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LA Bars and Restaurants Begin Turning Away Unvaccinated Customers

Plus, the New York Times talks California barbecue, and George Motz’s LA recommendations

Inside Risky Business, a vaccinated-only bar in North Hollywood
Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via 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.

In response to growing concerns over the rapidly spreading delta variant of the coronavirus, more and more businesses — particularly local bars — are asking that only fully vaccinated customers come inside. Per L.A. Taco, which has a running list on its site now, places like the Blind Barber, Bar Henry in Echo Park, the Short Stop, and Footsie’s have all decided to ask for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before allowing entry to customers. While the decision could mean some customers are turned away (either because they are unvaccinated or because they cannot show proof of their vaccination) precisely when small businesses need them, the decision to only allow vaccinated people inside is being done “in an effort to keep our guests and staff safe,” says the Blind Barber in an Instagram post.

In part, the decision to restrict access for unvaccinated individuals is also about social pressure. As the LA Times and others have noted, a large portion of the current mini-surge in cases is among younger people who are eligible to receive the widely available vaccine, but who are still hesitant for a variety of reasons. Making daily life less convenient for vaccine-eligible people — say, by requiring daily on-site testing before entering a workplace, or banning them from some venues — could be an effective tool for raising the overall vaccination rate, some experts say. Take Dodger Stadium, which announced this week that fans would be required to keep masks on while congregating in the concourse areas, though vaccinated individuals only could remove their masks while seated.

In other news:

  • Tejal Rao, California critic for the New York Times, has a new piece out on the many permutations of California barbecue. The statewide story ranges from Horn BBQ in the Bay Area to Los Angeles’s own Moo’s Craft Barbecue, Smoke Queen BBQ in Orange County, and beyond.
  • Chicago-based Maple & Ash is opening an upscale steakhouse in Beverly Hills, reports What Now Los Angeles. The restaurant at 235 N. Beverly Drive will join others like Matu and the new Salt Bae spot Nusr-Et as meaty destinations in the 90210.
  • The evening-only Bar Sala, an offshoot of Broken Spanish’s residency at Neuehouse in Hollywood, is closing on July 31. That means less than two weeks remain to check out Friday and Saturday night live music, mezcal pours, and snacks.
  • Long Beach’s Portuguese Bend Distilling is leaning into a new tropical menu, meaning lots of Tiki-style drinks and food like coconut curry salmon.
  • Gemini Bakehouse and La Sorted’s are both popping up at 1306 Abbot Kinney on Saturday, July 24, serving baked goods (noon to 3 p.m.) and pizzas (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) from the That’s Cool! Try & Buy Mart pop-up space.
  • Genghis Cohen is reopening its dining room for the first time since March 2020, with the first inside seating beginning on August 1. The famed Chinese-American restaurant on Fairfax has also added 24 outside seats on their front patio.
  • Burger legend George Motz spent a week in Los Angeles, eating and smashing burgers. He laid out some of his favorite bites from his time on the West Coast, including the old-school-inspired Yellow Paper Burger.