Chimney Sweep Lounge is a fun and young locals dive bar, virtually hidden in a shopping center, located at 4354 Woodman Ave Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. In fact, I remember when I lived in the area, and had trouble finding it at first, but it was certainly worth the hunt. "The Sweep" as you will eventually call it, after going a few times, is the kind of place that if you dig it, you will turn into a regular. While my group of friends really likes Chimney Sweep, I can't say it is for everyone, or even for every evening. The Sweep has an authentic dive bar feel, that is mixed with a young, attractive crowd, good music, and stiff drinks. When you get there, notice the old time register they use, and the vests the bartenders wear. My main beef with Chimney Sweep, which is probably of no concern to the bar itself, is that it has gotten too popular for it's size.
Their outside smoking patio is small, which makes it home to tons of random conversations, so long as there are not 20 people standing out there, because then it turns into a zoo. One annoying policy they have, that I have always had a gripe with, is that they do not allow any drinks on the patio after midnight. In my professional opinion (read: right out of my ass), I do not think this has anything to do with any city ordinances, but rather just a way to maintain a safe atmosphere as the evening (and binge drinking) continues to flow.
There is a really small staff, so try your best not to piss anyone off, since they will most likely see you again next time you come in. Not to say they are going to drop a deuce in your Guinness, but you might be waiting quite some time for that [Pulp Fiction]tasty beverage[/Pulp Fiction]. Rick is the main bartender, and he is not the friendliest guy in the world. That being said, I think he gets a bad wrap by some people who think that because he does not talk much, means he is an ass. Simply put, Rick does not want to deal with your shit; you treat him right, and you will not even notice any potential for a bad side.
Expect to see a lot of young San Fernando Valley kids, looking to have a good time, smoke a little crack (smoking crack is optional) and land themselves a warm body for the night. Occasionally you will see a cougar swing through, who will tell you she can show you the world like you have never seen it, but it is very much a 20-somethings dive bar. The trouble (and luxury) with the music is that it depends on the crowd, as the juke box is controlled by the bar-goers. That being said, rarely will you hear any music that makes you want to hurl, but sometimes you will hear some lame shit. It happens - just drink more (as they say, "Drink to forget").
The mixed drinks are affordable, and they have a wide selection of draft beer. But be mindful when you order some of the more exotic mixed drinks, as a Rum & Coke might run you five buck (the "s" intentionally omitted, of course) but an Irish Car Bomb will run you twelve buck. I think it is pretty clever that I referred to an ICB as an "exotic" drink - shows you how high class I am. One cool thing you will notice when you go deposit your beer, is that they have signs in the restrooms saying they will not be increasing their prices next year.
While there is a pool table, there is not a whole lot of room around the table, which makes it a bit inconvenient to play.
For those of you that are awesome, I liken the pool table setting to the episode of Seinfeld where Frank and Kramer shoot pool in a cramped room. For those of you that are not quite that awesome, fear not, as a delicious YouTube-r has come to your rescue:
So let's just say that if you are looking to do something beyond talking, drinking, or smoking on the patio, then you'd probably be better off with the electronic darts than the pool table.
Chimney Sweep is very much a regulars dive bar, and you will get special treatment if the staff recognizes you. That being said, if you are not an asshole, you will still be taken care of. There is always a fun, attractive crowd, and you will usually strike up random conversations either at the bar, at the tables, or on the patio. For your first visit, I might recommend that you go on a slower night - say Tuesday or Wednesday - just so you can get a good feel for the bar, and the staff. Then when you come back on a busier night, you will already feel like a regular, and all the chicks will think you are the shit (note - author is not responsible for chicks not thinking you are the shit, sport).
As a special treat, I will clue you in on why we were at the Chimney Sweep this particular night. We went to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Jonathan C. Goodvibes, for his big 2-5. w00t w00t! It ended up being about 20 of us taking a big section of the tables. To give you an idea of the type of people to expect at the Sweep: there were two guys sitting at the lone table right next to our large group, that we did not secure, and they got up (of their own accord) and sat at the bar to give us more space. I thought that was a really cool gesture, and felt like sharing (go me!).
Here is a video I took of most of the people with our group (some cower in fear), trying to get everyone to do/say something sexy for the good doctor, on his night of nights. I realize it is dark, but give me a break - it is a dive bar: