Los Angeles is a town where people work hard and play hard. But some places play really hard. And you know you've stepped into one of these bars when you feel like the entire joint, from the drunken patrons to the heavy-handed bartenders to the cheap booze itself, are all in one giant conspiracy -- to get you stupid hammered. Places where if you don't buy a drink, some random stranger is going to stumble over, throw an arm around you, and buy one for you. Places where the atmospheres are so rowdy that you're pretty much begging to be on that level -- either that or you'll soon realize it's no fun being the only sober one. So grab your drunk helmet (we just invented that) and enlist your designated driver, because here are five bars in L.A. where sobriety goes to die.
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Right in the heart of the Santa Monica drinking hub on Main Street, Circle Bar is a hot mess of ex Greek-system singles looking to get wasted and hook up. The interior has a décor that gives it a poor-man's club vibe, which is essentially what it is. Young West-siders who don't want to make the trek to Hollywood but still want to get dressed up and dance, file into the venue and post up along the, you guessed it, circular bar. If you can't take the bartender's attention away from the screams for Jäger bombs and tequila shots, just join in on one of the parties -- they'll probably be too drunk to care (this works better if you're of the female gender). The trashed exhibition of drinking and dancing heats up quickly, but luckily there's a back patio to catch some air and maybe exchange first words with the cutie you've been dancing with for the past hour.
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The Happy Ending is Hollywood's version of a sports bar; there are dozens of flat screens playing the games, but then there are things like cocktails served in fishbowls, a beer pong room, and oh yeah, a giant wheel-of-fortune style spinner determining the drink special of the hour -- the Crackhead shot is a personal favorite. Everything about Happy Ending screams, "you are not drunk enough," and for some reason, you listen. There's no way not to join the alluring sorority girls and the brawny jocks as they take down every form of 'bomb' you've ever heard of. The Happy Ending is the perfect place for those looking to skip the pretension of the Hollywood clubs and just get sloshed.
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It's tacky, it's over the top, and it's cool enough to be one of the go-to hangouts in Silver Lake. Foosball is the name of the game at Cha Cha Lounge, and hipsters pour into the little hole-in-the-wall to throw back bargain drinks and take on the challengers. Somehow, the Christmas lighting, the sombrero-strewn roof, and the abundance of deer head paintings on the walls all seem to make sense once you're drunk. Maybe that's why every single person in the joint is always so bubbly. The best part is that there's a photo booth to jump into so you'll be able remember the people you partied with the next morning. And of course, no Silver Lake hangout would be complete without an abundance of PBR.
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The Smog Cutter is a Silver Lake dive known for its blitzed karaoke sessions and its unforgiving bartenders. It's one of those bars where it isn't just your imagination -- the drink pourers really aren't letting you leave until you're stumbling. It may be slow during the week, but Thursday through Sunday sees an overload of flannel and denim as the hordes of locals descend on the one-room bar whose décor looks like it was picked out by a blind man at a flea market. Karaoke here becomes one giant drunken sing-along, and don't be surprised if you find yourself on stage after the incessant badgering by the women behind the bar.
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If you like your whiskey strong, your beers tall, and your girls in denim and boots riding mechanical bulls, then Saddle Ranch Chop House is the place for you. Smack dab on the Sunset Strip, Saddle Ranch is a raucous Texas-style western bar and the most tourist-friendly booze fest in Los Angeles. The western décor is campy but the main attraction by far is the mechanical bull, which college girls and visitors alike are lured onto by the enticing drink prizes. The motto that everything is bigger in Texas is certainly true for the drinks here, which flow in oversized portions that leave people in a stupor before they know what hit them. Saddle Ranch prides itself on the levels of debauchery that are reached inside. So grab a few drinks and watch as the limo full of newly 21-year-old UCLA girls get bucked off the bull for your entertainment.
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