Barney's Beanery

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Barney's Beanery

Barney's Beanery is a chain of gastropubs in the Greater Los Angeles Area. It was originally founded in 1920 in Berkeley, California, by John "Barney" Anthony, who in 1927 moved it to U.S. Route 66, now Santa Monica Boulevard, (State Route 2) in West Hollywood.[1] As of 2011, Barney's Beanery has locations in Burbank, Pasadena (in what had been Q's Billiards at 99 East Colorado Boulevard), Santa Monica, Westwood, Redondo Beach at the Redondo Beach Pier and the original in West Hollywood.[2]

Association with celebrities[edit]

Barney's location, combined with the fact that the owner was apt to extend credit and occasionally give away food, made the bar popular with people from all walks of life, including artists, writers, and other celebrities. Older Hollywood actors like Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Judy Garland and Rita Hayworth were all regulars in their day.[1][3] By the 1960s, the neighboring Sunset Strip had become an important music center, and Jim Morrison (who was reportedly thrown out of Barney's for urinating on the bar)[1][4] and Janis Joplin (who had drinks at Barney's the evening before her death)[5] became regulars. Poet Charles Bukowski hung around,[3] as did artists Ed Kienholz and others associated with the Ferus Gallery, which was located nearby on La Cienega Boulevard.[1] Quentin Tarantino also allegedly wrote most of the screenplay for his film Pulp Fiction sitting in his favorite booth at the original Barney's Beanery in West Hollywood.[6]

History of discrimination[edit]

Sheriff's deputies face off against demonstrators at the Barney's Beanery zap, February 7, 1970

In the 1930s,[7] 1940s,[1] or around 1953[8] John Anthony put up a sign among the old license plates and other ephemera along the wall behind the bar that read "FAGOTS [sic] – STAY OUT". Though the owner was known to be antagonistic towards gays,[1][9] going as far as posing (in front of his sign) for a picture in a 1964 Life article on "Homosexuality in America" over a caption where he exclaims "I don't like 'em...",[10] the sign was ostensibly put up as a response to pressure from the police who had a tendency towards discriminatory practices against homosexuals and consequently establishments that catered to the group.[7][8]

The owner died in 1968, and efforts continued to have the sign removed. A coalition of gay activist groups organized a zap of the restaurant on February 7, 1970, to push for its removal. The sign came down that day.[11] The sign was put up and taken down several times over the next 14 years, and the restaurant's matchbooks also bore the line, but the practice ended in December 1984, days after the city of West Hollywood voted itself into existence. The then-mayor, Valerie Terrigno, the entire city council and gay rights activists marched into Barney’s and relieved the wall of the offending sign.[12] It was held by Morris Kight for many years and now rests in the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives.

In the news[edit]

Barney's received attention in early 2011 when one of their busboys, Ricardo Reyes, defeated LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Charles Barkley, Lamar Odom, Glen Davis and Blake Griffin in Pop-A-Shot, a mini basketball shooting competition, on Jimmy Kimmel Live![13]

In 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported that workers at the restaurant, including a manager and a bartender, said it was haunted by ghosts. A cook transferred to another location after being spooked. A longtime waitress who had seen an apparition said she knew of three murders at the restaurant over the years.[14]

In pop culture[edit]

Parts of Oliver Stone's film The Doors were filmed at Barney's Beanery.[4]

In the TV film series Columbo, Columbo often ordered chili at Barney's Beanery. However, the series was not filmed in the actual location. [15]

In 1965 Edward Kienholz created “The Beanery,” a life-size sculpture tableaux of the interior, inhabited by poorly dressed store mannequins whose “faces” are clocks set at 10:10. An audiotape of barroom chatter, and the odor of beer, accompanied the display. A newspaper in a vending machine is headlined "Children Kill Children in Vietnam.” The work was first unveiled in the restaurant parking lot, and is now in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. [16][17]

On the cover of the Big Brother and the Holding Company l.p. Cheap Thrills, vibes on the song "Turtle Blues" are credited to Barney's Beanery. Also, there is an illustration of the diner by R. Crumb, who did the artwork for the album.[citation needed]

Barney's Beanery is mentioned in the song 'Lonesome LA Cowboy' by the New Riders of the Purple Sage referencing meeting girls at 'Barney's Beanery in their platform shoes and spit curls.'


  1. ^ a b c d e f Gelt, Jessica. (21 October 2010). "Barney's Beanery Rocks on at 90". Los Angeles Times. Accessed 05 December 2011.
  2. ^ Barney's Beanery - Locations. Accessed 05 December, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Collins (2011), 237
  4. ^ a b Lawson and Rufus (2000), p. 64
  5. ^ Janis Joplin profile at
  6. ^ LA Hauntings, Barneys Beanery, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-16. Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  7. ^ a b White (2009), 192-193
  8. ^ a b Clendinen and Nagourney (1999), 33
  9. ^ Priore, Domenic. "History of Barney's Beanery Archived November 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› ". Accessed 06 December 2011.
  10. ^ "Homosexuality in America". Life. 26 June 1964. Accessed December 06, 2011.
  11. ^ Teal, pp. 255–57
  12. ^ Kenney, p. 50
  13. ^ Ballard, Chris. (05 January 2011). "Shooting stars: Arcade game Pop-A-Shot allows Joes to beat pros". Accessed 05 December 2011.
  14. ^ Pool, Bob (October 30, 2011). "Ghosts are one tap all year long in West Hollywood". Los Angeles Times. pp. A39, A42. 
  15. ^ "Columbo's Chili Habit". Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  16. ^ The Beanery; Interior; Created in 1965 (212517). University of Michigan Art History Department. Accessed December 5, 2011.
  17. ^ Pincus (1994), pp. 71-73

Barney's Beanery is also mentioned in the Peter Rowan song "Lonesome L.A. Cowboy".


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°05′27″N 118°22′29″W / 34.090852°N 118.374630°W / 34.090852; -118.374630