Stuck in between a non-descript CrossFit gym and a equally as non-descript Latino bar, you see a simple row of five wooden stars, mounted on the store front wall, above its doors. Walking in you are immediately met by a pool table and the feel that you have not entered an eating establishment, but made a wrong turn and somehow have been fallen upon a dive bar.
First impressions are oft-times spot on, but don't run away from this dive bar, the instant your flight instinct settles in. Looks can be deceiving and in Five Star Burgers, the interior is definitely a facade to a great burger experience, not to mention, a cool little bar spot in Downtown Los Angeles.
You come in and are met by the usual daytime bartender, Frankie, or in the afternoon/evening, Stephanie. Start out with one of their 50 beers; bottled, canned, or tap beers they have on their menu. Five Star offers a wide variety from Blue Moon to Pabst Blue Ribbon and everything in between. Ask for a bowl of roasted peanuts, in the shell, but don't throw the shells on the floor, but please use the empty bowl for your expended shells.
Five Star may be a dive bar/restaurant but they still like to keep up a tidy floor. Their mainstay and what appears to be the sole item they serve is the angus burger. The burger is a thick, 3/4 pound patty, on a great artisan bun, which by no means detracts from the meaty goodness of the burger. Your buger is made to order with a couple different selections of cheeses.
Prices are very reasonable and for beer and a burger, you are looking at about $12 to $20, depending on how many beers you tip back. During the day, Five Star has a digital jukebox, with a huge selection of music to choose from and their pool table is usually not too busy and the regulars playing there are always open to newcomers.
In the evening Five Star offers live music, with a pretty varied line up of bands playing. There is a $5 cover charge, when they schedule live music, so get there early for dinner and stay for the music which follows. Music pretty much runs along the punk/rock genre and it gets pretty loud inside, so be forewarned.
Now, the additional warnings and other liabilities I must disclose. First, the restrooms, if you are a stickler about such things, are not as Five-Star as the name of the establishment. The men's rooms is basically a trough, with running water to be activated by the user with a lever on the urinal. I don't even know what the ladies room looks like, but I would hope it is set up better than the former.
For most of the guys, we're not going to a bar like this for the restroom ambiance and while small and minimal, the restroom was not dirty. I'd rather call it eclectic. For those of you on a first date, she better really love you or is into this atmosphere, otherwise I would dissuade you from making this your impression-making or breaking first impression.
All in all, with the very friendly wait staff, great selection of brews, and definitely the best burger in Downtown Los Angeles, there is no way you should pass by this Five Star dive bar. Located at 267 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Their website: fivestarbardtla.com, will fill you in on the rest.