It’s been four years of waiting (quite literally) but now La Brea’s long-dormant 83-year-old Firestone Tire building is up and running — and looking rather gorgeous in all this vintage glory. The historic former car service station, with its open design and wraparound views, has been formally and fully overhauled as a do-it-all space for tacos, beer, and more, right in the heart of Mid-Wilshire. Let’s take a look inside.
The landmarked Firestone building, spanning more than 13,000 feet in total, is a preservationists dream. First built in 1938, the building retains much of its streamline moderne appeal, from the original red floors and rounded roofline to the still-intact warehouse windows. In fact, says designer Matt Winter of M. Winter Design (who has led the project since 2017), part of the reason the opening took so long was simply because of the salvage effort undertaken to keep things as original as possible. “It’s kind of like a little museum,” he says, pointing out small details around the sprawling space. Those original windows now look into the brewing area behind the bar, for example, while basically the entire facade was stripped by hand and repainted to the original colors.
“As always,” says Winter of his design process, “we payed close attention to the details of the building, the color scheme, the intention of it. There was no piece on this building that was scrapped and not reused.”
To bring the massive building into the modern age, Winter and the Pouring With Heart team (Arts District Brewing, Cole’s, and many more) envisioned a pulled-back version of the original building, where the driveway apron could be used as patio seating and the main interior could double as drinking and dining space. The on-site brewery, named All Season Brewing, shares the floor with a new walk-up location of popular Mexican micro-chain Chicas Tacos. There are booths and long tables for group gatherings in the hopefully not-too-distant future, plus retro games — and phone charging outlets under the bar. This is still Los Angeles in 2021, after all.
The other reason for the long delay, of course, has been the ongoing global pandemic. Work has been both slower and more expensive, with longer lead times for raw materials, finishing touches, and proper paperwork from the city. Thankfully the building naturally lends itself to spaced-out dining with lots of open air, so there’s hope that the current seating (75 people) can grow in the coming months to 200 or more, once restrictions are lifted in LA County as COVID-19 cases continue to fall.
Until then, Winter and the team will continue to tinker with the building, keeping the older fixtures running smoothly and occasionally stumbling into bits of memorabilia and ephemera from across the generations. They’ve already uncovered and showcased many of the names for former Firestone mechanics from the property, and scored a treasure trove of hidden details from the attic area upstairs. There’s time for all that, Winter says after parking his own vintage 356 Porsche out front for the photo shoot, because the historic building has been formally preserved by the city, meaning it won’t be torn down. Besides, to him, the preserving is the fun part.
All Season Brewing and Chicas Tacos open today at 800 S. La Brea, keeping hours from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, noon to midnight on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday.