The Resurrection of LA’s Fred Harvey Restaurant as Sports Bar
A short distance from Olvera Street, the birthplace of Los Angeles, sits one of its most iconic buildings, Union Station. The iconic Spanish Revival building has been featured countless times in movies and television, and serves as a transportation hub for visitors and locals alike. It’s also home to Homebound Brew House which offers up burgers and beer with a dash of history.
Back in March I shared our visit to the remains of the Needles Harvey House and discussed the importance of the Harvey Houses, created by Fred Harvey, across the United States. While it sits in a sad, gutted state of limbo, Los Angeles’ old Fred Harvey Restaurant inside Union Station has been brought back from the dead.
The Fred Harvey Room, as it was simply named, opened with Union Station in 1939, and served those rushing in and out of the train depot, including soldiers going off to war and Hollywood hopefuls. Designed by Mary Colter, (who designed many other Harvey Houses across the southwest, creating a romanticized mythos for those traveling west) the restaurant’s look was a mish-mash of the time and place, with clear Spanish Colonial Revival, Art Deco and Streamline Moderne elements, as well as Navajo influences (as seen in the floor design) and parrot tiles lining the walls.
As the interstate highway system began to take over travel, the restaurant lost its following, shuttering in 1967. For over fifty years the restaurant sat vacant, being used exclusively for events, and, since this is Hollywood, filming, including music videos such as Fiona Apple’s 2009 song “Paper Bag.” The cost to revamp and update the kitchen was regularly cited as the reason for the continued closure, then suddenly there was a breakthrough! A new lease was negotiated, and in October of 2018 Imperial Western Beer Company moved in, that is after a seven month restoration.
Only a year and a half after opening, Imperial shut down with the rest of the country when COVID hit, and it didn’t survive. Thankfully a new company swooped in, picking up the pieces and dubbing itself Homebound Brew Haus, a sports bar with a focus on the Dodgers, as it is conveniently located near the boarding for the Dodgers Express.
I’m not a beer person, so I can’t attest to the range of beers offered, but they offer a pretty solid burger, plus the ambiance is great. I’m thrilled to see such an iconic piece of Los Angeles history back open for business. Grab a beer, catch a Dodger game, and reflect on the history of the Harvey Houses at Homebound Brew Haus inside Union Station at 800 N. Alameda Street in Los Angeles.
Barragan, Bianca. “Union Station’s Fred Harvey Room is officially restored.” Curbed Los Angeles, 12 May 2017.
Elliot, Farley. “Union Station’s Art Deco Bar Rebrands as a Destination for Sports, Sausages, and Beer.” Eater Los Angeles, 5 November 2021. Accessed 19 May 2022.
“Fred Harvey Restaurant (former)” Los Angeles Conservancy. Accessed 19 May 2022.
Stuart, Gwynedd. “How One of L.A.’s Most Beautiful and Underused Spaces Came Back to Life.” Los Angeles Magazine, 2 November 2018. Accessed 19 May 2022.
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