Name: Flaming Saddles
Concept: Where can you find cowboy bartenders in skin-tight tank tops and jeans, line dancing on top of a bar, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" on TV, Piehole whiskey shots and warm Frito pie? Only at Flaming Saddles, the West Coast outlet of the New York City country-western gay bar, now open in West Hollywood.
If you're thinking it sounds like the male version of "Coyote Ugly," you're correct. Co-owner Jacqui Squatriglia choreographed the bartender dances at Coyote Ugly, and is also behind the knee-slapping, shaking and head turns at Flaming Saddles. Squatriglia's boyfriend and business partner, Chris Barnes, co-owns the bar.
What are you drinking? Glistening, overflowing shots of Piehole whiskey that go down like American honey in a Lady Antebellum song. Yes, there is a full bar, but when Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" starts blasting from the speakers and your bartender promptly hops up onto the bar and starts dancing like there's no tomorrow, there's no drink more appropriate for the occasion.
What are you eating? Hands down, some of the best fried pickles in Los Angeles. Chef PJ Flynn (former chef and owner of Game On, a gourmet food truck) makes her own pickles, slices them thin, and covers them in a light, almost translucent, batter. The pickles, like almost everything deep fried on the menu, comes with Flynn's Flaming Saddles outlaw sauce, also known as her take on a tangy barbecue ranch.
You can also order pulled pork sliders with an apple slaw, warm bags of Frito pie with cheese sauce and jalapenos, and a 6-ounce marinated grilled Ponderosa sirloin and six jumbo shrimp, which the menu says is for when "you're feeling fancy." And if you're an fan of onion rings, prepare yourself. You know those ultrathin and crispy, light-as-air onion rings, normally served in too-small handfuls on top of gourmet burgers? These are the ones — but an entire skillet full of them.
Who's sitting next to you? Two quiet men dressed in jeans at the bar, who don't seem to be especially chatty, but sing along with you to a Reba McEntire song; the bar manager, who looks like Johnny Depp circa 1999; and a man enjoying the bar dances, bobbing his head in tune with the sound of the bartenders' pounding cowboy boots.
Perfect for: Honestly, any time you're in need of a pick-me-up. When have dancing cowboys, Piehole shots and Frito pie ever sounded like a less than fabulous idea? And with a full food menu, you can start — or end — the night here.
Info: 8811 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 855-7501, flamingsaddles.com/weho.