14 Closed L.A. Bars And Restaurants That We'll Miss
As the old adage goes, "Out with the old and in with the new." While we've had some seriously good restaurants and bars open up this year, there has also been a large number of great spots that shuttered. From mainstays that have been open for nearly 70 years to dive bars and a Vietnamese eatery that served venison vermicelli, here are some of the the bars and restaurants that closed this year that we'll miss the most.
When Alma hit the food scene, it made a huge splash, even earning the title of Best New Restaurant in the country from Bon Appetit magazine in 2013. But not all was rosy behind the scenes of this farm-to-table restaurant as they had financial issues stemming from a lawsuit filed by a former adviser, and had to close their doors to their downtown L.A. location in October. Not all is lost though, as chef Ari Taymor and his partner Ashleigh Parsons announced earlier this month that they'll be holding a residency at The Standard in West Hollywood through February. So get your Alma while you can.
We had to sadly bid adieu to the long-standing Italian joint, Dominick's, just a couple of weeks ago. The West Hollywood restaurant closed after being around for 67 years, serving as a hangout for Rat Pack members like Frank Sinatra, to Britney Spears and Leonardo DiCaprio. The restaurant was bought by Warner Ebbink and Brandon Boudet, who also own 101 Coffee Shop, MiniBar and Little Dom's, in 2004 and they restored signature designs in the spot, like the red leather booths and tiled flooring. They'll be focusing on their other restaurants and bars for now, and it looks like a restaurant named Verlaine may be moving in. Here's to a new generation.
Ha Tien Quan
We were sad to find out that Ha Tien Quan closed for good in October. While you could get your run of the mill Vietnamese dishes here, like pho and broken rice, what made Ha Tien Quan special in a sea of San Gabriel Valley restaurants was that they specialized in regional Vietnamese dishes that you couldn't get everywhere. We're talking about venison vermicelli, and bun mum, a pungent and umami-laden fermented anchovy noodle soup with seafood and pork belly. We'll pour one out (a bowl of fish sauce) for this restaurant.
After one not-so-fast closure, we finally lost downtown dive Bar 107 for good this year. News of this popular and rowdy bar's closure came in April, when co-owner Vee Delgadillo confirmed with LAist that her landlord was kicking them out, supposedly to start up his own bar in the same spot. The bar was supposed to shut down on June 1, just shy of its ten-year-anniversary, but in the midst of their raucous closing party, they decided they wouldn't stop the party until someone made them. They continued to serve PBRs and strong well drinks for a few more months before they finally shuttered for good in September. Or have they? We sure wouldn't mind seeing them lug that life-size horse statue that loomed over the bar to somewhere new. —Juliet Bennett Rylah
The poké craze got so real in 2015 that restaurant owners were changing the concepts of their restaurants to the Hawaiian fish dish. Chef Eric Park did this to two of his restaurants. The first one to get the big change over the summer was his downtown L.A. sandwich shop, Hero Shop, which became Ohana Poké Co. He did it again with Silver Lake's Black Hogg, also turning that into a poké restaurant. Thankfully, the adjoining Sopressata at Black Hogg is still slinging its delicious Italian sandwiches. But we're still shedding a tear over the loss of Black Hogg and its Popcorn Bacon and Uni Toast.
Since 2011, Mother Dough turned out excellent, wood-fired pizzas, but on Jan. 3, 2016, the beloved Los Feliz joint is expected to sling its last upscale Neapolitan pie. As one of our favorite pizza spots in town, we're sad to see them go, but we can't argue with the "serious burnout" that chef-owner Bez Compani says he's feeling. We are encouraged to hear though that the space won't remain vacant for long as the team behind Grand Central Market's falafel stand Madcapra are teaming up with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal to open up a yet-to-be-named Mediterranean restaurant. —Danny Jensen
Saint Martha may have been located in a run-of-the-mill Koreatown strip mall (which now also houses Southland Beer), but looks can be deceiving from the outside. Inside the hip, new American restaurant helmed by chef Nick Erven (formerly of Tart in the Farmer's Daughter Hotel), we got to see some playful dishes like a chicken liver mousse with mushrooms, hazelnut praline and pickled blueberries; or a shrimp tartare with melons. They also had an extensive wine list. However, the eatery announced they were temporarily closed in the fall due to investor issues, but looking at their website now, it says they're "permanently closed."
French Quarter was a kitschy restaurant (with a sort of New Orleans theme) situated in the French Market Place building in West Hollywood. You wouldn't be able to miss the yellow Art Deco outside and purple-and-white awning of this Santa Monica Boulevard spot. While the food was mostly just decent, it was more known as a staple in the gay community and a nice spot for brunch where you could get some outdoor patio seating. In the spring, stores began moving out of the French Market Place, which had been open since the '70s, and the French Quarter closed in July. We'll mostly have to say goodbye to an era soon as there are plans from the new developer to raze the French Market Place and replace it with one of those mixed-use developments West Hollywood doesn't already seem to have enough of.
From the beginning, Brilliantshine had all the makings of a hot Santa Monica restaurant and bar. The cocktail-forward spot was helmed by big names in the industry like Julian Cox and Josh Goldman, but its dishes from Chef Richie Lopez (formerly the executive chef of Paiche), also shined brightly, too. Think sweetbread toast, goat cheese fritters paired with pears, and massaged octopus with a Peruvian twist. However, after a fallout between investors and partners, Cox and Goldman left Brilliantshine and the property went up for sale.
Neat Bar had a good run for four years in Glendale. The chill and laidback bar was the type of place where you couldn't order off a menu, but you had around 300 spirits to choose from. In other words, it was home to spirit enthusiasts. Even though it shuttered its doors, owner Aiden Demarest (previously at Seven Grand and the Spare Room) later opened cocktail joint BarToni's at Little Toni's red-sauce Italian restaurant. (The new spot made our Best Bars For Classic Cocktails list in October.)
Burbank's karaoke dive bar had long billed itself as America's first karaoke bar since opening in 1982. However, bartender and manager Kimberly Snow shared with LAist they'd be shutting down to make room for a residential development and a Whole Foods last December. They managed to get an extension on their lease until March 31, but then it was curtains for the perfect place to knock a few back and sing your favorite guilty pleasure—which were broadcast on the Internet for anyone who cared to watch. The likes of Britney Spears, Charlize Theron and Katy Perry had spent time on the Dimples stage, and first-time singers were gifted a CD of their performance to remember forever. Snow indicated that Dimples might pop up in another spot in Burbank, North Hollywood or Hollywood, but so far, nothing new has been announced. —Juliet Bennett Rylah
This West L.A. fine Italian mainstay just couldn't keep up with the times. A white-tablecloth, gourmet Italian restaurant just wasn't cool anymore. Still, no one did a crudo plate quite like Sal Marino, and we'll miss his Tomato Wednesdays, a tasting menu based on tomatoes picked fresh from his own garden. Before there was the uni cream udon at Little Tokyo's Marugame Monzo, there was Il Grano's squid ink pasta with sea urchin sauce. Also leaving us is the adjacent Bottega Marino, but fear not—Marino says he'll be back. Until then, there's still Ristorante Marino. —Carman Tse
Burger Continental holds a special place in our hearts. This was definitely a no-frills type of place, one that served Mediterranean dishes and also burgers, but it was a mainstay in Pasadena. It was a place where you could sit outdoors, watch a belly dancing performance and drink a cheap pitcher of beer. It closed its doors earlier this year after being open for 45 years. The restaurant didn't have the best Yelp reviews and also had some health code violations on its hands, but it was a place where we had many a fond memory.
After serving up coffee, tea and free Wi-Fi to Silver Lake for 20 years, Casbah Café caught many regulars off guard when they suddenly closed overnight earlier this month. According to the owners, the French-Moroccan-themed institution was forced out of a neighborhood that they felt had become "increasingly corporate." And while they don't plan on opening another restaurant or café in L.A., if you want to keep up with their future endeavors, follow them on Instagram. —Danny Jensen