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Echo Park’s last dive bar pours its final drink

The former El Chubasco dive bar in Echo Park

The former El Chubasco

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.

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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26 comments

  1. Out with the old, in with the new – suckas’!

  2. Does the Short Stop not count as a dive bar?

    • You obviously never went to El Chubasco.

      • Yeah I wasn’t really in the mood to get stabbed, so I never made it out to this “neighborhood treasure” 🙂

        • Maybe because I was in the company of my highly dangerous bicycle gang, but I never felt like I was in much danger the time I visited a few years back. Some curious looks from some of the patrons, but the bartender was happy to take our money and serve us beer.

          • Online commentator during the day, super scary biker bro at night, sure… You guys do cosplay too?

          • @TheRealMonty I think your chances of getting stabbed there were pretty slim… mostly older men, some ficheras and a pool table if memory serves.

  3. That’s a bummer… but not surprising.

  4. A beer garden is opening on this stretch of Sunset?

    • Yeah. German beer garden with wood patio on the hill under trees with picnic tables and walk up window and bike shop on first floor.

  5. Why is vegan bodega in quotes?

  6. That place was a cowboy stab fest.

    • So… are you a cowboy?

    • Angelena from the heights

      No, it was not any kind of “stab fest.” That’s ridiculous. I can’t believe you actually spent any time there. I live up the stairwell and am, was, a regular. It was a lovely place. Everyone there was kind, and welcoming. it simply wasn’t white, and it wasn’t fancy. It was an old style mexican bar. I never witnessed any violence there, not even the vaguest possibility of it. They even offered tamales to their patrons. I will miss El Chubasco dearly.

  7. Every one is entitled to there opinion and I respect that.
    Maybe back in the day it was bad idk but to me it was one of the last bars where they tried to get to know you as a person not a customer. They get a bad rap cause they didn’t fall in to all these changes that are happening. The funny thing you heard this & that but you never seen all this drama or heard like these other bars they didn’t have security. We truly let go of something that was worth saving. Yes I was a customer & do miss the place.

    • I don’t have a lot of patience for businesses and residence that don’t maintain their property to some simple minimum standards – dispose of the trash, pick the weeds, remove/repair broken fences and appurtenances, etc. These types of issues require little to no money (just a few hours 1-2 times a month), but demonstrate an appreciation for the home/business and the neighborhood.

      I never visited the bar, but the broken sign signals to me that the owner/management didn’t care enough about the business and neighborhood to fix an obvious problem. I’m glad to see it go and be replaced by something/omeone who actually wants to maintain their property and beautify the neighborhood, even if the drinks go up in price.

      • Like always people never been in the area or the place & judging..
        But hey it’s gone & let the over priced beers poor in those dollar tree mugs..

      • I don’t have a lot of patience for people who complain without knowing the situation.
        The sign was only broken recently, since the bar has closed. They always kept up the area outside the bar clean while they were open.
        It seems the only people who are disparaging this place are folks who never actually went inside.

        • Whatever – Go pick up the garbage in your yard and fix your iron fence please.

          • Aww your mad were all just giving our opinion & saying what went on that’s all..
            You call yourself a boss & get mad over some comment

  8. From a source in the know, that whole building is going the way of high end residential like the direction the rest of that area is headed.
    Here come the condos…

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