Glowing in large neon red, ‘Golden Gopher’ hangs just above a sturdy looking bouncer who blocks the door towards a dark and narrow chamber. At first glance this joint looks like an entrance to a 2 star strip club, but look further and discover one of LA Downtowner’s cherished watering holes.
This place is a step above dive bar serving the P’s of perfection - punk rock, Pacman, pool table, patio and Pelicola pizza. Order a pizza next door and they’ll deliver it piping hot straight to your lap. Black leather couches are nestled in nooks to set the scene for afterwork gossip or late night canoodling while the back alley smoking patio has enough room to steer clear of your dearest enemies.
In addition to it’s “Fonz-like” persona, Golden Gopher is a historical landmark that has been satisfying thirst since 1905. It’s one of those places that’s been around for so long, that it has beaten the system and a liquor license to prove it. Sitting pretty by the door is a liquor-to-go counter and through a 20th century loophole you can legally purchase a 6 pack of beer, mints and condoms on your way out the door. Just imagine that, righteously sinning in the name of Teddy Roosevelt.
The golden hour at the Gopher is 5-8pm during the week because $5 cocktails has never made anyone sad. This is a casual neighborhood bar with bartenders that truly remember your name and drink. Come by on a Friday night and you might just see the LADTR crew.
Janica de Guzman