Eddy Up the Bar

Fabled lowdown dirty dive the King Eddy Saloon — "where no one gives a shit about your name," per the tavern's manager, Bill — represents the last bastion of old-school Angeleno alcoholism, and the joint has got all the welts and warts to prove it. With a fabulously grimy atmosphere, a wall sign announcing that all drug users and dealers will be "proscuted" and a clientele of a decidedly down-and-out nature, it's a straight-up, no-frills paradise for dipsos. Theirs is the longest-standing liquor license in the city; when Prohibition struck, they just moved the operation down to the basement where a speakeasy flourished and an adjoining series of subterranean tunnels served the local bootleggers well. It's said that hardboiled novelists James M. Cain and John Fante luxuriated in the boozy reek, soaking up the color (and, in Fante's case, locale) and the room has a remarkable haunted and haunting feel to it. And of course it's closing down. Purchased by some moderne slickers and now set for ruination, excuse me, renovation, it will reopen with the same name, but Sunday's "Drink the Eddy Dry" is the last day for the joint's dysfunctional family of barflies to live it up (and many of them have been at it here for decades). It's a tragic occasion, but destruction, after all, is what we here in the Golden State do best. The King Eddy Saloon, 131 E. Fifth St., dwntwn.; Sun., Dec. 15, 6 a.m.-2 a.m. (213) 629-2023; kingeddysaloon.com/
Sun., Dec. 16, 6-2 a.m., 2012

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