After a Fourth of July spent celebrating America's greatest cultural landmarks (and drinking lots of beer), Los Angeles is set to lose an institution of their own. With none of the fireworks or bunting, a simple post on the Tom Bergin's Tavern Facebook page announced their impending closure on Sunday night. "We are sorry to let everyone know that this Sunday will be Tom Bergin's last day of business," the post reads. "Please join us in our last few days."
The longstanding Irish bar and grill, opened in 1936, is actually one of the oldest currently operational restaurants in the city. And after a months-long renovation at the hands of Brandon Boudet of Little Dom's fame, Tom Bergin's reemerged last May with an updated, upscaled menu for the diners in the back, and the same hand-painted shamrocks on the ceiling at the bar. The hard-to-source whiskies and stellar corned beef were still around in all of their glory, making it our top pick this year for Best Miracle Mile Bar.
Understandably, the outcry of support has been immense. Most people replying to the Facebook post have offered condolences to the 77-year old haunt, or shared short tales of its life as a haven for 6 a.m. drinkers on St. Patrick's Day. Others have tried to build a little "Save Tom Bergin's!" momentum, though with a Sunday closing date that certainly seems unlikely.
A fair number of devoted fans are simply asking why. After a swift purchase by Boudet in 2011, followed by an eight-month closure that forced Tom Bergin's to miss their first St. Patrick's Day celebration in generations, why is the Irish pub closing now? Some attribute the interior scrubbing and revamped menu for the business' falter, suggesting that the owners were looking to recreate an Irish version of the popular Italian spot Little Dom's in Los Feliz. While hard-drinking Angelenos await official word from Boudet or his PR team, there are plenty of questions still left on the table. The only thing for sure at this point is the closure of Tom Bergin's Tavern, one of L.A.'s oldest and most beloved Irish pubs.
[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."
Of course, finding a buyer is likely to take some time. So, until then, you've got a few more days to grab one final pint at Tom Bergin's.
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