Tinhorn Flats Vs. Burbank: The City Removes The Padlock It Put On The Bar's Doors

The entrance to Tinhorn Flats, an Old West-themed bar in Burbank, on Feb. 27, 2021. (Elina Shatkin/LAist)

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Like a desperado who is riddled with bullets but just won't stop, Tinhorn Flats remains open.

The latest chapter in this saga finds the Burbank Fire Department showing up at Tinhorn Flats on Wednesday night to remove a padlock... one that city officials had placed there earlier that morning.

Why? Because as soon as officials left, Lucas Lepejian cut off a lock on a side entrance and reopened the Old West-themed restaurant and bar, reports FOX 11.

After cutting off the padlock, Lepejian let customers in and continued serving them food and drink although the front door remain padlocked, creating what Burbank officials call a "life-safety hazard."

In a press release issued today, the city of Burbank says:

"After monitoring social media posts and seeing numerous people inside the locked building, the City Manager and City Attorney directed Burbank Fire along with Burbank Police to visit the establishment. Upon verification of people inside, the City unlocked the front door as this was the only responsible action to protect human life.

'Tin Horn Flats continues to be irresponsible in their actions. Last night's reckless behavior reflects a lack of concern for their patrons' wellbeing. They continue to care more about defying the Court's Orders than the health and safety of the community,' said City Manager Justin Hess."

In an Instagram post, Tinhorn Flats owners brag about removing the venue's front doors. (screengrab from Instagram)

2021 is young but to say that Tinhorn Flats is in flagrant violation of local laws, public health decrees and multiple court might be the understatement of the year.

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge gave Burbank officials the go-ahead to padlock the restaurant. This came after Lepejian removed the establishment's front doors in an attempt to prevent said padlocking.

It also came after the court ruled, last week, that Burbank officials could cut off power to the venue. That didn't stop Lepejian. He borrowed generators so Tinhorn Flats could continue operating through the weekend.

And that came after the health deparment revoked Tinhorn Flats' health permit, the city of Burbank revoked its Conditional Use Permit and California Alcoholic Beverage Control filed an accusation against Tinhorn Flats for violating health orders.

At this point, is there any food-related regulatory agency in Los Angeles County that isn't trying to shut down Tinhorn Flats — or at least make it comply with public health orders?

The Old West-themed bar and restaurant has spent months fighting them all and, so far, it appears to be winning... and by winning we mean it has stayed open.

But any scholar of military history can tell you that wars are a series of battles and this is only the latest skirmish.

In an Instagram post, the owners of Tinhorn Flats explain they've borrowed a generator and lights so they can stay open after the city of Burbank cut off their power. (screengrab from Instagram)

TIMELINE

This is a lightly edited timeline taken from a press release issued by the city of Burbank.

  • March 16, 2021: L.A. County Superior Court rules that the city of Burbank can padlock Tinhorn Flats' doors.
  • March 12, 2021: L.A. County Superior Court rules that the city of Burbank can cut off Tinhorn Flats' electricity.
  • March 8, 2021: L.A. County Superior Court issues a Temporary Restraining Order requiring Tinhorn Flats to cease operations.
  • March 1, 2021: The city of Burbank files a lawsuit against Tinhorn Flats for violating the Burbank Municipal Code and abatement of public nuisance.
  • February 22, 2021: The city of Burbank revokes Tinhorn Flats' Conditional Use Permit.
  • January 27, 2021: The L.A. County Department of Public Health revokes Tinhorn Flats' health permit because the owners refused to abide by the temporary ban on outdoor dining. L.A. County officials file a lawsuit against Tinhorn Flats for violating Emergency Health Orders, L.A. County Codes and abatement of public nuisance.
  • January 12, 2021: L.A. County Counsel issues a Cease and Desist letter to Tinhorn Flats.
  • December 13, 2020 - February 9, 2021: The L.A. County Department of Public Health cites Tinhorn Flats 36 separate days for operating on a suspended and/or revoked Public Health Permit. (This is a continuous violation because Tin Horn Flats never stopped operating.)
  • December 12, 2020: The L.A. County Department of Public Health suspends Tinhorn Flats' health permit.
  • December 10, 2020 - January 24, 2021: The L.A. County Department of Public Health cites Tinhorn Flats for violations 28 separate times.
  • December 10, 2020: Tinhorn Flats declares it will remain open regardless of state and county health orders, and it remains open to this day.
  • December 9, 2020: L.A. County issues a new health order to conform to the state's order temporarily prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining.
  • December 6 at 11:59 p.m.: A new state order temporarily prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining due to the rising number of COVID -19 cases takes effect in Southern California.