Hit the one-two punch with the laundromat across the street.
There are worse places for a dive bar than the windowless corner of a Los Feliz strip mall, a suitably nondescript home for long-standing Los Angeles dive bar Drawing Room. In a city filled with pretentious, manufactured, upscale drinking options, Drawing Room provides a nice counterpunch, a cash-only, dimly-lit neighborhood spot in the vein of a traditional Midwestern-style dive bar (albeit with a massive dragon painted along its interior walls).
Drawing Room’s reputation is a bit checkered, nearby business owners periodically upset about the bar’s historically long running hours and post-intoxication clientele. A 2019 assault in the parking lot and a more recent temporary suspension of the dive bar’s liquor license are enough to either scare off a visit, add to the bar’s divey reputation or both. What cannot be denied though is the dive bar credibility both inside and out of Drawing Room, the exterior little more than a brick wall, yellow sign and front door. By dive bar standards the sign is well polished, the bright yellow backdrop echoed by a smaller sign closer to the door that reads “Cocktails.”
Thanks to a thin strip of red LED lighting along the bar and pleasantly few other light sources, everything inside Drawing Room is bathed in a red glow. The theme is played out in more than one spot here, red cushions on the bar stools pairing with red paint throughout the dive bar’s walls. The Asian heritage of Drawing Room’s ownership is reflected in the gold-painted dragon that extends across two of the bar’s walls and a few accent pieces, including a listing of Chinese zodiac signs based on year of birth as a handy guide to spark conversation.
The Drawing Room bar counter winds through the space, a rustic-looking wooden piece capped off by a circular seating area at one end to squeeze a few more stools around the rail. This isn’t the usual cluttered mess behind the bar kind of a dive bar, though a hand-painted sign depicting the name of the bar found at one of the bar is worth seeking out. The limited beer selection can be found on a peg board above the bar’s liquor bottles, everything affordable by Los Angeles standards. Specials can be found on the illuminated board near the front door, a $10 domestic beer & fireball shot pairing among the more cost-effective options.
Deep brown, almost mahogany-colored padding lines the wall behind the bar where it meets the ceiling, using the same material as the plush booths that run along Drawing Room’s opposite wall. Despite the pretty dive bar-standard setup inside Drawing Room, these booths and their supporting chairs feel downright upscale in comparison, freshly remodeled, well taken care of or both. The stucco-style ceiling is covered in red paint that again pairs well with the abundance of Drawing Room elements similarly decorated.
Drawing Room’s reputation has long included notably long hours, at one point stretching from 6 AM to 2 AM, patrons sometimes lingering at nearby businesses to get in for that first morning drink. Hours have been trimmed slightly, though conflicting sources exist. All web-based resources cite Drawing Room’s opening time at 8 AM everyday while the bar’s official Instagram account lists 9 AM. Plan accordingly and check ahead should a beer at dawn be part of your day’s itinerary.
In keeping with Drawing Room’s status as a true neighborhood dive bar, theme nights occasionally pop up, including the sometimes offered free pizza deal during Monday Night Football. But the real crowd assembles for Sunday night karaoke, regulars sitting on preferred perches long before the festivities actually commence. The Drawing Room jukebox is also worth a visit, the CD-based machine filled with eclectic offerings and more than one disk created by Drawing Room employees.