When King Eddy Saloon was sold to the owners of Spring Street Bar last year, there was considerable anxious chatter about whether the longstanding bar was yet another victim of Downtown’s gentrification-slash-revitalization. After all, King Eddy Saloon is noteworthy not only for being one of the city’s oldest bars—it opened in 1933—but also because it has, for decades, served as one of Skid Row’s great neighborhood watering holes. The new owners have been careful to try to keep the bar as unfussy as they found it, limiting their changes to a few cosmetic nip-and-tucks here and there. And though they also made a few upgrades to the drink selection (you can now find craft brews alongside the Bud), the new King Eddy nonetheless still feels like a neighborhood bar. What this neighborhood will look like in a few years, though, is anyone's guess.
Good for: Downtown locals, those who love dive bars and anyone who needs a cheap, strong drink.
The scene: On any given evening, a steady influx of regulars who know each other well stream in and out; many have been frequenting the bar for decades. Meanwhile, longtime local residents and newer loft dwellers share real estate at the bar, sometimes uncomfortably.
The playlist: The music varies from oldies to bluegrass to ‘80s-era rock, with a DJ spinning tunes every so often on weekends.
The bartender says: John Fante and Charles Bukowski were once regulars here.
Drink this: The bar has a solid lineup of beers on tap, including Black Market Brown Ale and Shock Top White Ale, all between $4 and $5. Non-beer drinkers will find the well drinks, like Old Crow whiskey, to be a reasonable $5—or, even better, $4 during Early Bird hours between 3pm and 8pm.