ECHO PARK — Exposed brick and dark wood dominate the interior of The Semi-Tropic, a new bar and cafe taking shape on Glendale Boulevard, a strip lined with fast-food restaurants (a KFC is right next door) but no place to sip a craft beer or order an organic bean salad.
Sunset Boulevard is where most of Echo Park’s independent bars and restaurants are located. But Semi-Tropic is seeking to capture and shift some of that scene to Glendale Boulevard.
“We think our stretch of Glendale could stand to have more life on it and some nicer places with more character,” said Daniel W. Finley, who co-owns the Semi-Tropic with Eren Magri. “The Semi-Tropic has a strong music focus, and we think that is really compatible with being located nearby to the Echoplex, Origami and Mono Records, Bedrock, etc.”
Finley and Magri had worked as lawyers and bartenders before deciding to open Semi-Tropic, named after The Semi-Tropic Spiritualists Association, which was once active in the hills of Echo Park and Elysian Heights. “We’ve tried to incorporate some references to the Spiritualists in our design, where we went for a ‘forest seance vibe,'” he said.
The approximately 2,100-square-foot space with seating for 72 people will lead a double life, serving as a cafe by day with coffee drinks, pastries, sandwiches and salads and a “neighborhood beer and wine bar” at night that serves locally brewed beer, according to an application filed with the city.
Semi-Tropic may open as soon as Friday if health inspectors give their final approval, Finley said. The beer-and-wine license is still pending but the Finley and Magri will go ahead and open the cafe for breakfast and lunch.
Neighbors raised concerns about noise and the lack of off-street parking for Semi-Tropic. The owners had arranged for validated, off-street parking at the Citibank building but that won’t be offered until the beer and wine license is issued, Finely said
This story has been updated with responses from Finley and Magri
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