Securing a shuffleboard spot might take a 6 AM wake up.
Los Angeles could do with a few more shoebox-sized dive bars, Culver City no stranger to small footprint enclaves like the nearby Cinema Bar. But Cozy Inn hits a little different, a wood panel-lined rectangle of a space that mercifully opens at 6 AM and does so with what feels almost like Midwestern dive bar charm that fits the no-frills atmosphere.
Opened during the 1970s, Cozy Inn has benefited from stable family ownership since the 1990s, the bar decorations one sign of the only slight changes that have occurred during that time. Los Angeles dive bars can sometimes veer toward lounge-like atmospheres with a minimalist approach to wall décor, but not so at Cozy Inn, where framed photos of celebrities (often mugshots) mingle with neon beer signs and old magazine articles throughout the space. Fishing is well-represented here, from a massive, mounted fish up front to numerous photos of fishermen and their hauls.
Parking is always an important factor when it comes to Los Angeles dive bars and Cozy Inn thankfully hosts its own spacious lot for off-street parking at all hours of the day. The parking area sits under one of many murals that surround the Cozy Inn building, the bar’s marquee activity, shuffleboard, featured prominently among the description of the amenities inside (tv, sports, pool tables). Around the corner, another simpler mural portrays the name “Cozy Inn” while a red, neon-topped sign similarly proclaims the name of the bar alongside a dive bar sign’s favorite component, the martini glass.
Aside from the early opening time, the Cozy Inn calling card is no doubt the well-kept shuffleboard that sits in the middle of the Los Angeles dive bar. The Budweiser racing car pool table light just behind the shuffleboard provides another strong visual anchor, but crowds assemble to take advantage of the shuffleboard table on a regular basis. It would not be surprising to see players dot both sides of the table shortly after 6 AM’s opening time. Ivy covers Cozy Inn’s primary exterior wall, contrasting the flat gray paint that surrounds the structure.
The Cozy Inn reputation includes notoriety for strong pours, complementing the dive bar-like, moderate selection of bottled beers. Bartenders here are given a fair bit of autonomy thanks to strong leadership and good recruiting, meaning that signature shots and drinks can sometimes be offered dependent on who is working that day. The crowd can skew a little younger on weekend nights, but the heart of Cozy Inn can be found in the set of regulars drawn to the shifts of favorite bartenders during the week.
In addition to shuffleboard, an array of dive bar-friendly distractions can be found inside Cozy Inn, including darts, arcade games and a pair of pool tables. An open outdoor patio area extends the amenities with cornhole boards and ample seating across an artificial grass surface. NFL Sunday Ticket is typically offered at the Cozy Inn, providing an additional reason to stop by during football season.