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King Eddy invites all to drink, tour and revel in the landmark dive bar before it closes

By Hayley Fox
Published: Wednesday, December 05, 2012, at 09:38AM
King Eddy Andres Aguila/KPCC

The King Eddy's last day open is Dec. 16. After that, it will be closed down, renovated and reopened under new ownership.

Decades-old, landmark dive bar the King Eddy Saloon will be closing in less than two weeks after being bought by the developers known for new DTLA watering holes and restaurants, including The Library Bar and Pizza Urbano.

The King Eddy, located on the outskirts of Skid Row on the corner of 5th and Los Angeles streets, is currently under the ownership of Dustin Croick. He's the last in a long line of family members who've run the bar since the '60s when his grandfather purchased it.

But the bar's pint-sized kitchen that churns out hot dogs and chicken wings, along with its indoor smoking area and eclectic collection of neon beer signs, will soon be no-more -- or at least, very different.

Croick said the bar's impending closure isn't "depressing" but rather something he's trying to embrace and have fun with. And what better way to toast the King Eddy's final days then with a discount drink? The L.A. Weekly reports that Croick launched a "Drink the Eddy dry" happy hour that lasts 24-hours a day, every day, until the bar closes (or they run out of booze.)

The Los Angeles Visionaries Association (LAVA) is also hosting a tour this weekend of what used to be the bar's speakeasy space. On Sat. December 8 from 7 to 8 p.m., four tours of no more than 15 people will get to descend the steep stairs into what is now a storeroom and learn about one aspect of the King Eddy's role in Downtown history.

"The basement speakeasy and tunnel mouth beneath the King Eddy is a rare time capsule that powerfully evokes the lost Downtown Los Angeles of the 1920s, when the mayor's office and police force collaborated on a massive underworld operation," LAVA co-founder Richard Schave said in a statement. "On nearly every tour I give in this part of the city, people express a fascination with this history and a desire to get inside the King Eddy cellar, so we're going to show it off while we still can."

December 16 will be the bar's last day before being closed down, renovated and reopened by the new owners. Owner Michael Leko said he and business partner Will Shamlian will keep the saloon's name the same, but change the aesthetics. And possibly, the current 6 a.m. open time.

"A lot of people I know, they go to King Eddy's and they've gone for years," Leko told Blogdowntown in June. "They're going to be able to continue to go, but it'll be cleaned up a bit."

Leko added that their renovation plans include redoing the bathrooms, replacing the bar, creating a new food menu and giving the place a complete plumbing and air conditioning overhaul.

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