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Arts and Entertainment

Beloved Atwater Dive Club Tee Gee To Close After 70 Years

(Photo by Mark P. via Yelp)
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Neighborhood dive bar Club Tee Gee is closing after a 70-year run in Atwater Village, according to Los Angeles Magazine.

Beloved for its authentic retro-L.A. credentials as well as its steadfastly old-school happy hour prices (strong, six-dollar mixed drinks!), Tee Gee opened in 1946 and flourished on Glendale Boulevard for almost three-quarters of a century, until the death of longtime owner Betty Bartlotta last year. Now the club’s property lease is up, and its outlook is grim.

“We don’t know if new owners will want to keep things the same [at the bar], but probably not,” surmised Alison Martino, creator of the popular “Vintage Los Angeles” Facebook page.

“Where do the characters go anymore?” Martino asked, lamenting the closures of “lovably rough” Los Angeles glamour-dive fixtures like the White Horse Inn, Ski Room and, most recently, the Formosa Cafe. “You used to go into bars, see barflies of all ages and walks of life, overhear the most interesting, when a local dive closes and a new bar takes over, the locals are often priced out.”

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It’s easy to romanticize the smoky Hollywood dives of yore, but the best way to gauge the significance of any establishment is to ask the man behind the bar. “I feel horrible about [Club Tee Gee’s closing,” bartender Roger Munson told LAist. “I’ve got my dream job, and now I have to go look for another one...I’ve been here nine years. I’ve quit other jobs, but I’ve never quit this one.”

Maybe Los Angeles doesn’t have to quit on Club Tee Gee yet, either; the property is up for lease, but if a restoration-minded new owner takes over the space, there’s a chance Club Tee Gee could retain some of its unique, old-fashioned charm. For now, call a Lyft to Atwater Village, order a gin and tonic, and stare meditatively up at its signature green-and-gold ceiling while you still can.

Emma Specter is a freelance writer and copy-editor who was born and raised in New York City, moved to Los Angeles two years ago and is probably getting a parking ticket as you're reading this.