Shim Sham, Historic Filipinotown’s new neighborhood bar, opened Tuesday night in the former Genever space. It’s a full transformation of the former Art Deco cocktail bar wedged between Koreatown, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Westlake, and Rampart. Shim Sham is now a casual neighborhood hangout by the L&E Oyster Bar and El Condor crew Dustin Lancaster and Tyler Bell.
In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated Genever as a semifinalist for an outstanding bar program and landed on North America’s 50 Best Bars before closing in early 2023. Loyalists might be in for a slight shock when entering Shim Sham. Gone are Genever’s golden-hued glam, Art Deco-style, and chandeliers. Bell and Lancaster installed a horseshoe bar, coats of royal blue paint, outdoor tables, plus a TV screen that may or may not be on for the Lakers or Dodgers.
“We thought about the most fun things about cocktail bars, and drew inspiration from New Orleans,” says Lancaster. “It’s one of our favorite cities in America but didn’t want to do a New Orleans-themed bar. But we pulled New Orleans’ energy, atmosphere, revelry, and fun that encompasses it. And be a fun bar to hang out.”
For $13 or under, one can order classic boilermakers, a frozen vodka-filled Orange Julius, and natural wines. House cocktails include playful options including a slight twist on the Pimm’s Cup called a Shimm’s Cup, and Paige’s punch with dark rum, Campari, pineapple, grapefruit, and lime. $4 Miller High Life and Coors will make anyone believe they’re drinking in 2005, while IPAs run $8, and $9 for hard kombucha. Trumer Pils, Skyduster, Pacifico, and Allagash are on tap and $8 and under. El Condor’s Zach Schellhase and Paige Bundy put together the cocktail program.
Dustin opened Crawford’s in Westlake eight years ago, so he’s familiar with the neighborhood. He also debuted the Holcomb wine bar in Highland Park in 2019. After learning that Genever closed, the team took over, installing two windows and 12 stools at the curved bar. Shim Sham still has those bold tiled ceilings and the intimate seats in the rear, but overall, this is a mostly new look.
Lancaster says the name Shim Sham — a dance from the 1920s — is a fun thing to say and feels upbeat. He also wants to help Angelenos get talking. “In a horseshoe bar, you’re forced to face off with other people,” says Lancaster. “It’s less of a bar when you stare at your phone. At Shim Sham, people can engage as you’re literally sitting across from each other.”
Shim Sham is open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., and noon until 1 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.