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As Dodger Baseball Returns, LA’s Sports Bar Scene Gets Seriously Innovative

Plus: Comfort LA, Banh Oui, and Sushi Note all work to stay afloat during uncertain times, while Tu Madre expands into cocktails

A sidewalk sports bar with outdoor TVs for watching games, and tall tables to sit.
The sidewalk view at Mr. Furley’s Bar
Mr. Furley’s
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.

Sports bars and restaurants in Los Angeles have been hamstrung on nearly all sides by the pandemic. Treated as a restaurant, they’ve been subject to changing mandates, shutdowns, and (for now, at least) a requirement to only serve customers outdoors. Those that don’t serve food, and only act as bars, are closed entirely — and up until a week or so ago, basically none of LA’s countless sports bars had any actual live sports to show anyway.

Now, slowly, sports are returning, and that could mean new life for those operators with the money and ability to rethink their previous business model. As the Dodgers hit the screens at just after 7 p.m. tonight for the first game of a truncated Major League Baseball season, Mr. Furley’s Bar and restaurant in Glendale will be ready. Ownership there has pulled out a whole row of televisions and bolted them to the side of the building, allowing diners to catch the action outdoors from the sidewalk. They’re even pushing out the audio to the games, and serving the usual slew of craft beers, burgers, and fries. In West Hollywood, 40 Love is back this weekend, with its usual semi-enclosed patio, plus a side alley and back parking lot space built for folks to watch the game. The country club chic spot from the H.Wood Group won’t be showing the Dodgers tonight, but will have NBA, baseball, and more action on screens this weekend.

And in other news:

  • Chef Brandon Kida of Hinoki + the Bird has teamed up with other big names in LA like Neal Fraser of Redbird to make dumplings for charity under his side-brand Go Go Gyoza. A portion of proceeds from those sales benefit laces like C.CAP, which offers culinary scholarships to those in need.
  • Banh Oui Hollywood has been holding strong through the pandemic, in part by partnering with the Hollywood Farmers Market to begin holding shelf space for some of the Sunday vendors’ non-perishable products, like buckwheat honey from the Martinez Brothers’ Farm. Of course, they continue to do sandwiches and a whole lot more, too.
  • Sushi Note is now entirely al fresco, having pulled out tables onto the sidewalk for a full omakase experience.
  • Speaking of omakase dining, Sushi Bar in Encino has made take-home sushi even more fun for its fans by including a well-made video showing diners how to finish and enjoy each bite. It’s a hands-on, digital dining experience, and just one more way that places are pivoting during these hectic times, says TimeOut Los Angeles.
  • LA Downtowner takes a great looks at the lovely Comfort LA, which continues “maintain a sense of soul” even as the city struggles to help keep its small businesses afloat.
  • The Mammoth area is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, says the LA Times, sparked in large part be the reopening of restaurants and an increase in tourism.
  • Tu Madre in West Hollywood has a new cocktail menu ready to fire. The patio-friendly Mexican spot features drinks from Josh Suchan, who previously spent time at Otoño in Highland Park. The first day to drink them all is this coming Saturday, July 25.