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Tom Bergin's is back. Some folks were worried the 76-year-old Irish pub's eight-month renovation might have sent Bergin's tumbling from grace. A few might have imagined in their bleakest moments that the doors would swing back open to reveal a "green" oxygen bar with shamrock-shaped throw pillows or a sleek, self-conscious gastropub. Devotees of the old Bergin's shouldn't stress: Like a beloved uncle emerging, refreshed, from a bender, the new edition is brighter, warmer and spiffier, but still the same beast.
Under the reign of restaurateurs Warner Ebbink and Brandon Boudet, who also own Little Dom's and Hollywood's 101 Coffee Shop, the booths are decked out in soft green leather. Royal-looking wooden beams still vault over the dining room. A mirror behind the semi-circular bar in the center of the main room makes the party look more hopping than it is -- which is not to say the party is not hopping with plenty of pep. At 6 p.m. yesterday, the evening of the official relaunch, Bergin's was bustling with well-coiffed ladies fresh from work, men in suits, trucker hat-wearing scruffballs, and, naturally, a fleet of smartly dressed bartenders and servers, many of whom added to the convivial spirit by bantering with customers -- something that always sounds better with an Irish accent.
As for the menu, the bar is baking pretzels in-house, offering steaks by the ounce and pouring an assortment of somewhat more upscale cocktails by Marcos Tello (the Varnish, the Edison, Seven Grand) poking, pricewise, into double digits. We recommend the Irish Maid, a Bushmills-and-cucumber concoction, and the Peeled Irish Buck, which is whiskey anchored in apple, ginger and lime.
However, if you show up tonight hoping to watch the Nuggets roll over against the Lakers, you'll be out of luck. The bar may be open, but televisions have yet to arrive.