Let’s not jump into the long-standing debate between Cole’s and Philippe (also reviewed on this website) over where the French dip originated—even Snopes won’t make that call. Cole’s, which added “Originators of the French dip” to its name in 2008, has been in business since 1908 in the landmark Pacific Electric building, and looks much the same as it did then. Widely regarded as L.A.’s oldest public house, it has an old-timey saloon feel with its penny tile floors, 40-foot mahogany bar, and dim yellow lights. The carving station, whose chef greets arriving diners, likewise embodies the seemingly antiquated concept of personal service. The menu is simple: pork, pastrami, beef, turkey or lamb dip; Skinny Dipper or Big Dipper size. Classic sides include slaw, mac and cheese and creamed spinach. The drinks are also simple, and classic: old-fashioneds, Manhattans and Sazeracs with “a rinse of absinthe.” The Varnish, in back, is a speakeasy behind a “secret” door (look for the picture of a cocktail) whose mixologists craft cocktails to your liking.