MONUMENTS IN TIME: GOLDEN GOPHER

A safe haven, a sanctuary, a refuge.  A place to seek shelter and find someone who will listen.  What’s in the glass is great, but it is the people inside that have made it home for so many for so long.

Oh, the things you would have seen if you were born in 1905.  The austerity of prohibition coupled with 1920’s corruption. An economic depression when despair found solace in a shot glass of whiskey.  Two world wars and America’s first social security check.  You experienced a cold war and a cultural revolution, the first yuppie, the decadence of rock ‘n’ roll and the demise of disco.  You could likely, even vividly, recall that expression of indebted relief from a weary traveler as you directed him to the nearest pay phone or patrons gathering to share stories after an earthquake.

While barely a scant handful of people can claim to have witnessed so many milestones, edifices and the memories that live there never die. What was once forlorn and forgotten can be revived to exuberant life.  The Golden Gopher has been there, done that, and still lives to tell the tale.

Originally purchased by Teddy Roosevelt and probably the only bar purchased by a United States president.

Add to that a grandfathered dual liquor license that still allows them to sell premium spirits and six-packs to go, and you have nothing less than a legendary, if not mythical, watering hole destined to endure for eternity.  Eyewitnesses claim they have seen ghosts on occasion, but that could be the dark mirrors and chandeliers playing optical illusions on drunken merrymakers.

Refusing to go down in defeat, The Golden Gopher was purchased by acclaimed 213 Hospitality with interior divinations brought to you by Downtown Patriot Ricki Kline in 2011. It was the spark of a newfound hospitality renaissance with no signs of waning.   

With its plush banquettes and an outdoor patio with city views, there’s still enough of a dive bar vibe to keep the hipsters happy.  But what really keeps everyone coming back, according to Golden Gopher, General Manager, Francois Houlard, is the “camaraderie between the staff and our guests.”

Unanimous praise for the attentive and accommodating bartenders.  A drink not to your liking?  No problem, the seasoned staff (some who have been there forever) are never happy unless you are.

The Golden Gopher may be packed to the brim on weekends and the pizza you can now order from next door Pellicola is just as much a hit as is the pool table, jukebox, and vintage Pac-Man arcade game.   And to show their gratitude and commitment to the community, they donate $1 from every sale of their best-selling drink the Moscow Mule to help end the cycle of homelessness that plagues Downtown LA. So, let the spirits pour (and live) at Downtown’s older bars. 417 W. 8th Street, LA 90014.