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King Eddy Saloon


The Ghosts of Drinker's Past
The Ghosts of Drinker’s Past

You are about to cross the threshold of the King Eddy Saloon.

When you enter the King Eddy Saloon you are not just walking into a bar, you are bridging into history. Bukowski history and your liver quivers because you aren’t walking out of there, you’re crawlin’.

It’s just the respectful thing to do.

The King Eddy Saloon rests on the corner of East 5th and Los Angeles St. along Skid Row in a part of Downtown LA that has yet to be gentrified. Far from it.

It’s just as dirty as a public shitter in the Temple Bar district of Dublin.

Parked next to it and across the street from the saloon are two flop houses, the King Edward Hotel and the Baltimore Hotel; the bar attracting the loneliest of degenerates.

Homeless wonder the streets pushing their steel closets or in some cases themselves in wheel chairs and garbage spills out onto the street from each corner municipal can. On hot summer nights when the thick, humid air gathers some of that Santa Ana steam it wafts the aroma of ode de homelette and gutter piss right up your powerless nostrils.

Is it odd that I find this alluring?

I think it has something to do with my childhood. I grew up in New York City in the 1970’s. An age when New York City was broke beyond repair. A time when no one was safe and almost everybody was hungry.

But times have changed, not just for New York City and Downtown Los Angeles but inside the walls of the King Eddy Saloon. In the winter of 2013 it reopened its doors after being sold and it’s not the same King Eddy Saloon that Bukowski and John Fante squandered their organs in.

The bones of the bar are the same but they cleaned it up quite a bit, slapped some “Moulin Rouge” make-up on her face and tacked up some artist renderings of the more famous and devoted patrons of its illustrious past as an homage.

What was formerly a bastion for degenerate behavior and struggling poor souls is now the haven for proud card carrying members of the united brotherhood of hipsters.

Fortunately, this includes starving artists as well.

This is not a nock on anybody or the bar, it’s just different. It’s a different time. A different place. There just is no room for poverty anymore. No place at all.

The King Eddy Saloon is the first domino in its area to fall, the rest is soon to follow just like all the other pockets of DTLA.

Not that this is a bad thing, necessarily.

New minds and great artists will take ownership of the new space. They will wallow in their scotches and rage against the machine just as Bukowski did. They will just have to do it in expensive jeans and a Chase Platinum Credit Card.

Thankfully, the long time patrons, the OG Eddy’s, still stumble through their doors everyday for the $4 beers and $5 well drinks to keep it honest.

Hopefully that won’t ever change.