Embattled Atwater Village bar The Griffin is open once again, following a weekend shutdown after an incident involving far right group the Proud Boys put them in the national spotlight. The longtime Los Feliz Boulevard bar is looking to turn a new corner as well, it seems, posting last night about plans for a neighborhood fundraiser happening this evening.
The Griffin has long been a mellow hangout for Eastsiders, but was thrust into the news following an ugly incident with a local offshoot of the Proud Boys, an often incendiary right-wing group that openly espouses so-called “Western chauvinist” views, including Islamophobia. The loudly pro-Trump group took to the bar wearing their signature polo shirts and Make America Great Again hats, only to be met with resistance by a group of neighbors and a loose coalition known as Defend Northeast Los Angeles. A scuffle ensued and the police were called, though no charges were filed.
Now The Griffin is ready to return to life with a new fundraiser happening tonight at 9 p.m. The plan, they say on social media, is to donate proceeds to the Southern Poverty Law Center — which classifies the Proud Boys as a hate group — as well as local non-profit organizations.
Earlier this week, LA Times was able to reach the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Proud Boys, who declined to be named in the story. He says that the group was operating peacefully and was not intent on intimidating anyone at the bar on Saturday night, and that members of the group (around 160 men only, so far) have been harassed online and in real life for their beliefs.
The Times also spoke to co-owner Aaron Chepenik, who confirmed the charity event but isn’t otherwise quoted regarding the incident. Previously he and the management team had said publicly that they would be hanging “no tolerance” signs around the bar and more closely scrutinizing anyone entering the bar. Meanwhile, The Griffin is still under an active cleanup alert on Yelp, and both sides of the fight say they’re no longer interested in anything having to do with The Griffin.