Little Joy Sneak Peak: The bar is nice but look at that ladies room

Behold the bathroom. Photo by Hussein Katz

For several months now Little Joy has been locked up tight as new owners gave the Echo Park hipster dive bar a makeover that features a contemporary, industrial-style with Art Deco touches.  Echo Park resident Joaquin Reyna-Donaldson and business partner Don Andes added a new oak bar and DJ booth but kept some of the original features and fixtures – including the pool table and even bars on some windows.  There is one part of the bar where the new owners, and many of the patrons, were not so nostalgic about: the restrooms. The old Little Joy mens and ladies restrooms were so notorious that many a Yelp! review – included a mention of the dire conditions to be expected:

The band was great and the drinks were cheap.Everything else was not so great… Bathrooms were atrocious (floors were completely soaked with who knows what) – Bethany B.

I have indeed seen coke all over the bathroom at certain points but hey whatever floats their boats? – Monica S.

When I stepped out of the stall [two women] had handfulls of hair and were clawing at each other. Full on GIRL FIGHT! I dodged their swings and washed my hands, quietly sneaking out so as not to get sucked into it. DeAnne D.

In contrast, the new Little Joy restrooms are, well, a joy to behold.  Said a spokeswoman for the bar:

The women’s restroom is HUGE. Three stalls, a large mirror and shelf, and those bars you see on the windows were already a fixture of the bathroom but have been fixed up and made a focus of the room.

The new ladies room, and bar, are scheduled to be open for business in time for the Dodger season opener on April 1. The Echo Park bar still needs some last-minute dressing up and decorative touches but here are some photos of what to expect:

The bar/Photo by Hussein Katz

The pool table/Hussein Katz

The ladies room/Hussein Katz


  1. wow. i can’t believe i’m looking at the same bar. nice work!

  2. I really wish they had gotten rid of the pool table though……

  3. FrameMonsterMike


  4. Ugh i hope the prices don’t go up too much…

  5. Um, why in the hell would they do that to this classic spot? This is the most uncool looking bar that I would never hang out at. I guess they’re catering to a different clientelle? (read: boring yuppies who are better off hanging out in West Hollywood)

    • good, then we won’t see you there.

      little joy was far from classic in its last 2 or 3 incarnations–it was disorganized and sketchy and grim.

      looks to be a new classic. good work!!

    • I like a good dive bar, but that place was an absolute hellhole, bordering on shithole for the past 5+ years. Good riddance. Stoked about the new place.

  6. It’s going to be harder to vomit on the ceiling now.

  7. The lil joy had some epic times circa ’04-07!!
    Congrats fellas… Bring back the mojo!!

    Disco stu don’t advertise

    • Aye, that it did, laddie, that it did…

      I’ll always remember election night in ’08 as the last stand of old Joe’s Little Joy, and the rousing rendition of “God Bless America” sung in all earnestness, I believe the first and only time that song was sung in that bar.

      Miss those days!

  8. Gahhhhhh. Remodel the bathrooms, sure. But can we not keep some shitty bars here and there?

  9. It has no personalty.

    • So dam true ! I wish I can say it feels like echo park . But from sitting in front of my screen looks soooo coldddd ! I met my wife there may 4th 2001 . All we can do know is visualize the past .. VQ

  10. Honestly ? It looks like It is suited for prostate exams and pap smears !
    too esoteric ……………..

  11. Well, at least women now have a nice place to escape to when the 25:1 male to female ratio at Little Joy gets too overwhelming.

  12. Nice bars on the windows!

  13. The bars at the Americana have more soul…

  14. Omg NO!!!! A bar that isn’t covered in literal human feces??!! Boo. Bring back the ability to catch airborne AIDS. Uhh how do you people even own computers?

  15. I hope they get a better DJ.

    The DJ they had on the weekends was so terrible we actually would pop in from time to time to hear what horrible songs are being smashed together on our way to other establishments.

    My personal favorite was Darude – Sandstorm scratched together with Sublime – Santaria

  16. take it they’re not selling Doritos anymore

  17. So….cat fights, coke and wet floors cant happen in the new bathroom? Drench every picture above in alcohol and lets see how it looks then. These are well lit empty pics. Pour some drinks, turn up the music and move on. Plus its not the place, its the people.

  18. I had some fine nights at the previous incarnation of Little Joy and some nights that were awful. I was there when a guy got stabbed in the front doorway one hot summer night. Yeah, call me soft, but I still enjoy hanging in a bar where I don’t have to worry about that kind of crap (much). Another time I had a group of cholos try to bait me and a friend into a fight. We promptly took our business elsewhere. Another night a DJ played cut after tasty cut of tremendous hip hop that got the whole crowd celebrating life in a way I don’t often see here in Echo Park. I always felt, however, the drinks were a tad too pricey for the kind of dive they were getting served in and the service was sporadic at best. Those bathrooms were decidedly gross. Upgrade? Why not? On a personal note, I really want a bar in my neighborhood to have a legit dartboard or two!

  19. I appreciate the remodel, but I’m actually surprised there’s not more build out, that the lay out is exactly the same. I’ll hit it a few times to see if this new look creates a better atmosphere or if it’s just a little spit-shine

  20. So GLAD you didn’t get rid of the pool table!!

  21. Whoa! Looks completely different. I hope they kept the dj booth area, and will still have fun music.

  22. Booooring! Where’s the personality in this?

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