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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Storefront Report: Former Silver Lake gay piano bar prepares for a new tune

The Other Side bar in Silver Lake closed last weekend, with fans bemoaning the loss of a longtime gay hangout and one of the city’s last piano bars. Now, the new owners – a trio of friends – is preparing to turn The Other Side and adjacent Flying Leap Cafe on Hyperion Avenue into a “community pub” with a “rough-luxe” vibe.

“Our first thought was a ‘Super Cool Restaurant and Dive Bar’ combo,’” said Speaks, one of the owners, in an email. “Sports Bar was on the table. Then better judgment kicked in and the thought of ‘labeling’ ourselves was just all kind of wrong.”

That’s how the group settled on the community pub concept called Hyperion Public.

In addition to Speaks, one of the original owners of The Den of Hollywood Bar and Restaurant on the Sunset Strip, the Hyperion Public partners include Akida Mashaka, owner of  Hoagies and Wings, and film industry caterer Paddy Aubrey. Speaks and Mashaka had decided to team up and explore opening a spin off of Hoagies and Wings but decided to pursue a new concept when they discovered that the Other Side and Flying Leap were becoming available. “We’ve lived in and around here for a long time,” said Mashaka, who met his fellow partners while their kids attended the same preschool. “We see [Silver Lake] growing, changing … We want to be a part of that change. Hopefully make things better for the entire community for the future.”

New bar owners (l-r): Akida Mashaka, Speaks & Paddy Aubrey

Some members of the trio concede they were surprised by the disappointment many have expressed about the loss of another gay establishment. While Hyperion Public will not cater specifically to gays, everyone will be welcome.

“We are the community’s pub – gay, straight, Muslim, Jewish, Dervish, Sikh,” said Aubrey. The previous owner “spent a long time trying to find the right people. He had opportunities to sell before now, but he wanted people who cared about the neighborhood to breathe some new life into it.”

The new owners plan on making numerous changes to the interior, with a restaurant on the lower level, a classic lounge in the bar above and plans to open an outdoor deck for dining and drinks. Menu items will range from salads and healthy fare prepared with farmers’ market produce to comfort food ranging from fried chicken to mac ‘n’ cheese. Expect the bar to pour locally brewed beers and mix up spicy and traditional cocktails, wine and boozy punches.

Hyperion Public will not be a piano bar but live entertainment is planned, said Speaks.”We’re bringing live music, jazz, blues, lounge standards and even show tunes.”

Hyperion Public is expected to open in August.

45 comments

  1. Flying leap was one of the oldies but goodies, end of an Era how very sad…

  2. Can’t wait to do a pub crawl including Hyperion Public, Barbrix, Edendale and Blair’s. :)

  3. Lame. Might as well just build a f*%king Walmart next to it.

  4. I couldn’t be more excited for a new spot to open on Hyperion. And Walmart? Really? I fail to see how three locals opening up a new restaurant and bar that caters to the neighborhood and supports it is in ANY way Walmart-like. Please, don’t come to it. Less of a wait for the rest of us. I can’t wait for August.

  5. Jonellezolenelle

    A douche bar and a walmart are not the same thing. But this “rough-luxe community pub” is without a doubt the westside’s fist-pumping crowd’s first full fledged attack on Silverlake. Barbarella’s almost there, but it’s just weird and no one goes there. Good’s not so much a brotastic sports bar as an overpriced cafeteria with 20 TVs. Hopefully I’m wrong. However it seems like this place is much more appropriate in Santa Monica (The Parlor, Busby’s) than in Silverlake, and is probably just the first of many on the next wave of rich fratboy gentrification that now seems inevitable.

  6. Hoagies and Wings is not a good sign. Isn’t this idea basically what Barbarella is? Right across the street?

  7. Sounds great to me! It’s sad the old owners decided to sell but let’s not trash the new ones. How is a small business like Walmart? Anyway as an Afro- Cuban lesbian who loves sports and good food, I will def check them out:)

  8. “surprised by the disappointment many have expressed about the loss of another gay establishment.”

    Seriously? Surprised? By the closing of a bar with a LONG history? Obviously they didn’t do their research. What a sad end.

  9. Another big step into straighville for Silver Lake. Does anyone remember when Silver Lake as a gay neighborhood?

  10. Yeah every body welcome but the Irish. F**kn typical

  11. I’ll miss the flying leap cafe. I used to take my Mom there for breakfast when She visited LA. With this and the new place on the corner of hyp/griff this part of town will become an evening destination I can walk to! Plus We can hope Barbarella will fail soon and be replaced by something better.
    I never cared for piano bars of any persuasion. When they start opening straight piano bars around here then I’ll start complaining. UGH You know it’s coming…

  12. How exciting! Silver Lake has been begging for another brass and fern hangout. There really hasn’t been ANYWHERE you could go to find a locally crafted beer or farm to table fare in this part of town. You used to have to drive all the way to places like Hollywood for that. Kudos to the new owners in taking a such a bold step forward. Just because someone else is doing the exact same thing in the same neighborhood by replacing another iconic gay bar (Le Barcito) with another gastropub doesn’t make this a bad idea. Let’s cut these guys some slack! Luckily for those that didn’t get to start a food truck, open a coffee shop, or a German style sausage and beer hall, the gastropub bandwagon apparently still had some room on it. I’m sure this will be nothing like the dozens of other restaurants in this town that have ran with the exact same concept. I recommend stopping by the pack and mail up the block to buy some tape before going in, because you’re going to want to put some on your socks to keep them from being blown off! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some exposed brick and/or wood to go with my locally sourced chicken wings, while I watch some football with the bros and listen to some John Mayer at a deafening volume. It’s time to leave the things that made Silver Lake what it WAS in the dust! At least now Barbarella finally has some to competition to see who can go out of business faster! If all goes well maybe these guys can buy the Eagle and give it the much unneeded makeover nobody has been asking for. Wake up and smell the fair traded artisan brewed coffee everybody, your future is being served on your choice of a locally baked brioche or pretzel bun!!!

  13. Oooh! It so inclusive! Lame straight people can bring their one self-hating gay friend and show them what it’s like to be “tolerated” by the community.

    Suggestsd new name: Hyperion Public: The Clueless LLC.

  14. A heartfelt THANK YOU! To all of you all of you how wish us well! We truly appreciate it. Please “follow” us on Twitter or “like” us on Face Book or Send an Email to Info@HyperionPublic.com with your name and a little contact info… I’ll be sure you’re invited to the opening! The first party is on us!!

    We feel very luck and grateful to have this opportunity. Silver Lake, Los Feliz… Los Angeles… We won’t let you down.

    A very special Thank You!!!!!! To Mr. Paul Hargis… Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!! No words can say how great an honor, nor how much this means to us! We plan to make you very proud.

    And a BIG shout out to EastsiderLA! Thanks for meeting with us and seeing “The other side” of the story. No matter what, you know we got nothing but love, food and cocktails… and EVERYONE is welcome.

    Lots to do, so I’ll be going…

    Cheers and Best to everyone!
    Speaks
    Hyperion Public

  15. Yeah no one cares another bar yawn

  16. The level of hate and ignorance is astonishing. It is sad that the owner of Flying Leap decided to sell but pre-judgement of the new establishment is very interesting. I doubt there will be seperate waterfountains or bathrooms. I look forward to stopping by and meeting the new owners. Maybe the haters will too…

    • Thank you LA-Native! Haters love to hate. How about the community getting behind a black owned business in Silver Lake??

  17. All of the pro-Public House posts on this blog sound like they’re coming from the Publie House proprietors. People are skeptical because the concept sounds really tired. Even if the “super cool restaurant and dive bar combo” wasn’t the final direction, the fact that such a thought would enter your head and exit your mouth at any time doesn’t *speak well for the level of thought and imagination going into this place.

    And, “seperate waterfountains”? WTF does that mean?

    *Ha! Is this a person’s whole name? Like Madonna or Pele?

  18. Well, I’ll certainly check it out and judge it for myself. I have no excuse, I live around the corner.

    There’s nothing wrong with being straight, especially when it’s not exclusionary. If ‘gay’ centric is THAT important to anyone, they will move to west hollywood as most of Silver Lake’s gays have done in that last 2 decades plus. If it isn’t that important, they will toast a drink with the ‘straights’ here at any local silver lake joint.

    • Your comment isn’t true flea. Historically, gays tend to move into marginalized neighborhoods because that is where they have the most chance of acceptance and many gays are still at an economic disadvantage because of discrimination, tax laws (that’s why marriage is an impt. issue) etc.

      Then Gays tend to clean up these neighborhoods with nicely remodeled houses and lawns. Then the neighborhoods become less marginal. Then straights look around and go, “wow this is a really cute neighborhood let’s move in.”

      Then the rents go up because demand is up. Then younger gays coming up can no longer afford to live there, because believe it or not, there is still MUCH discrimination against gays in the workplace and everyday life. Then Gays basically get driven out of the neighborhoods they helped build.

      It happened in Silverlake and is currently happening in West Hollywood. In the Castro in San Francisco, the gayest “gayborhood” in the world, straight families have moved in – in recent years and then started complaining about some of the gay themed stores. Hello, it’s like moving next to an airport and then complaining about the plane noise.

      We’ll see just how truly Gay friendly the new bar is when it opens. Sounds just like a lot of political lip service to me because they know the hot topic this purchase was…..and they don’t want to flop like other nearby bars with similar concepts. Yeah, they want Gay money if it will help keep the place going, but what are their TRUE views. Will the owners raise an eyebrow if 2 men kiss in the bar? Are the owners liberals who support gay rights and marriage? What if an older gay couple who met at The Other Side (or Toy Tiger) 40 years ago (back when the LAPD used to raid the bar) come to celebrate their anniversary with a party at the very place they met….Will they owners TRULY accept them!? Are the owners going to give back to the Gay community because Silverlake still has a large Gay population (though isn’t what it used to be) since they are tapping themselves as a “community pub” and do themed nights like Dineout for APLA, etc.? There is a difference between tolerance and acceptance, and it is important to note the distinction. I’m glad progress has been made and there is more acceptance for everyone and gays are less marginalized, but let’s all just remember some Silverlake facts and history and already it sounds like on this thread people are trying to take away the culture and history, then rewrite it to not make them look bad. That is not accepting diversity, that’s making people conform to you.

      If they are truly going to be a “community pub” that welcomes and accepts ALL of diverse Silverlake in a historical, spritual room that has immense Gay history….only time will tell. But I think it is a bunch of politically correct lip service right now until they can sweep all of this under the rug. And also shame on the old owner as well, there were people across the country (i.e. owners of other Gay Piano bars across the country who would have been interested in expanding their brand) who would have kept the legacy alive. It was about money. I’m not taking sides, everyone’s guilty here.

      And Disclaimer here: I went to The Other Side about twice a year. I’m sad to see it go and it shouldn’t have gone especially since it was the last Gay Piano Bar in LA (other major cities like NY, SF, Palm Springs, etc. have several), but it seriously wasn’t that important to me, I wasn’t a regular by far…. I just need to tell it like it is…..it was an important and historical part of Gay LA that shouldn’t have been bulldozed to make way for yet another “Hipster Gastropub straight bar” just like the 9500 other empty ones in the city.

      • allwearesayingisgivepeaceachance

        Don’t complain, open up your own gay gastropub if you want, haha. Gay money and straight money is green, they’ll also accept visa and mastercard, happy now? You don’t sound so tolerant or accepting talking like that, hypocrite. Waaaa, gay history, waaa we’re being phased out, waaa. Shut it! Bottom line, you’re a bitch for complaining about something you haven’t experienced yet. ha.

    • Do you know personally any gay folks that moved from SL to WeHo? Seems far fetched to me……

      • I was a teenager when I moved back to SL around 1983. Shopping at your local market is a pretty good indicator of who lives in your ‘hood, and a walk through Mayfair (now Gelsons) then was very much different than a walk though it now, if you get my drift.

        Back then, as a teenager, I didn’t know any gay folks, at least ones that were open about it. Though I did have a neighbor who was gay, I moved out of that apt complex and didn’t know what happened to him.

        Dunno why you think this is so ‘far fetched’?? W. hollywood became a city in the ’80′s(?) and gay folks have flocked there in mass ever since. Is there a reason you think SL gay folks haven’t?

        Whatta ’bout you, how long have you been living and observing our SL neighborhood??

        • In my experience, 20 yrs, gay folks moved east to SL, not west to WeHo. Different demographic. Yes SL has changed: Detour, Cuffs, Basic Plumbing etc. all gone. None of that is due, IMHO, to gay men moving to WeHo.

          • the AIDS epidemic had a devastating effect as well……

          • Pretty much everyone I know has moved east, not west. Lots of gay people lived in Silverlake in the 1980s, and lots of gay people live in Silver Lake now. Many are the same people, but a bit older, more settled down and less likely to hang out in bars all the time. And yes, AIDS had a huge impact. Most of the younger gay folks I know moved to Echo Park, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Koreatown, etc. No one I knew was very into the whole piano bar thing though — then or now.

          • Why is it that 20-30 years ago, a walk through Mayfair market would observe maybe 40-50% (or more?) of the shoppers appearing to be ‘gay’ (hence the ‘Gayfair’ nickname), while today it appears to be down to maybe 10% at most? Is my teenage memory foggy on this?

            Is there a ‘gay’ census for SL? Is there agreement that there are a lower % of gays to straights here today than 20-30 years ago? And if so, it due to AIDS, migration to Echo Park, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Koreatown,…..but not to WeHo??

          • I have a gay friend who grew up here as a child, so almost 50 years and still here. I’m gonna ask his opinion, could be interesting….

    • Actually, Silver Lake was a very gay neighborhood and like eastsidearts said, most are no longer around because they are dead. Plus I think many in SL like it because it’s NOT gay-centric but has/had good gay options that are NOT like the bars in WeHo.

  19. Glad it’s not going to be another pet boutique!

  20. I plan to wait & see to judge it on its own merits. I’m not a fan of Barbarella, and despite liking the beer at Good I think their food sucks. Hopefully this iteration will be something we can all appreciate instead of another reason to see our neighborhood glass as half empty. That’s my story for now.

  21. sounds like mohawk bend plus meat.

    could be Ok, but a tired restaurant concept
    the other side was great, but the clientele was older and probably shrinking. I will be amazed if the food is better at the new place, it will definately be more expensive and more “artisinal”

    whattya gonna do? there are just less gays in silverlake now, so what? an evolution of a single neighborhood in Los Angeles

  22. Jennifer Knight Katz

    Now I have a reason to head south again, look forward to the opening Speaks!

  23. Do I have to play business consultant to everyone? Hyperion Public will open to great fanfare, all the “pub crawlers” will show up, and the minute another groovy spot opens they will move on. That is what they do. All the cool neighborhood people you will need to sustain a bisness in Silver Lake are strapped with mortgages and kids. They go out maybe once a month (if they can get a sitter) and this will not sustain any establishment. We had a great dive –CUFFS- that was handed over to the hipsters, it is now open sporadically and is basically a big waste. We had a Great Italian restaurant –GEONINO’S- it was remade as a hip bistro called SILA (short for silver lake) ha ha, get it, how cute. It went bust. Everyone keeps trying to remake our neighborhood for the cool people. The old alcoholic queens- yes that’s me- go out every night and drink until the bar closes. Go take a look at MJ’s and then look at Barbarella’s. The latter is on life support. It is a free country, and I guess anyone is free to waste their money opening another loozer dump that our neighborhood does not need or want. This pathetic attempt to “remake the hood” will fail soon enough. In the mean time I guess the old MO’s will be having lots of cocktail parties –my house next Thursday!!

  24. I just had a beer at the Flying Leap a couple of weeks ago. Bummer. I hope y’all did your homework. This is a very proud community that will support you if you treat them well, and if you don’t…cricket, cricket.
    I do love the idea of a pub crawl though.
    Now what’s happening with the old SILA space? I heard that Square One owns it now.
    Bottoms up everyone.

  25. The Other Side wasn’t just a “Gay Piano Bar”. There were many women and straight people who came in for the music. It’s sad that the last piano bar in LA has closed when it was still drawing a crowd and when people found out it was going away, the place was packed every night for a month. Obviously there’s still a market for it.

  26. The point is, The Other Side carried the legacy of a very special gay Silverlake/L.A. spot. Iconic, with a unique vibe and history. Sadly the new Public House won’t. I regret Paul Hargis made the decision to sell out in such a way. I put many $ in his pocket as a loyal customer over the years. I would have appreciated more discernment from him in his choice for the bar’s future.

  27. I don’t see why it’s okay to be prejudice against a restaurant bar just because it doesn’t cater specifically to gays. Why can’t gays and straights just coexist and be decent people together? I’m surprised that there is such an outrage of the flying leap closing because I wouldn’t expect the beautiful people of Silverlake, which is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, to be so stuck up about being gay. No one is telling you to change your ways of thinking. You can still go in to the restaurant whenever you would like and have a beer, or some wings. Hell, you can bring all your gay friends too! No one is going to come up to you and tell you that gays aren’t allowed in the bar. No matter what your sexual or religious preference is, or your ethnicity, you are more than welcome to come inside the place and be a part of the community, which doesn’t consist of only gays. So whenever all you haters are ready to coexist and be a community together, which is what this is all about, then come on in and enjoy yourself.
    And remember not knock it if you haven’t tried it!

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