Two of Charles Bukowski’s favorite bars are in the news, as one goes up for sale and another changes hands.
17th Street Spot Bukowski Bar for Sale
When Bukowski lived in Philadelphia during the forties, the 17th Spot was his regular bar. It was the basis for the bar the Golden Horn in the Charles Bukowski penned film Barfly.
(Watch Bukowski’s cameo in Barfly below.)
The place obviously held a special place for him, even if these were tough times. He ran errands for the other patrons for pocket money, got in bar fights, and helped open the place more mornings than not for a while. He was young and living a type of free existence that, while not ideal for everyone, seemed to fit him and contain a certain amount of magic.
The 17th Street Spot went up for sale two years ago, but no one was interested in snatching up the place for the $1.2 million asking price.
The historic bar is now on the market again, at a reduced price. The Fairmount neighborhood, where the building sits, is experiencing a revitalization of sorts. Owners are likely hoping this development, along with the lowered list price and an impressive past, will help sell the location this time around.
King Eddy’s Saloon, “Last Skid Row Bar” Changes Hands
The Los Angeles dive was not only a favorite of Bukowski’s, it was also well known to one of his favorite writer’s, John Fante.
King Eddy’s was referenced in Fante’s Ask the Dust, a novel Bukowski fell in love with as a young man. The two men later became friends and Buk became a champion of Fante’s work, helping to get Ask the Dust back into print, as well as writing a new foreword.
The new proprietors of King Eddy’s, as quoted in an article published by the Los Angeles Downtown News, have made clear that they intend to keep the place pretty much as is, even while it will close for renovations for a short time.
The new owners do not plan to significantly change the bar — Leko said a renovation will be geared toward bringing the more than 90-year-old watering hole up to code. He expects to close the bar for a few months and reopen it in early 2013.
“The place has been, not neglected, but left alone for a long number of years,” he said. “We’re going to do our best to try and to bring King Eddy’s back a little bit. We’re not changing the name, not changing anything. We’re certainly not changing the location.”
This should come as good news to those who love the bar in its current skid row appropriate state, as well as for site seers looking for the real Charles Bukowski Los Angeles of old.
Bukowski once said, “When you clean up a city you kill it.” The same may be said of bars like King Eddy’s. Let’s hope the owners stay true to their word.
Charles Bukowski Cameo in Barfly