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Tom Bergin's famed Irish saloon -- one of L.A.'s oldest restaurants -- abruptly announces closure

July 03, 2013|By Rene Lynch

Tom Bergin's, the famed Irish saloon on Fairfax Avenue known for its strong Irish coffee, corned beef and cabbage and a pull on L.A. tourists, abruptly announced today that it is shutting its doors.

The pub -- one of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles -- posted a message on its Facebook page announcing the closure. A reason was not given. The message simply said: "We are sorry to let everyone know that this Sunday will be Tom Bergin's last day of business. Please join us in our last few days; we'd love to see as many familiar faces as possible."

Someone who answered the phone at Bergin's this evening attributed the closure to "lack of sales." The man -- who declined to give his name -- added: "The ownership wasn't reaching the revenue needed to sustain itself."

JONATHAN GOLD: Goodbye, Tom Bergin's

The tavern had recently been taken over by Los Angeles restaurateur Brandon Boudet, closed  for some retooling, and then reopened. Efforts to reach Boudet were unsuccessful.

Tom Bergin's Tavern first opened in 1936 on Fairfax Avenue, south of Wilshire. L.A. Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold said walking into the restaurant's dining room was like stepping back in time to Raymond Chandler's L.A.

The tavern was known for its rare Irish whiskeys, a well-drawn Guinness and hefty servings of coconut cream pies, as well as for the signed shamrocks that festooned the wooden rafters above the bar, signed by regulars and tourists alike. Still, the menu offered a bit of whimsy, such as a jambalaya.

PHOTOS: A look inside Tom Bergin's

One of its signature dishes -- the classic corned beef and cabbage -- stood out from the pack. As Gold explained in an October 2012 review revisiting the tavern:

"Boudet pickles his own corned beef, steams it until it is soft as Langer's pastrami and serves it in thick, hand-cut slices. The cabbage, braised in butter, is served alongside in an intact wedge, quartered leaves still attached to the core. There are potatoes — there are always potatoes. The corned beef is a bit bland, not quite as salty as you might expect it to be, but the flavor blossoms when you dab it with a bit of mustard."

Will you miss Tom Bergin's?

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