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Holiday Bar Is the Watering Hole You’ve Always Wanted

Boyle Heights’s new bar hits all the right neighborhood notes

Holiday Bar
Holiday Bar, Boyle Heights’ new watering hole, hits all the right neighborhood notes
Courtesy of Holiday Bar
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

Open since mid-May, the Holiday Bar is Boyle Heights’ new neighborhood drinking spot. It’s slightly east of the 5 Freeway on Whittier Boulevard near Soto Street. And while former Verdugo Bar veteran David Kiralla spearheaded the effort, he also maintains generational roots to the area.

Kiralla’s grandfather opened a body shop in Boyle Heights in 1948 called Holiday Auto Center near the demolished Sixth Street Bridge. His grandfather’s business is still standing after 71 years, and Kiralla named his place Holiday Bar to honor his grandfather. Holiday Bar is Kiralla’s first business, and completely gutted the space to appear slightly old-school, but still modern. It’s the kind of spot where the norm is watching a Dodgers game while listening to oldies, funk, soul, R&B, or Spanish-language music.

With backing and help of the The Surly Goat and Verdugo Bar’s Goat Group, Kiralla refashioned the former La Cita bar to fit approximately 80 people within 2,300 square feet. That includes a patio where drinkers can choose from eight brews on tap. The beers rotate and could include a cider, pilsner, hefeweizen, Lagunitas pale ale, an IPA, and Negro Modelo, Cans of Tecate cost $4 and Modelo runs $5.

Kiralla built two cocktails on draft — a Moscow Mule and an Old Fashioned. His bartenders also made a slushy drink called the Big Stick, inspired by the Popsicle brand but with vodka. Imbibers can buy Hot Cheetos at the bar, though more often than not a taco vendor will serve just outside the bar.

Kiralla worked at Verdugo Bar for ten years before buying the u-shaped building that houses Holiday Bar, which was a strategic move for longevity and a personal vibe. “You can’t be a business for a long time unless you own the building,” says Kiralla. “My grandfather’s shop wouldn’t have been able to stay there as long as it did without actual ownership. I always felt like the bars that I love is where the owners are present.”

Hours are Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Holiday Bar. 2741 Whittier Boulevard, Boyle Heights, CA