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Best burger and beer in LA? (PJ Clark's in LA)

Walshky May 20, 2008 01:42 PM

So I grew up in LA and have sampled many a burger, both good and bad, and realized that aside from In N' Out I don't really have a go-to never-fails burger joint. The problem with the latter is that I can't enjoy a beer at the same time. I recently went to New York and ate at PJ Clark's on 55th and 3rd. That is what I am looking for in LA. A great place to eat with friends, amazing tasting and amazingly simple burgers, small and dark, and a tall glass of ice cold beer. No frills, no gimmicks, no kobe! Can anyone point me to the PJ Clark's equivalent in the LA area? Please, no Father's Office replies, I live in Santa Monica and love that place and their food but it's a pain in my @$$.

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  1. y
    yogachik RE: Walshky May 20, 2008 01:46 PM

    Do a search. This is a topic that comes up often, and there's a huge thread on it, the quintessential thread called "best burger in LA"

    10 Replies
    1. re: yogachik
      Walshky RE: yogachik May 20, 2008 01:55 PM

      I read through most of that thread, and yes it is incredibly long. The problem is I have eaten at several of those places and although there are many fantastic burgers, I'm really looking for the "burger and beer" experience without all the hipster BS that comes along with Father's Office. Lucky Devil's seems to be the most common answer so far. Thank you though.

      1. re: Walshky
        wilafur RE: Walshky May 20, 2008 02:00 PM

        the burger at the bowery is pretty good...albeit a tad smaller than i anticipated it to be. definitely a hipster joint as they proudly feature PBR. muahahaha!

        1. re: wilafur
          Walshky RE: wilafur May 20, 2008 02:10 PM

          Can't go wrong with PBR as long as it comes in a can! It used to be all I could afford, so I stick with it. I will be trying that burger soon.

          1. re: wilafur
            choctastic RE: wilafur Jul 13, 2008 07:23 AM

            I liked the burger I got for my birthday at the bowery last week. got the works with blue cheese. burger came with caramelized onions, bacon, blue cheese. It was overdone (medium instead of medium rare) and apparently this is pretty common here so ask for rarer than you like. the english muffin is better than i thought at holding up to the beef juices, though I was initially skeptical.

          2. re: Walshky
            tatertotsrock RE: Walshky May 20, 2008 02:03 PM

            I don't know about at "PJ Clark's equivalent" since I've never been, but I am very happy enjoying the Happy Hour at OINKSTER, in Eagle Rock...I get a burger with fries and the best pickels, and a pint of Stella on Tap all for $7.

            1. re: tatertotsrock
              Walshky RE: tatertotsrock May 20, 2008 02:09 PM

              That's worth the drive. I will have to check that out. Cheers.

              1. re: Walshky
                tatertotsrock RE: Walshky Jun 6, 2008 04:22 PM

                It would totally be worth the drive...I happen to keep finding myself driving to the new FO location in Culver City...scheduling appointments that will get me to a Burger and Beer within 10 minutes of their opening time.
                Luckily I only live 5 minutes from OINKSTER.
                I suggest going to their sight and signing up...I just got my "birthday entree" email and a "free dessert" email that I can't wait to use for my birthday next week!

                1. re: tatertotsrock
                  alkapal RE: tatertotsrock Jun 30, 2008 06:05 AM

                  tatertotsrock, happy belated birthday! did you get your birthday entree and free dessert at OINKSTER?

                  1. re: alkapal
                    tatertotsrock RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2008 04:14 PM

                    Thanks, alkapal, for the BD wishes!
                    Yep, went to Oinkster for a burger and a cupcack with oneo f my friends...it was his first time and he loved it!!!
                    Oinkster has been a great place for writing my business plan...what can get you motivated to write a business plan for a fitness studio...a burger and a beer!!!

                    1. re: tatertotsrock
                      New Trial RE: tatertotsrock Jul 2, 2008 04:47 PM

                      I guess that depends on how many reps.

        2. mollyomormon RE: Walshky May 20, 2008 02:14 PM

          Have you been to Hinano in Venice?

          8 Replies
          1. re: mollyomormon
            Walshky RE: mollyomormon May 20, 2008 02:33 PM

            Yes! Used to live right there. Never had the burger but I highly recommend the hot dog.

            1. re: Walshky
              mollyomormon RE: Walshky May 20, 2008 02:36 PM

              Don't know if it's the vibe you're going for, but definitely try the burger! And I'll have to try the hot dog!

              1. re: Walshky
                nosh RE: Walshky May 20, 2008 02:40 PM

                Learning about it on this board, I have wanted to check out Hinano for the burger. It is on the north side of Washington in the last block or two butting up against the beach. Unless you have the extreme long odds and good luck to get one of the few angled metered parking slots, you have to pay at least $5 to enter, search for a spot, and walk back from the parking area there at the foot of Washington butting up against the beach. And no, Hinano doesn't validate parking.

                1. re: nosh
                  mollyomormon RE: nosh May 20, 2008 02:51 PM

                  You have to walk a few blocks, but except on really busy weekend days, I've almost always been able to find street parking on Washington a little east of that last block.

                  1. re: mollyomormon
                    Servorg RE: mollyomormon May 20, 2008 03:23 PM

                    Mollyo, what about a Kobe burger at The Arsenal on Pico? We have gone a couple of times now on your recommendation, (sorry for not posting but somehow I just failed to get my act together afterwards) and have come away happy.

                    1. re: Servorg
                      mollyomormon RE: Servorg May 20, 2008 03:40 PM

                      Oh, I'm glad you liked it! It's just that rec seemed counter to OP's request for "No frills, no gimmicks, no kobe!" Not that it's a super fancy burger, but if OP's looking more for In n' Out style burgers but with beers, I think Hinano's a good bet. But he/she should probably try both!

                      1. re: mollyomormon
                        Walshky RE: mollyomormon May 20, 2008 04:01 PM

                        Live right by Arsenal now. Have had their sliders. Will opt for the Kobe burger next time. Not the burger and beer scene but I am after good food when all is said and done and I can walk there. Usually just passing through for a drink or 8 though. He btw

              2. re: mollyomormon
                PlatypusJ RE: mollyomormon Jul 8, 2008 12:14 PM

                Great rec molly! I think the OP would love Hinano.

              3. n
                nosh RE: Walshky May 20, 2008 02:16 PM

                If the burger is more important than the beer try Philly West, on the east side of Westwood Blvd. just south of Santa Monica Blvd. A divy dark bar with a few beers on tap and several more bottled, but surprisingly good food. Very good cheesesteak, which was my favorite until I discovered the char-grilled oblong burger, served on the cheesesteak roll with grilled onions. Only about $6 for a half-pound of juicy drippy messy goodness. There is free parking in the shared lot in the rear, a definite plus in Westwood.

                1. j
                  Juji RE: Walshky May 20, 2008 02:17 PM

                  I haven't been, but I hear Tompkins Square at Lincoln and Manchester has a wonderful burger.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Juji
                    Jeryy RE: Juji May 20, 2008 04:19 PM

                    My vote goes to the S.F. Saloon on Pico near Gateway and Barrington. Do a Chowhound search on them. And yes, I've been to PJ Clarke's - you can't duplicate the atmosphere here in sunny California but the S.F. Saloon is a sort of laid-back equivalent. And you don't have far to drive!

                    And there's also The Shack - with two locations - one in Santa Monica, the other in Playa Del Rey. Also recommended.

                  2. Foodandwine RE: Walshky Jun 6, 2008 05:00 PM

                    I have the answer for you. The Richmond Bar and Grill in El Segundo. You have to check this place out. Great Burgers, Great Beer, no fuss.. Home made chips too.. BTW I use to go to PJ's when I lived in NYC loved it..

                    Richmond Bar & Grill
                    145 Richmond St, El Segundo, CA 90245

                    1. c
                      countdeville RE: Walshky Jun 6, 2008 05:48 PM

                      I'm a Corner Bistro gal (West Village), personally, but I feel your pain in looking for a NYC-style beer and burger joint in LA. I've tried most of the spots that have been recommended on this board. Hinano is good, but it's basically like a beach burger. Lucky Devils is too expensive. By the time you get a burger, fries and a couple of beers (not to mention if you have to pay $10 for lot parking), you're out forty-plus bucks. The burger I had there was just eh, too. I actually enjoyed 25 Degrees in the Roosevelt. My burger was a tad overdone, but the portions and prices were spot-on. Big burger and lots of fries for eleven or so bucks. You can also park at Hollywood and Highland and get your ticket validated at one of the shops in there. I like HMS Bounty in K-town. Good burger. Divey bar. Strong drinks. Also, in Toluca Lake there's a spot called Timmy Nolan's. Good burger. Seriously cold Guinness (which is the way I like it). Mary and Robb's in Westwood has a good burger, but I don't believe they have beer. It's a little geriatric, too.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: countdeville
                        burntwater RE: countdeville Jun 6, 2008 07:32 PM

                        Ha ha, I asked where to get a burger when I was In NYC and I was sent to Corner Bistro. When I was asked how it was I replied it reminds of the city version of a Hinano Burger.

                        1. re: countdeville
                          Jeryy RE: countdeville Jun 6, 2008 11:30 PM

                          Always loved the Corner Bistro too - defines the genre. But try SF Saloon - closest I've come in LA. Second choice - The Shack on Wilshire or Playa. Too beachy in Playa though.

                        2. Kate is always hungry RE: Walshky Jun 6, 2008 06:50 PM

                          My favorite hamburgers in your neck of the woods: San Francisco Saloon and RAE'S on Pico. A regular burger at Rae's, flame broiled was $3.00 last time I was there earlier this year.

                          1. ipsedixit RE: Walshky Jun 6, 2008 11:40 PM

                            Hamburger Hamlet?


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              larud9233 RE: ipsedixit Jun 19, 2008 06:53 PM


                            2. o
                              omakase RE: Walshky Jun 7, 2008 12:01 AM

                              I've always liked the burger and beer at The Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill located in the San Fernando Valley in a strip mall. It may be a little hard to find for first timers, but don't give up. The burger is way above average.

                              Pineapple Hill Saloon And Grill
                              4454 Van Nuys Blvd.
                              Sherman Oaks

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: omakase
                                Mikale RE: omakase Jun 19, 2008 05:37 PM

                                only problem i find at Pineapple is their beer selection blows. only bottles with a crappy selection.

                              2. c
                                cls RE: Walshky Jun 19, 2008 08:32 PM

                                You can get the complete down and dirty experience at The Bucket in Eagle Rock.

                                1. Will Owen RE: Walshky Jun 20, 2008 11:28 AM

                                  Given your parameters, I'd have gone with the Wild Hare in Highland Park, but that got killed off and replaced with a prefabricated, preprogrammed Yupster joint, so the hell with them. I'd say the Redwood Lounge would be my first choice among the current crop. While you could get good burgers and good beer cheaper in plenty of LA diners, that laid-back-in-a-booth, strictly-urban experience I think you're looking for is inimical to bright lights and great big windows. The Redwood has no windows at all, low lights, red vinyl booths, and a damned good burger for about twelve bucks with fries. I'm assuming the beer's all OK; I don't drink it anymore, but the beer-drinkers I've been there with had no complaints.

                                  The Redwood Bar and Grill
                                  316 W. 2nd Street
                                  Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Will Owen
                                    rednyellow RE: Will Owen Jul 3, 2008 08:06 PM

                                    Redwood is great. aren't the booths white?

                                  2. j
                                    jgsamuels RE: Walshky Jul 2, 2008 05:30 PM

                                    Mo's in Burbank (right across from the Bob's Big Boy, near the Burbank-Toluca Lake border) has outstanding burgers, and is one of the more underappreciated places in town. A lot of other great choices on the menu besides burgers, by the way. (Here's a link to their dinner menu -- http://www.eatatmos.com/dinner4.htm). As for tap beers, they have a number but nothing as exotic or plentiful as Father's Office. Still, enough good choices to wash down your burger or whatever else you order.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jgsamuels
                                      soccerandlost RE: jgsamuels Jul 5, 2008 09:22 PM

                                      Good call. I love Mo's burgers, the topping and side bar, and of course their curly fries. For those who are trying to be more figure-conscious, they have some outstanding salads too.

                                    2. b
                                      big mouth RE: Walshky Jul 2, 2008 10:22 PM

                                      Taylor's on 8th St in downtown LA is old school. It's dark, they pour good drinks and they use the steak trimmings for all their burgers. I found this on a "Hamburger Tour" with some coworkers a few years back.

                                      1. p
                                        PandanExpress RE: Walshky Jul 3, 2008 12:16 PM

                                        Maybe this is a little too hipster, but I really enjoyed the burger at Nook on Santa Monica. I rank it above the FO burger because I can actually taste the delicious meat without that overbearing blue-cheese sauce. Nook also has a decent selection of beers, I believe. It certainly is dark and small, but the frill is that the burger is served on focaccia instead of a regular burger bun, but it still tasted good.

                                        1. d
                                          Diana RE: Walshky Jul 3, 2008 12:31 PM

                                          Boneyard Bistro. Get The classic, the OMG or the Stinkey-or any burger he has!. One of the best beer selections, too!


                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Diana
                                            countdeville RE: Diana Jul 3, 2008 03:32 PM

                                            Those burger prices at Boneyard Bistro are ridiculous. What's great about the NYC burger joints like PJ Clarke's, JG Melon and Corner Bistro (the love of my life) is that you can while away a cold Sunday afternoon, drinking beers and eating cheeseburgers and fries to your heart's content without spending more than $40. I'd say that same experience at Boneyard Bistro would run you well over a hundred bucks. You just can't argue with a $6.50 bacon cheeseburger (Bistro burger) and $2.50 mugs of frosty McSorleys.

                                            1. re: countdeville
                                              Diana RE: countdeville Jul 4, 2008 07:40 AM

                                              then again, maybe the Boneyard Bistro Burger will blow the others outta the water? I don't know, you haven't tasted them. They use better beef (wagyu) and other toppings. Sorta the ame argument people on here use for dropping a money bomb at Mozza for a dang pizza.

                                              I can argue if I want, Nyah. I've never been to new York, so I shall have to argue having never tasted that food.

                                              You drink frosty beer on a COLD sunday? eek!? Perish the thought! I like to TASTE my brews!
                                              Go try Boneyard, just once, where the beer is treated with respect for the brewer and ingredients and served at proper temperature for each brew, and where the food'll make you swoon.

                                              1. re: Diana
                                                PlatypusJ RE: Diana Jul 8, 2008 12:06 PM

                                                The Boneyard Bistro is great, but it's exactly what the OP doesn't want, i.e., "amazingly simple burgers" with "no frills" and "no Kobe" (aka wagyu).

                                              2. re: countdeville
                                                Akitist RE: countdeville Jul 4, 2008 08:47 AM

                                                So that would be 4 burgers (with fries) and beers at the Corner Bistro? How big are those burgers, anyhow?

                                                1. re: Akitist
                                                  The Chowhound Team RE: Akitist Jul 4, 2008 09:25 AM

                                                  Folks, if you want to get into more detailed discussion of New York restaurants, please start a new thread over on the appropriate New York area board rather than continuing here. Thanks!

                                            2. lilbil RE: Walshky Jul 5, 2008 07:49 PM

                                              Just wanted to give a shoutout to the burger at Billingsley's (on Pico, just W of Sawtelle). Their 1/2lb burger is $10, comes with crispy shoestrings, and is consistently great. Their beer selection won't impress FO-type snobs but they've got a full bar and great blue hair charm (I'm in my 30s but always have a blast chatting up the oldies-but-goodies).

                                              1. a
                                                antonwebern RE: Walshky Jul 11, 2008 07:13 PM

                                                Why hasnt anyone mentioned 101 Coffee Shop in the best western on franklin and gower? Hipster-dom aside (and, i suppose, lack of draft beer aside), they have really tasty burgers and a decent selection of bottles (anchor steam, newcastle, sierra nevada ...). Though not totally corner bistro speed, i think it fulfills the request. No kobe, and for all the frills and BS it COULD have in POTENTIAL, it doesnt.

                                                Hinano is pretty solid as well but I find their sauce to be a little In'n'out-y.

                                                1. Johnny Pastrami RE: Walshky Jul 13, 2008 08:22 AM

                                                  Not knowing what PJ Clark's atmosphere is like, I will recommend Ye Rustic Inn's Myrtle Burger. Great tasting burger, lots of beers on tap, but hipster-a-go-go all the way. Never been to Father's Office to compare the doochiness factor.

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