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Another dive bar bites the dust

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It's happened again: a perfectly good dive bar is about to be remade as some overhyped, shortlived blech, as feared. The Lowenbrau Keller has fallen into the clutches of restaurant developer The Wanton Group. Yes, they really call themselves that.

The Lowenbrau Keller was almost impossible to find, hidden behind enormous overgrown trees with a hard to describe street address (on Beverly but it seemed like First, or Temple), too far south to be Silver Lake, too far east to be Koreatown (maybe you'd call it Rampart, but who wants to drink in Rampart?). It had terrible hours -- roughly 5 to 9, but sometimes they opened at 6 and tried to close at, say, 7.

But it also had pros: free parking and insane Bavarian-Baroque decor that makes the Red Lion look like a temple of minimalism. There were two -- or was it three? -- full suits of armor, enormous fake casks (of wine? brew?), carved Germanic figures, plastic grapes everywhere followed by more plastic grapes, gigantic cherubs and vases, and chandeliers -- chandeliers on which a stuffed pheasant might perch.

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It was supposed to be a restaurant, but it acted like a dive bar. The place was almost always empty, its menu was vegetarian-UNfriendly, and the owner -- the widow of the guy who must have been the animating spirit behind the Lowenbrau Keller's mad decor -- was unwelcoming. You could show up, drink, and be ignored.

Back then, there were no sculpted mactresses trying to earn tips. No valet parking. No shiny bathrooms. No $5 cans of PBR. Ah, those were the days.