Japan has its izakaya culture. Until recently, LA had very few representatives of this type of gastronomy, and even fewer that would be considered of its own culture. Gastropubs are now showing up around town, and seem to be a zenith between very good drinks and very good food - typically offering fare and smaller plates for sharing/snacking, but a full meal can be compiled as well. I really like the combination along with the more relaxed feel of a pub and I'm guessing a lot of other hounds do as well.
Westside Tavern was kind of a letdown for me - not because they weren't good - I just felt that it was another restaurant - with an abundance of floor space - whose name suggested otherwise. The drinks are pretty good, the beer list is so-so, and the food was good to very good, but again - more like restaurant food than what I think of as from a gastropub.
Father's Office is probably the mother of LA's gastropubs. Love them or hate them, they set a pretty high standard long ago (in LA timeline terms). I personally love their beer selections, respect their menu and have learned to tolerate their way of doing things. Sang Yoon is obviously doing things right though - he now has FO2 in Culver City/Palms which has let me put some bad memories from the original FO in the past. IMHO, it's more laid back, and the it's just plain easier to access in terms of parking and floor space. Thank you, Servorg, for encouraging me/challenging me to give them a try.
I've found A-Frame to be the anti-FO because it's more open-collar in terms of the food, the drinks and particularly in terms of navigation. Roy Choy and David Reiss put their heads together on this one and I think the resulting product has a nice feel to it. The food has a Kogi/Chego feel to it, but a more refined and better executed. The beer list is far more abbreviated than FO, but it's still a very good one.
I've only visited a few, so I'm curious as to what's on your list...
Father's Office Bar
1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA
10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
12565 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066, USA