Since 1920, Barney’s Beanery has been serving the city of Los Angeles, and they have definitely become better with age. The founder, Anthony Barney, began selling chili (with beans) to the masses, hence the name, Barney’s Beanery. After the great depression hit and people were driving through LA looking for opportunity, Barney would trade a bowl of his chili for the customer’s license plate. If they paid, they would get their license plate back, but most never did and the license plates became part of the décor. This place is chock-full of character and amazing-sized proportions. Even their menu is over-sized with everything from their famous chili to PB&J to pancakes, complete with stories about the restaurant and the Hollywood elite who have dined there.
“The Original” Barney’s in West Hollywood has been expanded a bit, but the original structure remains. The parking lot is even the same parking lot. Over the last 92 years, the city of LA, and West Hollywood in particular, has been growing up around Barney’s. Even the brightly colored “Barney’s Beanery” sign that peeks beyond the surrounding buildings looks like it hasn’t changed in decades. It’s all part of the magic. Even those who are more famous than most can’t stay away from this place. Before her tragic death, Janis Joplin spent some time at Barney’s enjoying one of her last drinks.
Unless you were “grounded” from watching TV during the summer of 2010, you probably saw Ricardo Reyes, the undefeated Pop-A-Shot master, absolutely wreck some of the best players in the NBA including LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. That Pop-A-Shot master gained his experience in the game while bussing tables at “The Original” Barney’s. Rumor has it he is still around and awaits his next challengers.
With five locations in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Burbank, Pasadena, and now Westwood, Los Angeles residents are never far from the fun atmosphere and delicious food that has been brewing for nearly a century at Barney’s Beanery. Though some locations are more expansive than others, they all share the same styling. One could expect to find: multiple TV’s for your viewing pleasure, at least a couple pool tables, neon beer and roadway related signs, a motorcycle or two, a plethora of different album covers, both recent and classic, and vinyl, colorful seating, newspaper clippings in the table tops, and iconic Hollywood memorabilia. Boredom is simply not an option. So if you want an incredible omelet in the middle of the night, or a giant cheeseburger and a beer for breakfast, I urge you to head over to Barney’s Beanery and see what the unstoppable craze is about.