Lincoln Heights Bars

Marcellino’s Cafe
2119 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90031

Has anyone been to Marcellino’s Cafe on North Broadway? All my years of living in Lincoln Heights, I’ve never dared to step foot in the place. I heard it’s a cop bar and they tend to be a bit territorial about their hangout spots. Another deterrent, they probably only serve Budweiser and other crappy bears.
A bunch of us from the local “Drinkin Heights” group once tried The Office on North Broadway but it was obvious we weren’t their desired crowd. The drink prices were astronomical, on purpose, just for us. We did get a kick out of the signs in the bathroom that warned in bilingual handwritten scrawl “No drug dealing in the restroom.” Even Bob’s Aguila Negra on Daly had more ambiance, although their advertisement of a “plush cellar” was totally misleading.
Le Blanc’s is another place I’ve been meaning to try. I’ve only been there during the day because it’s impossible to find a spot at night, it’s always packed. The draw must be “Las Chicas de Le Blanc’s”, they seem to be popular around these parts.
What is your favorite watering hole in Lincoln Heights?

Yelp guide to Nightlife in Lincoln Heights. (hate to link to Yelp but whatever)

23 thoughts on “Lincoln Heights Bars

  1. Marcelino’s a cop bar? Not the one time I visited the place during the late 1990’s, during my “down with the dregs daze”, you know the times you join “crazy mando” in another one of his alcohol fueled adventures? Well, the one time I went was memorable. They had some ladies circulate from table to table giving lap dances for a couple a bucks a pop. I saw peeps from the hood taking obvious trips to the john to powder their noses and we all got drunk. The Office definitely gives off that “strangers not welcome” vibe. Barbara’s at the Brewery was one of my favorite haunts at the turn of the century; Howard and Ian were the coolest bartenders in town and despite the likelihood you’d run into one of them dreaded scenesters, you were just as likely to run into a homies from UPS. The food was great at a decent price. They use to have these small screen video games I’d be the champ of and up on one of the walls was a gigantic pair of wings made out of aluminum cans, both objects of commerce and art now gone. It seems Howard and Ian are gone now too, replaced by some guys who are not as friendly. True Story: My homies Nelson decided to toke up out on one of Barbara’s mini patios and and was reprimanded by some suits from the assistant DA’s office eating a late dinner. The bar on Daly is a dive and proud of it while LeBlanc’s will remain for me the bar my dad use to party at in the mid 70’s, I still have a polaroid of my dad and his camaradas sipping some suds there. I also recall, as a young mocoso passing by Salon Broadway(more of a hall) and Castillo’s Den(owned by Tata still on Thomas Street with all his foster kids.) The bar by Chano’s now labeled “Azimuth”, use to be supposedly owned by MR. Whiteman who alledgedly had underworld ties which resulted in his death by explosive(Just a rumor, or urban legend?)

  2. Xicano Serg, these are the exact kinda stories I was hoping to hear, thanks for the response!

    I meant to add to my post “Please tell us all your stories even if they include five dollar lapdances by the meseritas at Hadstandts!” 🙂 Awhile back, a drunk guy at a friend’s house gave me the rundown on all the LH bars and was particularly detailed about how much girls charge in different places. Anyways, this was the 90s and I’m sure things have changed…

    I liked the old Airliner, had a memorable New Year’s Eve there with a bunch of friends and the most awesome live Cumbia band. The new Airliner, meh.

    If anyone is interested, there’s a meeting tonight of the local Drinkin Heights group (bunch of neighbors and friends who live in LH). Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll email you the secret meet-up location. 🙂

    One more thing, thanks for the info on Azymuth. Lots of us have been curious about that place forever!

  3. I also remember accompanying my dad to the Broadway Social Center near Pollo Loco(when it was a bank) back in the 70’s and I shot some pool there in the 90’s. My mom always talks about going to the Flamingo Club with my Dad on Griffin and Main Streets (there’s now a gas station there and I always recall it as such) in the early 60’s but i have yet to see any other mention of it on the few sites pertaining to LHTS history.

  4. Thanks for the afternoon pleasure reading. I live in City Terrace and am curious about any bars there that might capture my attention? The only bars I know of are the liquor stores on City Terrace Drive, about two blocks from my house. Those guys sit on the corner all afternoon and drink their Magnums/King Cobras. I’ve been known to throw back a 40oz of Mickey’s on a hot summers day; cooled off in tightly rolled brown paper bag, but not really interested in drinking in a parking lot anymore. I prefer my porch instead.

  5. Chimatli, I agree with you about the Airliner, it’s just not the same place I remember. My Father used to hang out there in the 40’s and 50’s and in fact was supposed to be the best softball pitcher ever in Lincoln Hts and was sponsored by the old Dago’s who used to run the place, they were all heavy heavy gambler’s.
    I used to hang out there back in the day too when “Horseface” ran the Airliner. It used to be the hangout for all the “made men” from the Heights and was a classy joint.
    The Office was a hang out too, it was owned by an old friend of mine and his family. I went to Sacred Heart elementary with Ray Perez and he was the bartender there (and bookie), who always had the place jumping.
    When I was a kid of 9 or 10 I sold newspapers on North Broadway and was allowed to sell my papers in the bars then. It was jumping with bars all along N Broadway. DeBarry’s, Le Blancs, Red’s, Airliner, the bar on N Broadway and Hancock was the place the Mexicana Lesbians drank, I never went in there much because those butch Klondikes were always pissed off and would run me out.
    There was a bar on Pasadena Ave and Ave 31 called “The Cozy Corner” and it had live music and was packed all the time. I worked at the Barbara Ann Bakery for a while with my Father and after work we would all go in there because a lot of the chicks from Cannon Electric hung out there. The bartender was a famous boxer from Flats who fought for the Middleweight Championship title, he was a great guy named Ramon Fuentes. One night almost at closing there was a fine looking lady who had been playing the same song on the jukebox all night. I’ll never forget, she was playing James Brown’s version of “Night Train”. She was dancing like crazy and then she started to do a strip tease. Ramon and all the guys in there were drooling as she was throwing her clothes all over the dance floor, finally Ramon looks around and tells one of the guys, “Alright close the door and lock it”. Good times.
    Also I remember in the 60’s and 70’s “The Sportsman” on North Broadway was run by the Mexican Mafia who also had all thier ex pinto homies living in the Apts upstairs. Lots of action in that place then.

  6. Also if anyone’s interested, one of the remaining authentic neighborhood bars left, where a lot of the old Lincoln Hts guys and local Chicano’s from Highland Park hang is Dusty’s on York near Ave 64. It can get rough sometimes but is usually a lot of fun. They have a great jukebox there and the beer is cold and cheap.
    I had a friend from Lincoln Hts (Joe Holguin aka Joe the Barber, now deceased), whose shop was in York Square.
    He had a client and friend who was gay, and I mean queen type gay. His name was Tony but was known by all as Tonya. A funny good guy. One time I was at Dusty’s with Joe and friends and Tonya was there also. A rough looking cholo type construction worker was there and he and TOnya were really chatting it up, playing pool all night together, hmmmm?
    Well a few days later I was at Joe’s barber shop and in walks TOnya. Joe asks him about the construction worker who was hitting on him, TOnya smirks, “Ai tu cabrones!” That guy was wierd he says, Tonya tells us “ese pinche puto asked me to go into the bathroom with him, and when we got inside he locked the door, bent over and pulled down his pants, “I told him “No you! Me puto!
    We laughed for an hour, so hard tears were coming down our cheeks.

  7. Oooh, I love all of you cholos! Ooops, I wasn’t supposed to say anything. It’s forbidden by your homies. That’s right. Sorry. Anyhow, smooches my little Don Juan. Anytime you want to meet again.

  8. Hey Chimatli I was just talking to my Father about your post and he got a kick out of it. He reminded me that another bar was “Big Steves” and he also mentioned that the Italians (who at one time owned all the bars on N Broadway) use to have a “Horse racing book Association” that included all the bars in Lincoln Hts. He laughed about the Airliner and others that are now “gentrified” and said all the old Mafia guys are probably rolling over in thier graves.
    He reminded me also of the story of Vince De Marzo who owned the old De Marzo flower shop that was next door to Le Blancs. De Marzo lost a fortune and two flower shops (the other was on Valley Blvd and Fremont in Alhambra) at the continuous running Italian Poker Game (All Italia), that was located in the basement of Le Blancs Bar which was owned by the Terzio family.
    A little history for you.

  9. I went to Le Blancs about three years ago with my cousin. Apparently they were having a wet t-shirt contest that night.She came in second or third place. Her pic is still up there… We sat at the bar and this man that looked like Vicente Fernandez bought us drinks.. My cousin was a lil dissapointed because she said this meant we had to dance with the man. I said no I ain’t dancing with him.. After they danced he said ” sigues tu” I told him no thank you and he said “Do you know who I am? I have money and noboby turns me down”( flashing around his gold) Before I could answer him my cousin said we had to leave…Wierd night..

    The Airliner is a bar that I used to go to alot.I haven’t been there in a while but I get treated like a VIP there…I know some of the owners and employees there…I really like when they have rockabilly events there..
    They also have been bringing back alot of old school singers like Stacy Q, Mellow man Ace, Kid Frost,Tapps,and even the cranberries were once there.

    My grandpa was a regular at The Airliner back in the day.. My mom used to go drag him out of there…Funny how I go to the same spot as he did…

    As for Aguila Negro or negra, One year I came out of Martinez and Martinez income tax service and I was walking to my car when one of the old perves came up to me and stuck his penis out at me. He just stood there touching it and mumbling something. I panicked and went to the pay phone and called 911.He was arrested and I never went back to M & M…

    Also I always got tempted to take the Jack Daniels umbrellas that stood outside from Marcelino’s… But I don’t think they still have them.

  10. i always see these on my way to to work a la lincoln high, i dont know they kinda look scary lol .

  11. IM THE SAME WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY in all my 29 years living in LHTS & everytime I passed by I wanted to stop by.

    I also wanted to stop by the billiards (NEVER stepped foot in there) to see how it is, also to see if we can sneak booze in there as those in Highland Park.

    The same goes for the billiards on Griffin/Main.

    I actually went to Le Blanc’s once in 08… haha total paisa stats.

    Then, I’ve gone to the office, definite older crowd of LHTS, friends and acquaintances of my older siblings…
    but I’m also acquainted with also.

    I wonder what California’s is like right there on Pasadena & 20? is it 20? Most likely P A I S A ! ! !

  12. DQ, Thanks for all the history and info on LHTS and HP bars. I’ve always wondered about Dusty’s and the Cave in HP. I usually go to Mr.T Bowl’s or the American Legion for a drink in HP. The California bar was mentioned in the L.A.Times homicide blog when they found some poor guys body out on the sidewalk there, the blog mentioned the bar being of ill repute. I also recall a dismembered body being found in a L.A. maintenance yard not to far away from that bar. So something tells me to steer clear of that place. I actually went to the Sportsman’s Bar to have a couple of beers after my graduation from CSUN back in 2000. We snuck in a couple of more beers after scarfing up and downing some pitchers at Acapulco’s in Northridge. We got off the five freeway coming back to the heights and decided to give it a try. It was aight but we were burned out by the time we got there,so we didn’t stay too long. That pool place on Griffin and Main I kind of look at with regret; my pops(R.I.P.) suggested we go there to shoot some pool and I’d say no because I wasn’t too impressed with it the one time I went there with friends. I should have taken him up on his offer. Anyone try La Zona Rosa over on Mission and Chavez? I did, real paisa’s paradise, so I just had a beer and jammed, not really my crowd but I wasn’t mad dogged or anything like that. Debarry’s, that name rings a bell…where was it actually located? Also, DQ where exactly was that lezbo bar on Hancock? I recall the Chevron gas station(where McDonald’s is now), Shop wise and a El tepeyac where the Hollywood Video and Subway are now and on the corner where there is now a laundrymat and AutoZone,an empty lot stood near a red bricked apartment building along with the o.g. Torres Barber shop and Azteca tax center and a furniture store was there too. Man I am having a massive flashback about Broadway…D.Q. remember all the houses that used to be on Broadway? All knocked down and occupying ONLY our memories. It would be great if photos of LHTS(especially Broadway) OF THE PRE-1980’S WERE POSTED on this great Eastside site.

  13. XicanoSerg, the Womans Gay bar was on the southwest corner of Hancock and N Broadway it kind of shared the lot with the old Hancock Mkt if I recall correctly. It was kind of scary to us as kids because the patrons were very butch Mexicana’s and they were always pissed off when seen walking down Broadway.
    DeBarry’s was on N Broadway between Johnson and N.Broadway, and was a funky,wild, place usually.
    You also mention the Club California on Pasadena Ave which was a Paisa “Chero” joint that had dancing. It was one of those places where the Paisa’s would get all dressed up in thier “goros Texano’s, white ostrich skin bota’s, matching white belt, with a buckle the size of Rhode Island on it that featured a brahma bull or an alacran on them. Muy dandy’s!
    It was patronized by all these mainly middle aged “big women”, who would go there, dancing and hooking up with the younger Mexicano’s who were basically looking for a Motherly “Chichona” type.
    I had a Mexicano named Tomas working for me for many years and he used to crack us up when describing the place.
    “Hey Tomas how was the Club California last weekend?”
    Tomas, “Egual que siempre mano, tu sabes, tanto jale, moviendo y bailando con las troca’s ahi!”

  14. I’ve thought about stopping at the bars in LHs at one time or another. I pass by them all the time when running errands and going to and from work. One thing stops me: if I was a member of the dominant ethnic group in the area and I saw me walk into one of the neighborhood bars around here, I’d want to kick my ass.

  15. Message for Deborah (My dad was a bartender at the “Cozy Corner” in Lincoln Heights in th 1950-and 60’s.) Please email me I might know you. Did you haappen to have a sister named Denise?

  16. @Deborah, email does not show on this comment page. respond here and I will get it to you.

  17. Hey Carlos, I spent plenty of time in the Cozy Corner when I worked at Barbara Ann in the early sixties. My Dad and all his buddy’s from BBB were there a lot. I recall when Ramon Fuentes was bartender and Joe Houston used to play there at times.
    Did you ever run into Chuck Trujillo, Ernie Rodriguez, Johnny Bonfiglio, Jose Luis Cotero or Mario Trigo or Tony Gasparo , guys from Barbara Ann Bakery swing shift?
    Great times at the old Cozy Corner, see my post above for some of the scandalous items that happened there.

  18. Hi Don, actually I was too young to go into a bar. But my family was from the neighborhood. We lived on ave 33. I am pretty sure this was the same bar and d o remember Barbra Ann Bakery. My Dad use to go there in the 50’s with his friends from work usually on a friday. He worked for Price and Phister, a plumbing company. I think I know the Deborah who put a comment on this blog. One last thing is my Dad past away in 1959. I beleive he died at the cozy corner. He may have over excerted himself and died of a heart attack.

  19. Invented in the 1880s by Henry C. Ramos, in his bar at Meyer\’s Restaurant, this is one of New Orleans\’ most famous drinks. The secret of its flavor and texture is orange flower water and egg whites.

    2 ounces gin (Old Tom gin if you can get it)
    1/2 ounce lemon juice
    1/2 ounce lime juice
    1 ounce simple syrup
    3 small dashes orange flower water
    2 drops vanilla extract (very optional; there\’s some controversy over whether this was ever really used, but it does add a nice touch)
    1 ounce cream
    1 egg white
    Soda water

    Saz!! A Ramos Gin Fizz! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *