Tom Bergin’s Tavern Announces Closure

I loved Tom Bergin’s. Not the man – I never knew him. The bar on Fairfax.

I missed it in the year it was closed, and was so excited to go back in when it reopened. I went in for a drink on the first day it it reopened. I was a “regular” for years (people used to actually tease me that it was my home away from) – but from the get-go I didn’t like what they were going for, and they quickly lost me. I’ve only been once this year, and that was for St. Patrick’s Day. The hipster crowd they were going for, the vibe, the ridiculously trendy menu ($8 for a tiny side of peas with butter – give me a break!), and the smaller “pints” – it all just wasn’t Bergins anymore. I’m so sad though to see that it closed, because I guess I always remained hopeful that one day it would change back – and I’d start going there again. Now, all I can hope for is that someone who is smart enough and wealthy enough will come in and restore this gem closer to its previous state – and we can all enjoy a real pint at Bergins once again.

As another poster I saw wrote… I guess we all saw this coming – and it fits the old adage, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!,0,3778179.story

Tom Bergin’s famed Irish saloon — one of L.A.’s oldest restaurants — abruptly announces closure

Tom Bergin’s, the famed Irish saloon on Fairfax Boulevard known for its strong Irish coffee, corned beef and cabbage and a pull on L.A. tourists, abruptly announced today that it is shutting its doors.

The pub — one of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles — posted a message on its Facebook page announcing the closure. A reason was not given. The message simply said: “We are sorry to let everyone know that this Sunday will be Tom Bergin’s last day of business. Please join us in our last few days; we’d love to see as many familiar faces as possible.”

Someone who answered the phone at Bergin’s this evening attributed the closure to “lack of sales.” The man — who declined to give his name — added: “The ownership wasn’t reaching the revenue needed to sustain itself.”

PHOTOS: A look inside Tom Bergin’s

The tavern had recently been taken over by Los Angeles restaurateur Brandon Boudet, closed for some retooling, and then reopened. Efforts to reach Boudet were unsuccessful.

Tom Bergin’s Tavern first opened in 1936 on Fairfax Avenue, south of Wilshire. L.A. Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold said walking into the restaurant’s dining room was like stepping back in time to Raymond Chandler’s L.A.

The tavern was known for its rare Irish whiskeys, a well-drawn Guinness and hefty servings of coconut cream pies, as well as for the signed shamrocks that festooned the wooden rafters above the bar, signed by regulars and tourists alike. Still, the menu offered a bit of whimsy, such as a jambalaya.

One of its signature dishes — the classic corned beef and cabbage — stood out from the pack. As Gold explained in an October 2012 review revisiting the tavern:

“Boudet pickles his own corned beef, steams it until it is soft as Langer’s pastrami and serves it in thick, hand-cut slices. The cabbage, braised in butter, is served alongside in an intact wedge, quartered leaves still attached to the core. There are potatoes — there are always potatoes. The corned beef is a bit bland, not quite as salty as you might expect it to be, but the flavor blossoms when you dab it with a bit of mustard.”

Will you miss Tom Bergin’s?

One thought on “Tom Bergin’s Tavern Announces Closure

  1. Michael J. Sonntag says:

    Just saw this update on the LA Weekly site…

    [Update]: An early morning statement from the folks behind Tom Bergin’s sheds some light on the above questions, including the future of those hand-painted shamrocks:

    “We were very sad to announce that Tom Bergin’s will be closing its doors this Sunday. The current management team is actively seeking a buyer with the intention of preserving this historic property intact. Once doors close on Sunday, every fixture, every shamrock, will remain untouched until an appropriate operator steps forward to purchase the property. While Bergin’s is a widely beloved landmark, a sluggish economy and insufficient sales made it difficult to sustain as a business. We are proud of our staff for working so hard this past year, and will miss the regular patrons who have made Tom Bergin’s a Los Angeles institution for the past 80 years.”


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