An article published in the LA Times takes a deep dive into how Barney’s Beanery West Hollywood located at 8447 Santa Monica Blvd., is currently riding a wave of popularity among a hip Gen-Z crowd thanks in part to celebrities like Selena Gomez who made headlines for hanging out at the almost 100-year-old dive bar in WeHo, located doors away from the Holloway House, which is sister to the SoHo House.
The Times describes a diverse crowd of fifty-somethings and twenty-somethings forming a line along Santa Monica Boulevard outside Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood on a Saturday night. Some of the revelers sport 90s-era mini skirts and chunky boots and some sport 2000s graphic tees and sunglasses at night. According to the report, Gen Zs love Barney’s Beanery for worn dive bar charm, pool tables, shuffleboard and classic arcade games. They also enjoy onion rings, pints of beer, and tequila sodas.
The new popularity shows Barney’s Beanery endurance with a rich history spanning a century. Founded by L.A. native and World War I veteran John “Barney” Anthony in 1920 in Berkeley, the establishment moved to West Hollywood by 1927. Over the years, it has attracted aspiring stars and celebrities alike. The Times lists a framed, canceled check from Marilyn Monroe for an order of chili. Renowned artist Edward Kienholz’s life-size replica of the bar, titled “The Beanery,” remains on display in an Amsterdam museum since its creation in 1965. Legends like Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin have left their mark on the bar’s lore. Even “Bar Rescue” host Jon Taffer, who once managed Barney’s, served regulars such as Sylvester Stallone and Francis Ford Coppola in the early 1980s, while Quentin Tarantino frequented the bar to write scripts.
Then there’s the complex history intertwined with homophobia. In response to police raids for what was then-illegal homosexual activities among customers, founder John Anthony displayed a sign featuring a derogatory term to deter queer patrons. The sign didn’t permanently come down until 1984, following a determined fight by West Hollywood residents.
The newer, younger crowd inside is seemingly unaware of this history. They are drawn to Barney’s, not for a sense of nostalgia for old Hollywood, or its historical significance, but for an intangible atmosphere that defies easy explanation. Manager AJ Sacher told The Times that, “Barney’s feels like a place from where you’re from, wherever that is. It’s hard to put your finger on why, and it’s kind of uncanny.”
Co-owner David Houston calls the new phenomenon of Gen-Zs the “Barney’s Wave.” It’s a term coined by his late former employee Dominique Kadison. Houston describes it as a cyclical pattern where the bar experiences moments of heightened popularity followed by periods of relative obscurity. The trigger for this current wave is not clear.
To read the full article and learn more about the young people that frequent Barney’s Beanery West Hollywood, click on the link below: