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Pokémon Go Mania Is Changing the Way LA Restaurants Lure Customers

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Lures and Pokémon gyms are just part of the changing dynamic when it comes to catching customers

It's Pokémon Go madness
It's Pokémon Go madness
Ladyface Alehouse
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

In case you haven’t noticed just by scrolling through your social media feeds, Pokémon Go mania is here. And, as with all current trends, restaurants across Los Angeles have been quick to jump on board.

For those unfamiliar with the hype, here’s a quick explainer: Pokémon Go is a new GPS-enabled mobile game that uses augmented reality to display little cartoon Pokémon characters in the real world, via your phone’s camera. You quickly catch those little suckers — they can appear anywhere, including at home, but are often spotted in public places — and then square off with your collection against other Pokémon players in virtual arenas known as gyms. Those gyms are public spaces, so you’ll find two players meeting up in real life at, say, Terrine on Beverly.

And that’s where many of these Los Angeles restaurants come in. Not only are some eateries finding themselves right in the path of oncoming hordes of Pokémon players running between stops, but others have begun purchasing in-game "lures" to draw even more of the characters to their location — and, with them, lots more potential customers.

Right now at El Cid in Silver Lake, for example, there’s a weekday Pokémon happy hour going down from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. That means the restaurant, with its engaging patio, is doling out $5 margaritas and $5 tapas specials while doubling as a Pokémon gym. Even the newer M Con is getting into the mix, setting up lures so as to be crawling with Pokémon all day long, while the storied Yamashiro in Hollywood is now doing Pokémon deals at their Pagoda Bar during happy hour, with 20% off certain drinks for anyone playing the game.

The list of restaurant gyms around Los Angeles is nearly endless, it seems. Philippe’s in Chinatown, despite being founded in 1908, is keeping up with the times as a Pokémon gym, and so is Ladyface Alehouse up in Agoura Hills.

Even Rubies + Diamonds, the experimental Hollywood coffee shop that’s been getting a ton of positive press lately, is overrun with Pokémon these days — and the Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles across the street is a gym.

As Eater reports, all this increased foot traffic has been translating into big sales for restaurants all across the country. Some places have been seeing double-digit increases across the board, with no signs of slowing down any time soon. That is, assuming those overworked Nintendo servers can continue to hang on.