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LA’s Beloved Bootleg Theater Venue Closes After Two Decades

Plus, two well-known pop-ups land permanent spaces, and grant money goes to women-owned restaurants around Los Angeles

Bootleg Theater Los Angeles
The Bootleg Theater
Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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.

The sudden loss of Los Angeles institution the Bootleg Theater stands as a stark reminder of the ongoing vulnerabilities of many small businesses, with independent theaters, restaurants, and other community hubs pushed to the financial brink as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And while LA now feels much busier (and much more open) than it was just a few short months ago, the loss of the Historic Filipinotown property after more than two decades has wounded fans and the city’s nightlife industry at large.

In a statement posted to social media, the Bootleg Theater’s owners Jason and Alicia Adams said that an existing business fracture with another partner had disrupted the venue even before the pandemic, but “the crush of a COVID closure made the situation even more untenable.” Ownership said that 2019 had been the property’s best year to date, adding that — after years of consolidation and takeovers by large forces such as Live Nation within the live venue ecosystem of LA — “it is a gut punch to us that our ultimate demise was an inside job.”

There is some good news on the horizon, as ownership says they will continue to host digital shows and events at other venues, adding in their social media note that two unnamed people had stepped in to start up something new at the address on Beverly Boulevard.

In other news:

  • The Regarding Her grant program (in partnership with DoorDash) has doled out $10,000 each to 15 Los Angeles-area women-owned restaurants, including Mama Musubi, Nickel Diner, Si Laa, Tuk Tuk Thai, Gelateria Uli, La Parrilla, and more.
  • The Bungalow Kitchen in Long Beach is donating $1 from each cocktail and wine by the glass to the Center in Long Beach, a local organization focused on equity for the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Meanwhile the Toscana restaurant group will be hosting wine dinners at Nerano (July 1) and Toscana (July 16) with sommelier Alessia Botturi; the five-course affair will feature Barolo wines and runs $145. In Beverly Hills, Mirame will offer a four-course dinner and tasting with agave spirits maker Neta on June 29.
  • There’s a new sloppy joe pop-up to know about, called 2 Joes. The staple home-cooked meal gets a chef-like upgrade with packages that can be delivered or picked up starting on June 27.
  • The Bourbon Room is reopening next month in Hollywood, with plans to run the latest edition of live show For the Record. Elsewhere, Spoon & Pork reopened for on-site dining in Silver Lake this week, while in Downtown mellow bar Bernadette’s reopens on Friday, June 25.
  • The La Morra team has partnered with the Fly By Jing crew for a new one-off pizza called the Chengdu Chili Pie. The spicy option is available now.
  • A little further out on the horizon, the Perilla pop-up has just signed for a storefront to come by the end of the year. In South LA, chef Ray Anthony Barrett of pop-up Cinque has secured a restaurant kitchen as well.