There's no question that Silver Lake lost one of its most beloved cultural touchstones when the Other Side, the gay piano bar with a 40-year-plus history, closed in June. Patrons weren't much soothed when the news came that a sports bar and family-friendly restaurant would replace the bar, as well as adjacent space the Flying Leap.
During our editorial meeting the week before the bar's closing, one staffer explained that three dads who met at their kids' preschool had decided to open a place together because they felt there weren't enough places in the neighborhood to go with your kids and get a beer. A groan went around the table. Isn't that what's wrong with Silver Lake? Too many dads and their toddlers, looking for a beer and some mac and cheese?
Hyperion Public opened about a month ago, serving standard American pub food with a kids menu and a full bar in back. In front is a tastefully decorated, wood-accented dining room. The bar area in back still has some of its vintage feel -- circular black booths, pressed tin ceiling. But the large flat-screen television over the bar broadcasting sports kind of ruins the feel. Give me a piano over a flat-screen any day.
There are wings that aim to be spicy but instead smack of salt, a virtuous but slightly bland quinoa salad, and a big, juicy $14 burger with decent, floppy fat fries. There's a small selection of beers on tap, including Allagash White and Allagash Black. There's regular mac and cheese and a version with truffle oil and smoked gouda that costs $4 more.
It's not fair to hold this spot up against the Other Side in terms of cultural worth, but unfortunately that's what residents of a neighborhood do. Hyperion Public provides Silver Lake with a relaxed spot to drink beer, feed your kids and maybe watch the game. The food is decent but not particularly noteworthy. There's occasional live music in the bar, although unfortunately, your chances of hearing a dapper 70-year-old gentleman singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" are slim to none.