ECHO PARK — The bar sign has been busted, with plastic fragments and letters scattered across the sidewalk. Inside, workers were cleaning out the dark interior. What happened to El Chubasco, the last of Echo Park’s dive bars? A man declined to answer any questions before drawing a blue curtain shut across the doorway.
Late last week the bartenders surprised patrons by saying the Sunset Boulevard bar would close over the weekend. The bartenders did not say why El Chubasco was closing after about three decades, but the bar’s Instagram offered a farewell: “Like everything has to come to a end .. July 30 is the last day were open.”
Some say that the bar has been sold. But a check on state records shows that the bar’s alcohol license expired on July 31, and there’s no indication that it was being purchased.
El Chubasco was once part of a string of dark and dingy Sunset dive bars that catered primarily to working class Latinos and Mexican immigrants. One by one, they have closed or been upgraded to appeal to a new generation of drinkers and a gentrified neighborhood. Last month, The Gold Room unveiled a makeover that includes $15 glasses of champagne.
El Chubasco held on even after Echo Park’s gentrification crept east on Sunset, where a beer garden is planning to open on the same long block with a coffee house, boutiques, boxing gym and a “vegan bodega.”
El Chubasco was included in a 2013 World Dive Bar Tour.
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Cecilia Padilla-Brill is a communications writer and journalist. She writes news, health, education and feature stories. Cecilia is currently working on her first novel. She has lived in Echo Park since 1999.
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