Friday, May 1, 2009


Barney's Beanery is what the Hard Rock Cafe wishes it was. Fist off, the joint is a mess - but the best kind of mess. There's junk on the walls, a motorcycle hanging in the bar, rusty hubcaps line the entrance, while the ceilings are covered in old license plates and even older news papers.

The tables are a mishmash, collage of 80s pop icons... I sat with David Bowie, ET, Janis Joplin and Adam Ant - which got "Goody two, goody two, goody, goody two shoes..." stuck in my head the entire time I was there.

Our waitress was all business - which I like. She hovered over us in a pair of filthy cut-off shorts, with an entire shifts worth of crumbs, condiment clean-up, and plate grease wiped across her ass. Her hair was pulled back into two, wonky pig tails that I secretly hoped was from a really bad haircut, or a really bad night - either way, she was the farthest thing from an LA "try hard" as you'll get - Which again, is the whole point of Barney's - right?

At Barney's you seat yourself - we chose a booth for six, which worked-out because you'll need the table space just to read the menu! A 12 page, 1000 plus item monster, the size of the New York Post...

The burger page is rammed into the middle, featuring 82 different kinds - 12 alone starting with the word 'chili'...

For $3.50 you can make any burger a "Kobe Burger", and for a buck-sixty-five you can add cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, beans, Macaroni or Strawberries to your burger... yes, strawberries... file that under WTF?

Pickles and raw onions are "by request only" - which rules for two reasons 1) hate them both, and B) Onion sweat and pickle juice can completely destroy an otherwise perfect bun...

Oh, and what I can only hope is a goof, Barney's also offers up a Double BBQ, Cheeseburger with Guac, Egg, Gravy, Spinach, "nut", Sausage, Veal and Wine for $10,000.60... *Cash Only - We'll put this one with the Strawberries in the WTF folder.

My burger routine is pretty much always the same - sit, order a beer, figure out what I want, order a beer, eat my burger and order a beer - this time around it was the Barney's Bacon Chili Cheeseburger - and yes, I want fries with that...

Chili + Burger = Tricky! The wrong amount, the wrong kind, if it sits too long, if its too runny , if it's too think - or if it's just shitty chili - can all kill a burger. Barney's has the process down to a science. The chili was bean-less, and came on the side with a spoon - which rules because you can fire some on the burger and use the rest to dip your fries in... 

The bacon was perfect - crispy, but still sorta floppy... I went for American cheese (that's processed 'cheeze' slices for those who don't live in America). The bun was simple. No sesame seeds, no bits of fake onions, and lightly toasted on the business side.

I knew right away that the fries were gonna be ass - and I was right. I hate those frozen little buggers that come with a pre-made, factory coating that makes them look more like fish sticks than French fries. But, whatever, I ate them anyway...

I can always tell a 'home style' burger when little bits of burger fall off onto the plate after each bite. We like fresh, not frozen! Plus, it's a good sign that they haven't loaded your meat with eggs or bread crumbs (Meatballs!).

The true measure of a kick-ass burger is whether it leaves you licking your wrist - and lick mine I did. The chili juice mixed with the burger juice and ran down my arm from hand to elbow. I made a giant mess - and loved every second of it. A good burger should make you want to eat like a kid... And at Barney's I felt like it was my 9th Birthday Party all over again... Only without the stripper...

"Goody two, goody two, goody, goody two shoes..."

8447 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood CA
(323) 654-2287
THE BURGER: Barney's Chili Bacon Chesseburger
THE DAMAGE: $10.50 - plus Beer(s)
THE HIGH: Loved that a place called "Beanery" doesn't put beans in their chili.
THE LOW: The fries were a Crap Parade - But you'll eat them anyway.

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