Silver Lake’s Red Lion Tavern plans a revival

Silver Lake —  In an era of vegan beer gardens and acai bowls, the Red Lion Tavern is definitely a throwback.  Long-time patrons down tall glasses of German beer and devour sausage platters in the dark and cluttered bar.

But now after 60 years in business, the owners are planning an upgrade  in a bid to attract more customers in a neighborhood with numerous new places to eat and drink.

The owners are seeking city permission to continue to serve a full line of beer and alcoholic drinks as they  expand the kitchen and outdoor patio as well upgrade restrooms and storage areas.  The Red Lion (which actually started out as a British-themed pub) also wants to extend its hours and make other improvements, like landscaping its parking lot.

These and other changes are part of a plan to boost business, which has been sagging during the past five years, a representative with the Red Lion said at a recent meeting of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s land use committee.

“We want to continue that legacy,” said Stephanie Powell, according to preliminary minutes of the meeting. “However, we’ve experienced dwindling sales. We want to restore profitability. We want televisions on the patio, with normal volume. We also want modifications for greater indoor entertainment.”

Committee members expressed a combination of support and concern about the tavern’s plans. Some worried about increased noise as well as the impact on street parking.

More meetings and public hearings are planned to review the changes proposed at the Red Lion.

But not everything will change.

In response to a question from the audience, a Red Lion rep said that it’s signature sausage plate would remain on the menu.

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  1. I am all for updating the Red Lion. They have a decent beer selection and it’s nice to have a place to sit outside. However, a big thumbs down for “televisions at a normal volume” on the patio. If they really want to stand out from the crowd, they’ll be one of the very few bars around not constantly playing sports and encouraging loud, yelling crowds. Or at a minimum, they’ll be unique by truly being a German Biergarten and only show sports relevant in Germany, such as soccer. Otherwise, with baseball, football and basketball blaring on tv’s, they’ll become just like the other 99% of the bars in LA. Boring.

    • Excellent comment, Trish!

      Yes, don’t become just be like everyone else. People like Red Lion because it is not the same, it is a touch of German culture, not sports bar culture.

      I also worry about the pans to expand the patio, which is on what once was parking, and whatever this “landscaping” of the rest of the parking area is. Red Lion is surely short of parking already, there is none to spare. More parking spaces might bring in more customers.

    • Are you reading this, Red Lion: NO TVs!

  2. I go frequently specifically BECAUSE of its downtrodden charm which, I suppose, is not for everyone. But yeah, PLEASE update the men’s room, but leave everything else untouched. Patio TVs on for big games/awards shows/political events only, please, because I don’t like TVs in my bars.

  3. Tragic. More death to tradition in the name of a few extra grand a week.

  4. Boo, on TVs on the patio! Not a welcoming idea.

  5. There are residents that live directly behind the Red Lion. They have to abide by a noise ordinance, or be shut down.

  6. The Red Lion is my favorite bar in the city. For the love of all that is sacred, NO TVs ON THE PATIO! PLEASE! So many conversations with friends, colleagues there in the past. Perhaps why it has lost profitability is that it has gotten so expensive. When two beers set you back $20 its hard to stay for more than the two…

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