When you see the crowd at the Short Stop on any given day, it might be a little hard to imagine what the place was like in the early 1990s when it was THE cop bar in Los Angeles. From what I’ve been told by my uncle Larry, the stories flowed like the Budweiser poured as country music piped away on the jukebox amid the crack of a pool table. Guys from other police forces made a habit of showing up with their department shoulder patches to tack up on the wall and you’d never have a problem finding the joint because of the sign on the front. But after the bar was mentioned as a meeting place for violent and corrupt officers during the Rampart Scandal of the mid 1990s, the whole place changed awful quick. The cop constituency started to filter out and many figured the jig was up. Its time finished.
Or so it seemed…
In 2000 the bar was purchased by a new group of owners and the flag was planted yet again. Off came the sign out front, out went the former jukebox catalog and in came the curious of the neighborhood, eager to get a cheap drink in a place with character. The patches on the wall stayed, along with the old gun lockers and pool table. All kinds of folks from the local area decided they liked this reincarnation and the Short Stop has remained open since, an institution in the area, anchoring the barlife on that end of Sunset Boulevard.
The Short Stop does not do mixology or drinks that require more than 15 seconds to make. But that’s a good thing. The place still has more than a hint of its former self and elaborate libations would kill whatever fading machismo still remains. Despite this, pains have been taken to ensure that it is definitely not a bro-bar and ladies often like the Short Stop as much as gents (my lovely wife included). Beers are mostly macro, wine may not exist (not really the place for it), but they’ve got a full bar for all you scotch and liquor folks. Before a home game in Chavez Ravine, PBR cans go for $2 apiece and the walk up to the stadium seems to go quickly after a few. Sunday night hosts a soul music throw-down that the scooter crowd and pretty much everyone else seems to dig, especially when it’s not too crowded.
With so many places that close down, get rehabbed, then open again only to find that the new iteration doesn’t quite work, it’s nice to see the Short Stop stick to its guns. Although the days of corrupt officers are history, it’s a fine thing to see a place that still honors its past but has made some changes to ensure that its future will be long and profitable. There aren’t too many places like the Short Stop and I guess that’s what makes the place so damn special.
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