June 27th, 2013
by Tara Redfield
When I first moved to L.A. I lived in a great neighborhood off of Fairfax, right before 3rd street. Whenever I would exit the 10 freeway I would take Fairfax all the way up. One building that always caught my eye on the drive, was Tom Bergin’s, right before hitting Wilshire. You can’t miss that funky shamrock sign that glows “House of Irish Coffee”! It’s one of those buildings you can tell is an institution of sorts. There is history there. In the almost three years that I lived in that neighborhood I only ventured to that shamrock once. It was a fine place, a bar’s bar, but nothing fancy.
A few months ago, when I heard that Tom Bergin’s, bar menu had been given a complete makeover, by chef Brandon Boudet, I was intrigued. I had seen some posts about it pop up on other blogs and thought they must be doing something right. I decided to check it out for myself...at happy hour.
I was in dire need of some whiskey when I arrived because I had just had a visit from “Triple A” for a flat tire. We all know that car trouble is never fun and one most certainly deserves a drink after dealing with such stresses! I had to text my friend that I would be running late, but was determined to be there...with my spare tire.
Well drinks were $5.00, so I went with a Bulleit and ginger ale...my go to! They also had “tap ponies” which are half-pints of beer on tap for $1.50 and house wines for $5.00... What I was really hoping to get lucky with, were the snacks!
The rueben balls were INCREDIBLE. I am not exaggerating in ANY way. Understand this: corned beef and swiss cheese surrounded by breaded-deep-fried goodness served with a side of sauteed sour kraut and thousand island dressing for dipping! Whoa baby. Clearly, this was my favorite item on the happy hour menu...but there were other good things too.
I also had to get the deviled eggs, because I love deviled eggs...much better than angeled eggs (wink). Some were topped with smoked salmon and some with bacon and all were served on a plate of lightly fried shallots. So good!
There was also the pretzel. A warm delicious soft pretzel served with a spicy mustard for dipping...perfect for soaking up excess alcohol before getting back in the car.
Tom’s happy hour menu also included dessert! I think this is genius. I never see dessert on happy hour menu’s and people love dessert! Pastry chef Ann Kirk came up with her special creation of homemade ice cream sandwiches! You can choose either vanilla or stout...yes stout ice cream...packs a real Irish punch.
We were so full, we ended up giving the last half of our vanilla ice cream sandwich to the fellow sitting next to us, we could tell he had been eyeing it, green with envy! He was a regular. There are lots of regulars at Tom’s. Sitting at that decades-old bar, really makes you feel like you’re a part of something special. The ceiling is covered in green paper shamrocks with names of those who have passed through over the years and those that have stayed. Tom’s possess a strong sense of community that I think is rare in bars today, especially in Los Angeles!
If Irish bars aren’t your thing, I don’t care...you must go to Tom Bergin’s if only for the rueben balls. They are SO worth it.
840 S Fairfax Ave