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Downtown's Bar 107 defies landlord, refuses to leave




LA Downtown News writer Eddie Kim at Bar 107 in downtown Los Angeles.
LA Downtown News writer Eddie Kim at Bar 107 in downtown Los Angeles.
Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

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UPDATE 9/14/2015: This just in.

For almost ten years, Bar 107 has thrived in the growing downtown Los Angeles bar scene. It's one of the few places in America you can go for gong karaoke. It gives out free pizza during happy hour.

May 31 was supposed to be Bar 107's last day — its landlord stopped renewing the month-to-month lease. But the bar defied the order, and — as of this posting — is still open today.

On the evening of May 31, DJ Morgan Higby Night read from a prepared statement by the ownership, saying the bar would stay open until forced to leave. It complained of downtown changing and becoming less inclusive. "Bars with personality and reasonable drink prices have been replaced by sterile, safe s---holes with ridiculous prices and even more ridiculous ice cubes."

Bar 107 sits near the corner of 4th and Main Streets downtown. It's in the same building as the historic Hotel Barclay. When reached for comment on Monday, property manager Victor Vasquez said he was "very disappointed" to have seen the announcement.

Vasquez said he'd made numerous attempts to provide Bar 107 with a long-term, multi-year lease but the two sides couldn't come to an agreement. Management, he said, made the call to talk with prospective new tenants around March. He said the two sides are back at the negotiating table now and he hopes they'll reach an amicable agreement.

Eddie Kim, a senior writer for LA Downtown News, said stories like this aren't uncommon in downtown nowadays. "It's one instance out of many where there's changes happening," he said. When Bar 107 opened its doors nearly 10 years ago, it replaced Score, a well-liked gay bar.

"The people who love Bar 107 are losing a place to love," Kim added. "It's part of the identity of this neighborhood, right?"

Ownership from Bar 107 couldn't be reached for a response at the time of posting, we'll update if we hear back.