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So Long, Sportsmen's Lodge

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Photo: lavocado@sbcglobal.net/Flickr
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Thursday marked the end of a 63-year-long road for Studio City's Sportsmen's Lodge. There was a much tears as beer flowing this New Year's Eve, as the Valley's longtime gathering place ushered in a gloomy 2009. The event drew more than 1,000 people, and, according to the Daily News "a 12-piece orchestra serenaded the crowd, which included former employees and restaurant regulars."How did the Sportsmen's Lodge--once a big draw for celebrities--come to its demise? It's a bittersweet tale of real estate and business. The property was purchased in 2007, but operator Patrick Halloren was not given the option to renew his lease from new owner Richard Weintraub, who plans to renovate the property and is "considering the possibility of overhauling the property with new stores, a health club, a new banquet center and even a high-end steakhouse." What Weintraub can't do is re-open as the Sportsmen's Lodge, since Halloren "owns the trade name and the liquor license," and hopes to re-open the business himself--although the when and where remain unknown, although he's looking at either Long Beach or Santa Clarita.

The next step for the establishment is to clear house, and right now "staffers are tearing down restaurant fixtures, taking inventory and preparing everything, from dining room chairs to high-ball glasses, for the Jan. 13 auction" aimed at selling off as much as possible.