Better Late: LA's After-Hours Eateries

24hoursIt’s Friday night. 1 AM. You’re leaving the club/the show/the party, and for whatever reason, your night hasn’t turned out the way it was supposed to. Maybe you were groped one too many times, when all you wanted to do was have a fun, hassle-free night out with your homegirls. Maybe said homegirls found beaus for the evening and have left you to find your own way home (in which case, perhaps you should think about reevaluating those friendships). Maybe your feet are staging an all-out revolt against your three-hundred-dollar heels. We think that last scenario might possibly be the worst one of all.

There are few things that can salvage a ruined night, but you can always count on food, especially the late-night variety, to make things a little bit better. Even if your night was somehow perfect, chances are you’re still going to want to celebrate with a little late-night nosh. Here’s a list of after-hours establishments that will be sure to satisfy your cravings and guarantee your evening ends on the best note possible:

Garage Pizza, 4339 1/2 West Sunset Boulevard

There’s not much that Los Angeles doesn’t have to offer in terms of food. When it comes to pizza, however, there’s just no denying it: New York and Chicago take the pie. Garage Pizza, which doesn’t actually operate out of a garage, would probably make the Empire State proud with its New York-style pizza. Open till 3 A.M. every single day, this cozy little hole-in-the-wall serves up slices of deliciousness on thin, hand-tossed crusts till the wee hours of the morning. You can choose from their humongous 18” pre-designed pizzas (try the Gran Torino!), or grab a “plain” slice and pile it high with toppings of your own choosing. It’s the perfect place to check out when you’re in the mood for a bite of the Big Apple.

Won Kok Restaurant, 210 Alpine Street

Located smack-dab in the heart of Los Angeles’ Chinatown, Won Kok is open until 3:30 A.M. While this joint won’t be winning any interior designs awards any time soon, let’s be honest: when you’re drunk and in the mood for Chinese at 2:30 in the morning, are you really going to cast a discerning eye at the decor? And any place that serves delicious and cheap dumplings (lots of items are 50 cents a piece!) on any other day than Sunday gets a pass in our book. You can’t go wrong with the shu mai (pork dumplings) and the lo mai gai (steamed sticky rice with chicken wrapped in lotus leaves). You can’t go wrong with dim sum at all, actually. If you’re not in the mood for dim sum, try any of their traditional, delicious and cheap Chinese dishes. Be forewarned: cash only under $10.

Swingers, 8020 Beverly Boulevard (Los Angeles) or 802 Broadway Street (Santa Monica)

In the mood for good, ol’ fashioned greasy-spoon-type grub but can’t stomach the thought of subjecting your stomach to IHOP or Denny’s? Looks like you need to head over to Swingers Diner, with locations in Santa Monica and Hollywood that are open until 3 A.M. on the weekends (we’re starting to see a pattern here). The rock ‘n’  roll memorabilia strewn all over the place gives this joint a deliberate old-school feel. The food is delicious, and the waiters have more energy and grace dealing with rowdy club-goers at two in the morning than should be humanly possible. And for those of you who don’t want to sacrifice nutrition for the sake of satisfying your “drunchies,” don’t you fret- Swingers offers organic eggs, gluten-free and multi-grain bread and pancakes, antibiotic-free meat, and quinoa. We bet IHOP hasn’t even heard of quinoa, let alone tried to incorporate it into its menu.

Izzy’s Deli, 1433 Wilshire Boulevard

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love the idea of eating an omelette at 3 A.M., and those who don’t. If you think breakfast should only be eaten after you’ve woken up for the day, but you find yourself starving and the morning’s miles away, head to Izzy’s Deli in Santa Monica. This 24-hour Jewish-style deli does serve breakfast, but that’s not its main attraction like so many other diners- they’ve got an exhaustive menu featuring nearly anything you could want. In the mood for grilled salmon at four in the morning? Or maybe all that dancing at the club has worked up your appetite for a quiche. Don’t trip, boo- Izzy’s got you covered. Izzy’s has also got loads of different sandwiches, soups, burgers, and salads to choose from- you think it, they’ll probably have it. Try Rabbi Reuben’s Reuben with corned beef, or one of their delectable “super productions,” and you’ll be saying “Geshmak!” the moment it hits your lips.

Original Pantry Cafe, 877 South Figueroa Street

Simply known as “The Pantry” by locals, this historic coffee shop/restaurant has supposedly never closed and never been without a customer since the day it first opened its doors in 1924. Located in close proximity to LA Live in Downtown’s South Park District, The Pantry is open, if you haven’t guessed by now, 24 hours a day. They’re particularly famous for their coleslaw, which they will serve you even if you order a plate of pancakes. Their selection isn’t too large, but what they do serve they serve extremely well- their Philly cheesesteak sandwich is especially popular and tasty. The Pantry also has a special for every day of the week that isn’t on the standard menu, so make sure to ask before you order. Warning 1: seeing as how this place is located so close to attractions like the Staples Center, this place can get pretty poppin’. A.K.A. you might have to wait a bit to get seated. Warning 2: cash only. Hit the ATM up before you make your way over to this spot. Warnings aside, do check this place out, even if it’s just to eat at a restaurant that the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart used to frequent.

There you have it, my hungry homies! Feel free to comment below if you know of any other after-hours eateries that are worth checking out.

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