When zero to five bucks will get you in (where you need to be):
Al's Bar on Thursdays, 305 S. Hewitt St., downtown. (213) 626-7213. Artist-musician Toast (of the Ray-O-Vacs) books this night of strong and interesting music at the venerable club (which is doing more than its fair share to keep downtown alive). 21 and over, $5 cover.
Bar Deluxe on Mondays, 1710 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood, (213) 469-1991. Karaoke was supposed to have been a novelty, but like that other zany Japanese delight, sushi, it's become a way of life, even entering the psychobilly clubs of Hollywood such as Bar Deluxe. 21 and over, no cover.
El Rey Theatre on Tuesdays, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. With a drastic cut in its capacity (reportedly down 600 from 1,200, until further notice), many shows have been rerouted, but not "Stagefright," a Tuesday night rock club featuring bands on the cutting edge (whatever that means nowadays). 18 and over, free to $5 cover.
Jack's Sugar Shack on Tuesdays, 1707 Vine St., Hollywood, (213) 466-7005. Are you caught at a musical crossroads, a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll? Then Ronnie Mack's "Barndance" is the hoedown for you, with the best in alternative country, every Tuesday night. 21 and over, no cover.
Opium Den on Mondays, 1605 N. Ivar Ave., Hollywood, (213) 466-7800. "Zeke's Backyard" is the name of the promotion here on Monday nights, and it does bear some likeness to a backyard cookout--the mood's relaxed and familial. But rather than firing up the barbie, promoter and KROQ DJ Zeke Piestrup cooks up some bueno local music (the A to Z list of who's who in L.A. and O.C.). 21 and over, no cover.
Spaceland on Mondays, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake, (213) 833-2843. Spaceland continues to be one of the most important contributions to the local music scene in this current lame climate (with bazillion-dollar ventures going down the toilet). Just goes to show you, a cheesy mirrored disco is all you need when the beats are fresh, Grade A (and even free at Spaceland--the aforementioned cheeseball disco--on Mondays). 21 and over, no cover.
Sucker at the Garage on Sundays, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd., Silver Lake, (213) 683-3447. Here's a club that's really benefited from all the improvements at the Garage. The live-band beer bust, brought to you by the hostess with the mostess, Miss V. Creme Davis, keeps getting bigger and more influential on the music scene. 21 and over, $2 to $3 cover.