The Rams are coming back to Los Angeles, but the teams’ World Championship banner from 1951 has always had a home at Tom Bergin’s on Fairfax, one of LA’s oldest restaurants.
While the hues of this dark blue and gold pennant may be faded, Los Angeles Rams fans could soon reclaim the history of this iconic bar to make new Rams memories. “The sky is the limit, this could become a new Rams hangout,” says Joshua Neuman, creator and host of the new Rams podcast, The Greatest Show on Grass. “Right now there really aren’t Rams bars in Los Angeles.”
When football player salaries were low and most had civilian jobs in the off-season, you probably would have seen them buying groceries or hanging in the neighborhood … or partying at Tom Bergin’s. Many of the Rams drank at the bar, and played on its fastpitch softball team. Bergin was such a big supporter that when the Rams won it all in 1951, team owner Dan Reeves gave Bergin the pennant – the pre-Super Bowl equivalent of the Vince Lombardi trophy.
"I was born in the wrong century," says Derek Schreck, owner of Tom Bergin's since 2013. He was a regular of the bar before he began to restore it to its current state. His mission was to make the place exactly like it was 80 years ago. Looking up at the banner, preserved behind heavy glass in the rafters of the pub, he says “We have received requests from the NFL Hall of Fame to donate it,” Schreck says. “There was a time when I was finishing up restoring the building. People weren’t sure whether we were going to reopen with the banner. It belongs with the bar. We have the telegraph Dan Reeves sent to Tom Bergin mounted next to it – that gifts the banner to the bar.”
The Rams were the first professional California franchise to win a championship, but since they left things haven’t been the same for LA Ram fans. “Being a Rams fan is Los Angeles has been somewhat humiliating,” Neuman says. “You would go to bars and have to beg them to turn on the Rams game, or you would be shuffled to a back room while a cowboys game was blasting. There was a certain indignity – but you never experienced it in Tom Burgin’s.”
So, if you’re not going to the Coliseum Saturday to watch the Rams play an exhibition game against the Cowboys, the next best thing – to celebrate the team’s return and their place in LA history – would be to raise a glass and watch the game at Tom Bergin’s.
Tom Bergin's: 840 S. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036