A $15 glass of champagne? Echo Park’s Gold Room sheds its dive bar vibe to the dismay of many customers

ECHO PARK — “Natural ingredients based drinks”? A $15 glass of champagne?  $14 beer flights? What has happened to the Gold Room? The popular Sunset Boulevard dive bar has gone upscale after being closed for several weeks of remodeling.   The new look and vibe may attract new customers but it is not going over well with many of the old patrons.

The bar reopened last week with a message from longtime owner John Perez and family taped to the front window explaining the change inside:

“If you haven’t noticed it we have tried to keep up with the so often changing Echo Park. Changing throughout the years yet trying to stay true to the dive bar look. Now 2017 has brought in a whole new chapter to this story …. same owner but now with a new look and a whole new menu ….We realized some of you might see it and not feel at home but we want to reassure everyone that we will try our hardest to give the best service possible along new great quality products.”

Despite the owner’s reassurances, many Gold Room patrons have taken to Yelp!, Twitter and Instagram to voice their displeasure at the newest incarnation of the Gold Room:

“Way to ruin a great, local dive! The Gold Room used to be one of my favorite places to come hang out with EP’s finest, listen to Vicente Fernandez and Enanitos Verdes on the juke, enjoy some free tacos or shrimp soup, order a tequila shot + tall can for $4, and remember all the reasons why I love living on the east side and not in Venice. Unfortunately, much like most of the junction, this place has succumbed to the dark side that is overpriced hipster bars. No more micheladas?? If I wanted a fancy wine list I would head over to El Prado. Do you even know who your loyal clientele is? Truly the end of an era..” — Hazel A. on Yelp!

Read Daisy C.‘s review of Gold Room on Yelp

If customers are still searching for a dive bar experience in Echo Park, they might want to head over to El Chubasco, a few blocks east on Sunset. But you better hurry. The place already has its own Instagram.

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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  1. Looks like the owner is ready to cash in big time. He decided to jump on the bandwagon and starting raking in those sweet sweet hipster bucks.

    Only problem is his new “decor” looks like a tacky club in miami from the 90’s. Dude’s about to literally alienate every customer he ever had and I doubt anyone that can afford $14 drinks will be going to this tacky joint over the fancy luxury bars that already exist throughout Silver Lake, WeHo, HLP, and EP.

    • Exactly, who’s you’re customer? People with money and no taste? Those types of people aren’t loyal. The decor won’t fly.

  2. What about the Smog Cutter? Is it still there?

  3. There is nothing HIP about the remodeled Gold Room. Looks like a strip club with strip club drinks and prices. Beer list is terrible. You can go to any other place in Echo Park and get better beer for cheaper. Not really sure who they’re trying to appeal to…..Is Paris Hilton going to DJ there or something….

  4. new to the east side, never been there dont care. 🙂 lol

    • Then maybe you’re exactly the type of person we can blame for this — new transplants with no knowledge or regard for the history, heritage and changing face of the neighborhood. Only here because you heard all your NYC buddies talking about this hip, cheap neighborhood called “Echo Park.”

  5. Isn’t this the place that’s had all the assaults and stabbings? I know, it’s probably part of the genuine ambience. It keeps showing up on the crime blotter.

  6. I’m starting the timer now. I give them six months until they wake up or shut down.

  7. Out with the old, in with the new…don’t let the door hit you on your way to 7-11 to pick up that tall boy and reminisce about ol’ times.

    • Says the racist transplant living off a trustfund.

      • This is the country in which we live, besides, The Gold Room can’t be a sesspool forever. If you feel like more of a man by envisioning me as a racist trustfund transplant, that is your right, BUT, it’s not going to chang anything except maybe make your move to San Bernardino less painful since there was nothing you could do about LA being taken over by the rich 😉

      • I’m sure you have no problem with the poor transplants from third world.

    • A 1990s airport bar is not new.

    • As someone who would probably be classified as a “white hipster” when I lived in Echo Park from 2006-2016, I invite you to consider how racist and classist your comment is. Not everyone who is upset about this is a a neighborhood thung whining about the good ol’ days.

      My husband and I patronized the Gold Room because it was unpretentious, affordable and felt like Echo Park — not some cheap imitation of Los Feliz or Downtown. It was a place where Latino/a locals, “hipsters” and artists could congregate without feeling like they were outsiders. It was a place you could always count on for a good time. When you were broke, but still wanted to enjoy yourself, the $4 special was a godsend.

      Not everyone can afford a $15 drink, and there are LOADS of bars in a 2-3 mile radius that have the same menu and same “vibe” that Gold Room’s owners are going for. Why is someone going to go out of their way to go to the Gold Room when there’s tons of similar bars nearby? Gold Room had the dive market on lock in Echo Park and they threw it all away.

      • Thanks for the invite – considered it – your wrong. Go back to your dictionary and look up the work “racism” and report back to me – Thank you.

  8. So is El Chubasco the last dive standing in Echo Park?

  9. It looks like El freaking Chabasco will be the last stand against gentrification in Echo Park when it comes to bars and the nighlife. I hope you prejudiced yuppies, hipsters and “artists” who come from all over the country are happy with what you have done to Silver Lake, Echo Park and other parts of the actual eastside now and have introduced nothing but plastic soulless “upscale” businesses and jacked up the rent prices.

    • Yeah you’re right. A group of hipsters went up to the owner of this place and held a gun to his head and forced him to start charging more money!

      • Don’t let this guy under your skin. We all have to work to pay our rent/mortgage and most of us are capable of understanding this basic concepts. There is a very vocal minority that seems to feel entitled to all the big city benefits, but thinks they shouldn’t have to pay for it. There are plenty of low priced options in America without as many amenities that are affordable and probably immune to growth, but Los Angeles is not On the list. This guy is basically going to either grow up and get a job like the rest of us, or he is going to move inland (as in the inland empire) where his misery will be in great company.

    • My understanding is that the owner, who made this choice, is local and Latino. Unfortunately, I don’t think any race or demographic will frequent this place. If they want to compete with something like Cafe Stella, it’s gonna take a bit more than a 2 week SGV Strip-club looking remodel and some expensive, poorly-curated cocktails. Should have just put it up for sale as was.

  10. Now serving ONE social class only!

    • I’m sure everyone is welcome, but if you can’t afford to go there, I’m sure there are still places around with affordable drinks (and there is still 7-11 when that’s gone).

  11. At Least the odds of being stabbed or shot by one of the local thugs will decrease.

  12. Live free or die

    If you like the Gold Room, spend your money there. If you don’t, go somewhere else. That’s how it works in a free market economy.

  13. Been there plenty times PRE gentrification era. The warm tacos and friendly ladies nevwr hurt me

  14. Free market sounds good until the inevitable recession hits and/or fossil capitalism scorches the earth with unbearable heat waves and wildfires that firefighters can no longer contain and then of course….you cant go to your local pub cuz u been priced out….darn it

    • The free market gives you the right to make your own decision – stay in LA and pay higher prices due to increased demand for goods, services, rent, and real estate -OR- leave LA for a lower priced city with affordable housing and cheap neighborhood bars…and who knows, maybe you could even BUY your own house of condo with a reasonable fixed 30 year mortgage. You see, the free market gives YOU the power to solve your own problem. Now if you want the government to solve your problems (via communism and socialism), you are simply in the wrong country (although I’m sure you wouldn’t be very happy given the choice to either work or be jailed). Now stop complaining and do something to make your life better!

      • Land use is completely divorced from the “free market” in this country (and especially in LA), so telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, while ignoring exclusionary zoning/finance is kinda missing the forest for the trees, no?

        We’re fully capable of building cheap and abundant housing if it were legal (and profitable) for average landlords and investors to get in the game. LA is like 90% surface parking, strip malls and single family homes… we could build infill density for a thousand years before we start running out of land.

        • I agree that our zoning and building codes make affordable housing impossible in Los Angeles, but these rules are put in place by the people WE vote into power – something that will most likely never change in CA. So, rather than complain about stuff we can’t change, why not focus on what we can change? There are plenty of states that have a pro-development mentality (enforcing land rights, flexible building policies, and cheap permits). As a result, affordable housing and growth is abundant in these states. We can solve our own problems simply by moving to a more affordable area of the county where the possibility of home ownership is a reality, not a dream. So in conclusion, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make a better life for yourself!

  15. How bout homeowners in 2008, what did the free market do for them?. Life is great, no complaints btw

  16. As a newish EP’er of 4.5 years, the only spots I habitually frequent are Taix, Sunset Beer, Woodcat and El Compadre. Occasionally, Lot 1. Not a fan of most of the other places that have opened up. The redevelopment of Sunset, seems forced, ephemeral, with a high turnover of new businesses suggesting greedy landlords and few genuinely great new additions to serve new or old residents. Look at The Lost Knight, an empty depressing hulk after 3 years – Barragans might have been a bit divey, but it was fun, cheap and most importantly, packed.

  17. El Chubasco’s instagram says it’s closing its doors on July 30.

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