This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Westwood's 'Last Dive Bar' Closes, Making Westwood Suck Even More
Westwood always sucked.Take it from this Bruin that who was once new to Los Angeles and without a car to escape the area immediately around campus. Those dorms were a long walk from the hub of restaurants, entertainment, and stores that was known as Westwood Village, and boy were those options paltry. On Saturday, O'Hara's, a place that the L.A. Times called the "last of Westwood's dive bars," closed for good.
Despite its proximity to UCLA and it's quaint-sounding nickname, Westwood Village wasn't exactly the kind of college town neighborhood I was hoping for when I moved away from home. The food was mostly terrible and the two bars we had at the time were O'Hara's and the Westwood Brewing Company. "There are not a lot of places for students to get together," O'Hara's bartender Craig Leppert told The Daily Bruin last week. "Westwood doesn't have a great social scene."
Sure, there were bars on the peripheries of the Village, including Palomino and whatever the heck used to be at The Glendon Bar & Kitchen, but they were for a much higher-end clientele. There weren't going to be viewing parties at the Palomino for the annual UCLA-USC game. Places like that were indicative of why Westwood Village was so weird for students. It wasn't really our neighborhood. Things like pool tables, happy hours, and dancefloors aren't allowed in the area, supposedly due to the overreactive Westwood Neighborhood Council in response to a 1988 gang shooting.
We had few options. Spots like Penny Lane Records, Buffalo Exchange and In-N-Out shared the same block with expensive boutiques, Whole Foods, and restaurants that had three dollar signs on Yelp. Many of these less expensive places have since packed up and left, replaced by more businesses bound to meet the same fate.
Even the places that became hotspots for students were, honestly, not very good. Diddy Riese, notorious for the long lines of people waiting to get ice cream sandwiches that were once 75 cents? Mrs. Fields-quality cookies with Dreyer's ice cream. Across the street from that was a BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse that was somehow more popular among Trojan outsiders than Bruins. BJ's, guys. The most legendary of all was a sandwich stand that was better known for being cheap and open late rather than their actual quality. R.I.P. Buck Fiddy, taken over by that guy from Entourage.
Thank God for that In-N-Out!
For those of us that were of legal drinking age—I turned 21 in 2006—or had a fake ID, O'Hara's (originally known as Maloney's and still called that by many) and BrewCo were the spots to get together and destroy a few pints and a plate full of mediocre wings. They had sticky floors and we all once had a friend that was puking in their gross bathrooms. But, goddammit, they were ours.
Maybe in 2016, the idea of hanging out in Westwood just doesn't have to be the only way anymore. The buses still never run on time, but at least Lyft and Uber don't make you reliant on that one guy you knew that had a car. "L.A. gets a lot smaller when there's an easy carpool," UCLA law student Angus Beverly told the L.A. Times.
In 2013, BrewCo closed down to make way for a Boiling Crab, and O'Hara's will become a Rocco's Tavern, turning the page on the Westwood I once knew. It's fine, I suppose. I never felt like I belonged anyway.