As referenced in our Henry Rollins cover package this week, a 1924 abandoned Baptist church in Hermosa Beach hosted some of the most influential punk bands in the SoCal scene's nascent days, like the Descendants, Circle Jerks, Redd Kross, and, of course, Blag Flag; some of the latter group's members even lived there.
"The Church" was demolished decades ago, but last year a punk-inspired steakhouse was born on the site, called Abigaile Restaurant. So, in honor of our Rollins issue we grabbed a meal there!
Abigaile arrived in February 2012, taking the place of another steakhouse, Union Cattle Company. Abigaile owner Jed Sanford had long been into bands like Bad Brains and Fugazi, and after seeing Penelope Spheeris' classic 1981 documentary The Decline of Western Civilization -- which features a scene inside the Church -- had the idea to open Abigaile and honor the location's roots.
When you walk inside the restaurant-bar, its trendy ambiance and on-site brewery don't scream punk; the dim lighting and large windows overlooking the ocean make it seem pretty upscale, actually.
But the walls are spray-painted with phrases like "Punk Isn't Dead" and stenciled with logos for the Misfits, Germs and Black Flag. The tagging, it turns out, was a collaborative effort with tattoo artist Fletcher Dragge (founding guitarist of Pennywise) and the rest of his team at 3rd Street Tattoo.Sanford went so far as letting the tattoo parlor's artists come in and do what they would to the walls. It's all pretty cool looking and, as a result, the place has something of an edge.
As for the food itself? It's got an edge too, though, like Pennywise, it's also fairly accessible. The fried chicken, for example, is served with gherkins and remoulade, while the bacon is baked with smoked-pork confit and gruyere in a flaky crust. The burrata, meanwhile, is drizzled with truffle oil and spiced honey. The general theme seems to be classic dishes or ingredients, turned on their head. We enjoyed it. One thing's clear, however: