from the Pie 'n Burger dives to the Mozza posh. With or without booze is fine.

            2. I feel that at nearly every restaurant there's a bar where you can dine.Given the option between dining at a table and dining at the bar, I almost always choose the latter. In addition to previously mentioned places, and sushi bars, some other favorites are..

              Palomino (I've spent many a happy-hour-turned-oh-crap-it's-11pm-already-night here)
              Village Idiot

              1 Reply
              1. re: jacinthe

                i know the drinks are good at village idiot, but how is the food?

              2. No one has mentioned Lucques yet...

                4 Replies
                1. re: mollyomormon

                  Nor have they tapped Chinois or Orris, two more terrific spots for counter dining.

                  1. re: mollyomormon

                    Sort of the opposite end of the dining spectrum, but I also love sitting at the counter at Pann's.

                    1. re: mollyomormon

                      Or Taylor's. Yes, you can eat at the bar, folks, and the food's much better after a few five-dollar manhattans.

                      1. re: Woolsey

                        Love Taylor's $9.75 cheeseburger for lunch at the bar. One of the best in town. Especially at the price.

                  2. Nook
                    25 Degrees
                    Jongewaard's Bake'n'Broil
                    Il Grano now has a small bar area.
                    Campanile (Thursday's for grilled cheese nite)
                    Ruth's Chris (Jack Nicholson is often at the BH branch... sunglasses and all)
                    Water Grill
                    Carmine's II
                    Border Grill
                    Chaya Venice
                    McCormick and Schmick's
                    The Grill
                    Crustacean (if you happen to like the garlic crab)

                      1. Does sushi count? If so, then Sushi Ike gets my vote.

                        1. Lunched at Musso & Frank's counter yesterday. Had to try their Chopped Steak Sandwich as part of my Best Burger in LA tour. Add them to the backed-stool list.

                          1. If Long Beach counts, Frency's Bistro, and the seats have backs.

                            1. It ain't a bar but Rae's Restaurant on Pico in Santa Monica is a diner that never left its roots from the 50's-60's. Rae's serves great diner food at very reasonable prices and the best seats are always at the counter.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                Great choice. Rae's may be the best bang-for-your-buck eatery in west LA. The food is classic diner food at classic diner prices (my lunch there is usually $6 w/ tax & tip).

                                Also, on the west side that I believe has a great bar (because it's actually a seperate room from the rest of the dining service) is The Omlette Parlor on Main St. I love their breakfasts and seating on the weekend is a nightmare. But just enter one door over and grab a seat at the bar. The wait is almost nothing.

                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                  Tried Rae's as a breakfast change of pace a weekend ago and thought it was pretty good. But definitely superior is S & W on Washington in Culver City -- bigger portions, eggs and potatoes cooked more exactly to order, better pancakes, and their fantastic homemade corned beef hash at almost the same prices. And yes, counter seating with seatbacks -- more comfortable height on the right side than the left.

                                2. Santa Monica: Cora's Coffee Shoppe

                                  Downtown: Ciudad

                                  1. Guasti Cafe just north of the Ontario airport has a great counter for breakfast. My wife and I sit there just so we can watch in amazement as the wait staff tries to haul those giant breakfasts to their tables.

                                    1. Oh and on the Sunset Strip:

                                      There's the diner at The Standard.

                                      Mel's also works in a pinch.

                                      The Standard Hotel
                                      8300 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

                                      1. A few I don't see on here yet:

                                        25 Degrees
                                        Redwood Bar & Grill
                                        Palms Thai
                                        Pete's Bar & Grill (I don't like it, but others do)
                                        The Edison

                                        1. I like the Apple Pan on Pico so much, I went there after my wedding and sat with my husband talking about our first date there. The paper cone cups, the juicy burgers, the pie with hot glaze, the super-efficient scowling countermen. Perfect.

                                          Lares on Santa Monica Blvd. is a nice place to eat on weekdays nights. Good margaritas and really affordable homestyle Mexican food. They have a short wooden bar right near the entrance and nice waiters who are always ready for a chat.

                                          1. Funny enough, The Counter has a great counter! I ate there once because it was less of a wait than trying for a table. Great service, especially quick with replenishing drinks obviously. Great flat screen TV too for watching the game, which is major bonus points in my book. Can't remember if the stools had backs or not...

                                            Ford's Filling Station in Culver City is also great - big comfy square leather stools, though no backs. I saw Luke Wilson sitting at the bar just the other day devouring his lunch.

                                            Just in terms of food (can't remember if the seats have backs) - The Arsenal and John O'Groat's both have nice counter areas and great food.

                                            1. i actually really love sitting at the bar at Pace (if you get a spot, there are only 4 stools) ordered a glass of wine, the mixed green salad w/ goat cheese and currants, and a pepperoni pizza... its really fantastic.

                                              1. Here it is folks, a google map with all your counter eatin' favorites. I'll keep adding any new ones that pop up. And/or let me know if I've missed (or misentered) anything.


                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: wutzizname

                                                  I'd add Mo's in Burbank to the list. Decent burger.

                                                2. The French Quarter on Santa Monica Blvd. at Laurel.
                                                  Good food and service and the chairs have backs.

                                                  1. Nobody has mentioned The Little Door - I know its food has detractors, but I just love sitting at the bar with some vino, maybe a piece of tarte tatin, and watching the people. I also agree with others who mentioned Grace and the Counter.

                                                    1. Nobody mentioned Tom Bergin's yet. Good burger. Great fish and chips.

                                                      Tom Bergin's Restaurant
                                                      840 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: wutzizname

                                                        I really like the fries at Tom Bergin's, but I actually prefer to sit away from the bar. The angle of viewing the TVs strains my neck.