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Bernadette’s Recreates Your Uncle’s ‘70s Drinking Den in Downtown

The throwback craft beer bar soft opens tomorrow

Bernadette’s, Downtown
Elizabeth Weinberg
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.

What a difference a year makes. Just under twelve months since first being announced, Downtown’s funky new beer bar Bernadette’s is coming online for a soft opening as of Saturday. Yes, the self-described “dumbest bar in LA” is opening (for real) on April Fools’ Day.

In truth there is nothing supremely stupid about owner Jim VanBlaricum or his passion project, landing at the end of the block from Grand Central Market and almost next door to the newer Bar Clacson. The dim, inviting room is kitted out with all manner of mid-century finery, from the wood-paneled bar to the kitschy wallpaper to the functional Garfield phone that is the primary line for the bar.

Other than that, the place is a straightforward spot for after-work types to hang out and drink well. There’s a lineup of taps from behind the bar that will each play on a particular theme — one for rotating kegs of IPAs only, say, or another for something on nitro.

Seating runs in wraparound fashion from the bar, along with options for seating on the patio or at a run of stools against the far wall. And in keeping with the overall vibe of the place, you can even jump on for a run at the cabinet arcade game Tapper in the corner.

Soft opening lands tomorrow in Downtown, with a likely expansion of hours and timing down the line. For now, head out to the spot on South Broadway for some easy vibes and craft beer this weekend.

361 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA