“From Holsters to Hipsters”: A former Echo Park cop bar celebrates a decade of change

Crews working on the “Rampart Scandal”  movie had been shooting scenes across Echo Park last week, from a hillside in Elysian Park to Barragan’s restaurant on Sunset Boulevard. But the cast, featuring Woody Harrelson, and crew skipped over one neighborhood locale made infamous by the late 1990s corruption scandal, the Short Stop bar. It was here, at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Sutherland Street, where former Rampart Division cop Rafael Perez claimed that officers of the now disbanded anti-gang unit named CRASH celebrated shootings  and misdeeds at the cop bar.  The scandal not only turned the LAPD upside down, it was also proved bad for business at The Short Stop, where the cop regulars stayed away as the investigation dragged on. Faced with a drop in business, the cop bar changed hands 10 years ago this month, purchased by a group that included former Afghan Wigs band member Greg Dulli. Six months later, an L.A. Times story wrote about the bar’s transformation in a story headlined “From Holsters to Hipsters.”

A decade later, the windowless bar helps anchor the eastern end of Echo Park’s thriving nightlife strip. Short Stop owner Oliver Wilson said the “Rampart Scandal” production team never approach him about filming scenes in the bar. However, he said they did talk to him about using the bar to hold a wrap-up party.  Wilson is planning his own, private year-end party to celebrate a decade of ownership:

“It’s crazy thinking back to when we opened when it seemed that [this] end of Sunset was a dark dusty Siberia. Everybody said it was too far out of the way. It took a fair amount of thought to decide to keep its name and hold on to its history, which I found fascinating and priceless. We opened it Dec 31 2000/01. Hard to believe.”

The making of “Rampart Scandal” has the Los Angeles police union and others worried it will once again tarnish the reputation on the rank and file though only four officers were eventually convicted.   Will the movie hurt business at the Short Stop? Wilson apparently does not think so. “I’ll definitely go and see the film.”


  1. I’m looking forward to seeing this film when its released. I wasn’t living here yet when the scandal went down, so I feel like I missed something that for better or for worse, is now a part of LA’s history.

  2. I was there, I worked as a police dispatcher, man the cops would come in with confiscated crack, show it to the cop groupies and they would walk to the back parking lot, upon return the women had OWL looking eye’s lit on crack and the coppers would be returning zipping up there pants from a crack induced blow job, oh the stories I could tell you. Everbody remembers when the guy tried to hold up the short stop. The robber had a gun, once he said this is a hold up he had 37 guns pointing back at him. The man pissed his pants and cried out don’t shoot me.

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