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Where are the worst cocktails in LA?

I want to show a visiting friend the very worst and the very best cocktails in LA. I have lots of suggestions for the best, but where (besides chain restaurants—that's cheating) do I get the worst?

Put another way, where's the hardest place in LA to get a buzz on?

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  1. Would assume you're looking for a place that attempts to have good cocktails but actually doesn't? If so, must say I was very unimpressed with the Roger Room. If you're just looking for the outright worst, hit Hollywood Blvd on Saturday night, find some trendy club and go for the hottest bartender you can find.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Discokill

      Interesting, for us Roger Room has some of the better cocktail options in LA

    2. silly question?
      but why would u waste money on the "worst"
      worst meaning they are watered down or just badly prepared?
      or the worst dive bar in LA?

      1. Antonios on Melrose has drinks you won't be able to finish.

        1. Gotta go with those places w/o licenses that serve soju (wife's suggestion). Buddha's Belly comes to mind, but there are many others. Wine margarita is another option, but there are enough terrible margaritas out there that that category shouldn't be too hard.

          Seems like I've sent back more watery vodka tonics, lawn-clipping mojitos, and neon mysteries than I can remember, but none come to mind. The other subcategory is the too-strong drink, and Columbo's in Eagle Rock gets my vote.

          6 Replies
          1. re: cant talk...eating

            I've been meaning to go to Columbo's. How is the food?

            1. re: reality check

              Dunno. Only been there for the booze.

              Das - maybe one of those old-school Chinese Restaurants on the west side would be worth a try. I think Shanghai Grill on Wilshire in Beverly Hills had pretty weak cocktails. They have a little bar in front as you walk in.

              Oh I know - does anywhere in town have one of those frozen margarita/daquiri machines? Like at a swim-up bar in Mexico or something. That would be awesome. "CHHHhhhh - order up!"

              1. re: cant talk...eating

                Columbo's food is quite good, in the red-sauce-and-steaks category. This is the place whose owner was the villain in "The Big Night", or might as well be. Live music in the dining room on Fridays, or used to be. As for the drinks, all I get there are martinis and wine, so I wouldn't know about too-strong.

                As for those wine "margaritas", we've only come close to experiencing any - were about to order dinner at a place up on Washington in Pasadena, and asked about the margaritas. As soon as we learned the truth, we got up and went elsewhere.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Thanks. I heard they went through an ownership change a couple years ago, and the food wasn't as good as before. I may go there late next week.

            2. re: cant talk...eating

              I seem to recall seeing wine margaritas on the menu at Gardens of Taxco... you can get a double "worst of" bang for your buck that way :)

              I keed, I keed.... I actually do have a soft spot for Taxco, for reasons I just don't feel like getting in to right now.

              Mr Taster

              Gardens of Taxco
              1113 N. Harper Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90046

              1. re: Mr Taster

                Those singing Mariachi bands would lead anyone to drink ... just about anything.

            3. While I'm sure there's worse, I've had pretty weak and insipid cocktails at the Cheesecake Factory, specifically the location at the Grove.

              EDIT: Oops, just noticed that chains are disallowed. Please ignore.

              1. Depending on your frame of mind, Bahooka can have either some of the best cocktails in town, or some of the worst. (About the food there, though ... well, there's no such ambiguity)

                2 Replies
                1. re: Bradbury

                  Having read today's LA Times article on Huntington Beach nightlife, I think we can safely add to the "worst" list just about any place within a couple blocks of Main St. and PCH, where one can:

                  "...suck down giant plastic syringes loaded with jello shots or sip from 84-ounce bright pink fishbowls full of "Donkey Punch," a potent blend of peach schnapps, vodka and fruit juices"

                  and assemble such fine combinations as:

                  "A Mind Eraser. Two shots of Jack Daniels. A Guinness and a Pabst Blue Ribbon. Two Irish Car Bombs, then three Bud Lights"

                  Oliver Reed wept.

                  1. re: Bradbury

                    I vacillate on whether I consider the cocktails at Bahooka to be good or bad.

                    On the one hand, the cocktails are generally either too sweet, or the equivalent of sipping fruit colored rubbing alcohol.

                    But, that said, without them flaming cocktails, the food would be completely unbearable. Even with the cocktails, they're barely what UNICEF might consider "edible nourishment".

                  2. You might be able to accomplish both missions at the Tiki-Ti in Silver Lake...some of the most gawdawful concoctions I've ever witnessed (the Stealth, or the Dr.Funk for example), while others are quite good. Uga-Booga!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Local

                      Tiki-ti is interesting...we find the Bloody Mary and Mai Tai to be outstanding....some of the more expensive drinks aren't worth the extra 5 or 6 bucks, IMO.

                      1. re: running pig

                        No question that some are very good...i don't know what possessed my friend to get the Dr. Funk which has pastis or something licorice-flavored that is equally vile...some of Tiki-ti's drinks make you wonder if the bartender's are competing for the title of Most Disturbing Lava Lamp.

                      2. re: Local

                        The Mai Tai and the Dark and Stormy are certainly solid. The one - not sure of the name - where everyone chants Uga Buga! when it's being mixed is pretty tasty, too. The drinks are pricey though. It's the kind of place that you stop in for one, or two at the most. Your liver will go AWOL if you opt for a third.

                      3. the last time i went to the polo lounge at the beverly hills hotel, the cocktails were radiantly bad.

                        1. I nominate Club Tee Gee in Atwater. It's a wonderful dive bar complete with colorful locals and a decent jukebox, but the drinks are quite terrible.

                          Club Tee Gee
                          3210 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: scurvy

                            I'd have to second Tee Gee. There is no gun and drinks are mixed from flat Canada Dry bottles on the bar. If the old dude with glasses is 'tending, you'll also wait a good long time - enough to sober up between drinks. There are also no taps at Tee Gee - something I see more often in LA than in other major cities. When I'm there, I stick with ice cold bottles of Grolsch and Jim Beam neat.

                            1. re: JeMange

                              But I gotta give Tee Gee +1 for its old school charm. I don't think it's a bad place at all to drink away an evening.

                              Club Tee Gee
                              3210 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

                              1. re: emosbaugh

                                Don't get me wrong emosbaugh, I like the place, I'd just avoid ordering an old fashioned there.

                          2. Sharkees in Manhattan Beach for the win!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: EricDC

                              I believe Sharkeez in MB is closed pending a reopening across the street.

                              1. re: EricDC

                                That's what came to mind. If the one in MB is closed, the one in Hermosa Beach should fit the bill.

                                1. re: EricDC

                                  Agreed. Horrible margaritas. I mean I like the place - was there the night they opened. But (except for those seeking the intentionally bad) order beer for God's sake.

                                2. despite the excellent food, gloria's (near palms/culver-ish area) has awful wine margaritas. you'd have to drink a gallon of that stuff to feel anything.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. In My opionion (which is always right), the worst I have had for poorly executed, overpriced, and not strong enough to get any kind of buzz, is probably at the rooftop bar at the Thompson hotel in BH. would never go again, despite the views. Most SBE restaurants make pretty good cocktails but way too small and too pricey, so still hard to get a buzz, although they use fresh juices which taste great. Dont go to katsuya its complete shit. Cleo is great. Some of the best are:
                                    Westwide Tavern - get the moscow mule its the best in LA TRUST ME
                                    Bazaar at SLS Hotel - Ultimate gin and tonic and the new style martini - pricey but awesome
                                    Tasting Kitchen - any drink is awesome I love the bravehart (scotch and honey and ginger)
                                    A frame - great sazerac

                                    Tasting Kitchen
                                    1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

                                    1. Ole Tapas Bar in Studio City. I am not convinced they put any alcohol at all in their mixed drinks. Their food isn't that great, either.

                                      Ole Tapas Bar
                                      13251 Ventura Blvd Ste A, Studio City, CA 91604

                                      1. I am reminded that the margaritas at El Arco Iris contain undetectable amounts of tequila, although they are both tiny and expensive.

                                        Also, I just remembered: the wine-based margs we managed to avoid were at the Mijares branch on Washington. The ones at the original, on Pasadena Avenue, were almost good enough to justify a trip there, and we (reasonably, I think) expected the same here. Wrong again …

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          That's odd, because the margs at Yxta are (or were) really good.

                                        2. Irish Times on Motor in West LA ponies up the most horrid drinks I've ever had. You can get your buzz on, but you might gag in the process.

                                          The Irish Times
                                          3267 Motor Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                          1. Five O Four on Hollywood.

                                            There is a reason all the Chiller's went out of business.

                                            1. Das, have you settled on where you're going for the best? I'd love to know where you think the best cocktails in LA are.

                                              Edited to Add: I have had a lot of luck finding good drinks in LA. Especially with the rise of all the bars with mixologists, instead of bartenders. I can't think of any "worst" cocktail suggestions than what others have posted.