Once a watering hole for off-duty cops, Echo Park's Short Stop bar fell on hard times last year when it was fingered as a spot where LAPD Rampart Division Officer Rafael Perez went to brag about his criminal misdeeds. No sooner had then-owner Mike Balmer put the business up for sale than it was snagged by a cadre of trend-wise investors (including Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli) betting that eastward-migrating scenesters wouldn't be able to resist the edgy frisson of drinking in such scandal-plagued digs.
Indeed, with nary a name change, the barest of face lifts and one missed day of operation, the "new" Short Stop has been packing them in since it changed hands New Year's Eve, with even Westsiders and Valleyites squeezing in on weekend nights. "In the end," says current co-owner Oliver Wilson, "it's not going to feel that much different than the old Short Stop." How do the two stack up? You be the judge.