This weekend is last call for the King Eddy Saloon, the last skid row dive bar in Los Angeles.
The 79-year-old saloon, located at the base of the King Edward Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, is a humble establishment with a long history. The business survived Prohibition and a neighborhood drug epidemic only to be done in by gentrification, noted the Associated Press, and new owners have come to scoop up the space from Dustin Croick, whose grandfather bought the bar in the 1960s.
New owners Michael Leko and Will Shamlian, who also run Library Bar and Spring Street Bar nearby, have "every intention of maintaining the mythical status King Eddy's has earned over the years while giving it a much-needed face lift," according to a statement to the Los Angeles Times. There's also talk of installing a full kitchen, opening up the facade and even restoring the underground speakeasy that once operated during Prohibition, reports the Times.
But for a final few days, the Saloon's fiercely loyal working-class employees and clientele can still sneer at farm-fresh anything and fancy cocktails. The taglines "What the f**k a mixologist?" and "Bet your a** we use a microwave" are displayed prominently on their website, and the menu includes peanuts ($1), popcorn ($1) and a hard-boiled egg (25 cents). The kicker? King Eddy Saloon, "where nobody gives a s**t about your name."
On Twitter, a few Angelenos lamented the changing of the guard while blaming hipsters for the dive bar's demise. Check out reactions to the closure of the King Eddy Saloon.
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While it's the end of an era for the bar, Richard Schave, founder of the historical tour company Esotouric, told The Huffington Post that King Eddy Saloon will live forever because of its role as the central scene in John Fante's 1939 noir novel Ask The Dust.
Schave, who has been leading groups through the bowels of the old bar for six years, also appeared in a 2009 segment for the History Channel's "Los Angeles Underground" episode, where he claimed that the LA police ran a speakeasy racket at the King Eddy Saloon during Prohibition. Check out the clip in the video below and let us know in the comments below -- will you visit King Eddy Saloon for one last drink this weekend?
BEFORE YOU GO
Los Angeles boasts a slew of vintage cocktail bars complete with secret or unmarked entrances and/or required passwords. Check out Zagat's list of eight hidden L.A. bars in the slideshow below. What's your favorite place to drink on the DL? Let us know in the comments.