Smog Cutter

Dive Bar / Karaoke Bar
Smog Cutter Characterized by cranky bartenders and a hipster clientele, the offbeat Smog Cutter is a potent mix of one part karaoke, two parts dive, and eight parts attitude. Los Angeles United States 34.0873599 -118.286437
3.6 7
Smog Cutter - Dive Bar | Karaoke Bar in Los Angeles.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Characterized by cranky bartenders and a hipster clientele, the offbeat Smog Cutter is a potent mix of one part karaoke, two parts dive, and eight parts attitude. The place is all but dead on weeknights when just a smattering... ... read full review

  • Phone:

    323-660-4626

  • Hours:

    Daily 1pm–2am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Smog Cutter Review

The Scene

Characterized by cranky bartenders and a hipster clientele, the offbeat Smog Cutter is a potent mix of one part karaoke, two parts dive, and eight parts attitude.

Characterized by cranky bartenders and a hipster clientele, the offbeat Smog Cutter is a potent mix of one part karaoke, two parts dive, and eight parts attitude.

The place is all but dead on weeknights when just a smattering of locals shows up to watch sports, but on weekends, this one-room watering hole is a drunken singing party packed to the rafters with plastered young professionals and quirky creatives.

Regulars head straight to the crowded bar to order double drinks from the dragon-lady bartenders, famous for haranguing their customers into more drinking and more singing – and for mixing drinks strong enough to ensure both of those things happen.

Although the space and décor are a rickety mishmash of flea market finds and old timbers, no one seems to mind as tipsy hipsters in their finest flannel belt out classic rock nuggets like Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” with the occasional help of the whole bar.

Those who want to lay low can hang out at the pool table to play a game, shoot the breeze, and check out the photo displays of loyal patrons taped randomly to the walls.

Kitschy and loud and completely intoxicated, there’s no doubt Smog Cutter’s oddball brand of debased fun will appeal to adventurous types and dive lovers looking for a wild and high-spirited night out.

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Tip from Jonah:

This may be a family-owned establishment, but the women who run it clearly believe in tough love! Unless you want to be snarled at all night, buy them a couple drinks, tip them well – and don’t talk back when they make you sing “Come Sail Away” by Styx.

  • Crowd

    Hipsters, artists, creative types, and young professionals, 20s to early 30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Jukebox hits include Aretha Franklin, Aerosmith, and Blind Melon. Projection screen showing sports and videos for karaoke. Pool table.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Cash only. Two-drink minimum for free karaoke.

  • Prices

    Beer $4+, wine $6+, cocktails $7+.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes: flea market chic, hoodies, flannel, vests, skinny jeans, t-shirts.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Friday and Saturday nights for the liveliest scene.

Smog Cutter User Reviews

Average rating:
Go here!
Gor G. Jun 7, 2013
Totally tops. This is one of my favorite dive bars in the city of Los Angeles (pssh, forget dive bars - it's one of my favorite bars PERIOD), and it's right around the corner from my apartment, which makes it even better. Come here on a weeknight if you really want to get in on the karaoke action. The bar stays mostly empty during the middle of the week, and so it's pretty easy to mostly monopolize the mic, and to get some one-on-one time with the crazy Thai bartenders. Be sure to tip them, though, or else they will get extra rowdy. On weekends, come to enjoy the divey atmosphere, friendly crowd, and the old Asian men who inevitably croon on the karaoke machine for most of the night. Watching them is sometimes even more fun than singing yourself. Their drinks are fairly priced, and they mix 'em STRONG. Also, don't forget to hit up the ATM before dropping by, because this place is cash-only.
An "experience" to say the least
Lauren S. Nov 29, 2012
Let's face it: most cool, eclectic bars can maintain their anonymity for only so long before people catch wind of their charm and they wind up with more drunk USC students than regulars. Smog Cutter has managed to escape this fate for wonderfully weird and awful reasons. Once rumored to be a watering hole/brothel, the "headmaster" so to speak is "Mama" a stout, over-the-hill Asian woman with absolutely no flare for customer service. And she would never care to. If she notices patrons coming in and doing karaoke (which is free) without visiting the bar, she will have no qualms about yelling over an entire crowd, demanding they order some drinks. Mind you, there's no actual stage for crooning - you just sing into a mike in the middle of the bar, which I find much less intimidating. Mama's sidekick for a while was a slight Thai girl whose name escapes me, but her antics don't. She tended to drink more than she actually served, and she would recklessly take the mike from someone's hand if she didn't like their singing. But if she liked the tune, she'd dance the night away with you. She was...simply amazing. (She disappeared from the joint, to which Mama responded "she on vacation!" We assume vacation means rehab.) But the drinks are cheap and above all, everyone comes there to have a good time. The mood is joyous, spontaneous. If you get in Mama's good graces you're set for life. I have such a fondness for Smog Cutter. And the best part is, things like Mama, her 50-something nerdy karaoke host and her drunken sidekick will protect the place from any "coolness" take-over. It truly defines the term "hidden gem".
Kitschy Alternative to Silverlake Hipster Hangout
Nicole M. Sep 19, 2012
The Echo was way too packed last Friday night, so my friends and I rolled over here to check this place out. A few of my friends had already been, but this was my first time. Didn't know what to expect at first. It's not exactly the swankiest place in the neighborhood. But I gotta say, this ended up as one of the more memorable nights I've had in LA in a long time. The crowd was cool, the drinks were (relatively) cheap, and the karaoke was HILARIOUS. I'm pretty much opposed to the idea of non-professional singers trying to sing in public, but after three or four glasses of wine, I was suddenly all in. I got almost half-way through Prince's 'Purple Rain' album before the odd little man running the whole thing pulled me off stage. We stayed till closing, then hung out on the sidewalk out front chatting with a few of the regulars (look for Gary and his insane rendition of "New York, New York" every weekend. That guy's the best!). Only downside is parking is pretty scarce, and the area can get a kinda' sketchy late at night. Other than that, I'd definitely recommend. Low-key, fun, and doesn't break the bank!
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