Some bars are neighborhood-themed bars (like Thirsty Crow), and some are actual neighborhood bars. 1642, opened in March in Historic Filipinotown or HiFi (is anyone actually calling it that?), is a quiet beer bar that's within stumbling distance of Echo Park but feels worlds away from the ironic hipness of that part of town.
Unless you know to look for the art deco letters painted above the doorway, 1642's entrance blends into the facade of an unremarkable cream-colored building. New owner Liz Fischbach lives spitting distance from the bar, just up the alley that was the setting for Tom Waits' "In The Neighborhood" video. Fischbach says she been keeping 1642's opening quiet while she continues to amp up her beer and wine menu and build a steady neighborhood clientele.
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1642 has four taps, which Fischbach stocks with mostly Southern Californian brews like Eagle Rock Brewery's Red Velvet and Alesmith's Nautical Nut. Canned beers range farther afield: Moylan's Irish Stout, Bear Valley Imperial Stout and Maui Brewing Co.'s Coconut Porter, to name a few. Best value: 32-ounce cans of Old Johnnie or Cold Spring for $5 each. The miniscule wine menu isn't worth mentioning.
Located in a space previously occupied by Lupita's, a ranchero bar that was, according to Fischbach, popular with gangsters, 1642 is long and narrow with simple decor enhanced by gorgeous vintage light fixtures.
There's no happy hour yet, but Fischbach hopes to launch one as soon as she has enough business. In the meantime, look for the Derby Dolls to step behind the bar for a charity fundraiser on May 7.
1642: 1642 Temple Blvd., Los Angeles; (213) 989-6836.