The Gold Room is my favourite place for an after work cocktail. Painted a dark, matte black and nestled snug in the ghetto, the Gold Room is easy to miss. It's a little black hole that your eyes skip right over, but you should be sure to keep those eyes peeled for this fun, cheap dive bar.
The thing I like to do is go to the Gold Room when it's still early and really sunny outside. It really adds to the "I'm being swallowed into a dark pit" feeling you get when you walk inside. Because not only is the whole outside painted black, but it's super dark inside as well. When you first walk in, I can almost guarantee that your first thoughts are going to be, "Oh my God, it's so dark," and "It smells like a swimming pool in here."
Yes, it smells like a swimming pool, and the room is oddly decorated in a cosmic theme, but take a seat up by the bar, order a drink, and get some free peanuts. Or some free tacos. Yes I said free tacos.
The bartenders are all bosomy Mexican women, but my favourite is Rosalita. I don't actually know her name, but in my mind she's Rosalita and she's fantastic. (Yeah, I'm a little racist). Rosalita is older, has dyed blonde hair, and barely speaks English. But she can sure make a hell of a michelada. Which is the drink I would suggest that you, dear reader, go and get as soon as you can. I'm not going to tell you what's in it, or you wouldn't order it, but trust me it's delicious. I get mine with Bud Light, because I like my beer to taste like water, but order any kind you like and throw it in the concoction she gives you. It's delicious, filling, and will leave your lips all atingle. And it will only set you back $4.
Or, if you want to be all hipster dive bar douchebag, go ahead and order the Gold Room Special - a beer and a shot of tequila. This is also only $4.
When you're ready for a smoke, head out back to the scary little hallway, where you're sure to run into some fun characters. So far I've talked with a man who came to the Gold Room to celebrate his 70th birthday (He sung me songs in Spanish and talked about the highlights of his 70 years - graduating from Hollywood High and getting Social Security benefits); saw a skinny girl wander around and knock on various windows - I think in search of drugs; and talked with a gaggle of gay hipsters, which, to be honest, was a little weird. I feel like gay boys know better than to look gritty and poor.
And a special treat - even though the Gold Room is most definitely a dive bar, the bathrooms are clean and bright, which is more than I can say for most regular bars.
The crowd will change depending on when you go. If you go after work, you will most likely be drinking alongside older Mexican men (who may or may not strike up a friendly conversation with you). Actually, I think whenever you go you'll be drinking alongside older Mexican men. And there will always be a smattering of hipster to go around. And I recently went on a Saturday afternoon and my friend Ben looked around and said, "I didn't know the Gold Room was a gay bar." I don't know if Saturdays are normally gay days or if there was something going on that I didn't know about, but personally, I like the mix of gays and old Mexicans drinking and watching Telemundo and I Love Lucy on mute together. It gives me hope for our country.
Know before you go:
- You have to ask for the free tacos. I personally like to stick with just the free peanuts (which they will put in front of you upon arrival), but if you're a bit peckish just tell them how many you want.
- Parking can be a bit of a bitch, but there is a yellow loading only spot out front. A little secret - you can park in these spots after 6:00 pm unless the sign says otherwise. Be warned - you're only allowed to do this in the yellow loading zones. The white ones are still off limits.
Yeah, that's a homeless dude sitting out front.
The Gold Room
1558 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026-3332
Open Weekdays 11am-2am; Weekends 8am-2am