OMG The Greyhound Bar & Grill is Open!
Yesterday, nightlife on Figueroa in Highland Park changed drastically. It was the much-anticipated Grand Opening of The Greyhound Bar and Grill in the 1922 Commercial National Bank Building at Figueroa and Avenue 56. The space that was previously occupied by the long-suffering Salvadoran restaurant, La Arca Pupuseria. This marks a milestone for the Figueroa section of Highland Park. Whereas Highland Park’s York Blvd has been booming with new businesses for the past six years, and Eagle Rock before that, Figueroa’s business district on Historic Route 66 has languished. As far as nightlife goes, the options on Figueroa were limited. We could see a movie at the Highland Theatres, walk by Mr.T’s Bowl and curse Joseph Teresa’s son, John for running it into the ground, get a drink and listen to a DJ at 1933 Group’s La Cuevita Bar (née The Little Cave), check out an occasional Friday night art opening at Slow Culture (formerly, THIS Gallery), have some Pho at Goodgirl Dinette, or maybe catch a live show and drink with old men at the American Legion Hall on Avenue 55. It was often more convenient or desirable to take the Gold Line to Pasadena or DTLA, rather than make a night within the 90042 bio-dome.
But now, we have a genuine watering hole. A place to eat, drink, socialize, and watch sports until 2AM. All in the very walkable and transit-friendly heart of Highland Park.
The Greyhound Bar & Grill is quite a surprise for our humble neighborhood. It makes sense here, but it at the same time, it feels too good to really be here. I will let the foodies and the terminal complainers on Yelp do the restaurant critiquing. What I will say from this quick visit, is the professionalism and helpfulness of the staff here left quite an impression; a level of service we Highland Parkers are not accustomed to in our hometown. The place looks great. It is dimly lit, with 1922 tile flooring, the original picture windows, and finished wood throughout. Food and drinks are ordered at the bar and brought to unreserved booths and tables that fill the remainder of the room. The walls are adorned with framed photos showing historic Highland Park with the Franklin High School band in front of the Highland Theatre, and the original Boy’s Market that stood on Monte Vista and Avenue 55. The wallpaper is a mix of Scottish tartans and historic Highland Park photos from the Los Angeles Public Library photo archive. There are two TV’s showing sports, which is usually annoying, but for Highland Park this is perfect. Until last night, there was really only one place in 90042 where you could go watch sports with a crowd. (El Pescador at Fig and 52. And that is only if you if you enjoy watching international futbol matches.) The place is loud. real loud. Kids are OK here, but for kids it is not as great as one would hope in such a family-centric community. One particular impressive contemporary feature of The Greyhound is that they have twice as many lavatories for women as they do for men. Which any lady will certainly appreciate.
The bar looks really good. Stacked with quality spirits and lots of room for more. They have 20 beers on draft. Unfortunately, the tap handles are a bit hard to read in the dim light, and the beer menu had a few mistakes as well as lacked the ABV percentages. But gratefully there is NO HIPSTER Pabst Blue Ribbon. (Although, if you’re so inclined, there is Old Milwaukee 12oz cans for $4, and Schlitz tall boys for $5) Like any decent bar in Highland Park, they actually serve THEE BEST (IMHO) Scotch Whisky money can buy: Highland Park. (Obviously.)
Another great benefit to this new establishment is the spill-over effect such places bring to the neighborhood. Last night I witnessed foodie tourists checking out the Highland Theatre, people in line bailing for Good Girl Dinette, Follieros, and Chez Antoine, and kids-in-tow leaving The Greyhound to get smoothies at La Palapa. But the best part of The Greyhound Bar & Grill opening on Figueroa and Avenue 56, is that at last, local neighbors will now have a place to wait-out late night neighborhood lock-downs! Next time there is a manhunt in the neighborhood, this is where you will find me. Cheers!