BlogDowntown dips further into the developments about to raise or ruin the stakes at King Eddy Saloon, the vintage Skid Row dive that was recently purchased by Library Bar and Spring Street Bar owners Michael Leko and Will Shamlian. Open reopening, only Eddy’s name will remain the same, as the 6:00 A.M. opening hour may be nixed for noon, a short eternity for early-bird imbibers. The bar is closing completely in a few months for construction to take place on its fully-funded future, which will include a new, full kitchen, modern menu, and a complete aesthetic overhaul with help from the guy who revitalized Cole’s.
Leko, a native of Downtown, claims he’s just planning a clean-up of the space, where long-term patrons will still be welcome, though the price tag on Eddy’s swill will more likely determine their participation. Leko tells the blog, "It feels like Cheers now…I just want it be to Cheers and I want it to be there 100 more years," overlooking King Eddy’s battle cry: "Where nobody gives a shit about your name."
Leko denies that he and his partner are gentrifying the area, reasoning that the modifications are needed because "the neighborhood’s changing," which is totally different from gentrification…somehow. Of course, anybody with at least one eye in their heads (speaking of King Eddy’s subjects) knows that Downtown’s improvements have hardly deigned to uplift Skid Row, with most of the recent momentum encircling the famously derelict shadow city while yet to better the experience found in this asphalt inferno.
But Leko thinks he can help with that, as his improvements include an expanded facade of bigger windows that look out onto Skid Row. The owner mentions that this will somehow be a boon for the city’s most desperate population as customers come and get drunk and look out onto the cracky exploits of their most damaged neighbors.
"The view from King Eddy is Skid Row…and there’ll be a bigger view," Leko says of his optimistic neighborhood improvement plan. Construction plans are currently being drawn, at which point the bar will announce a closing date and final fiesta to mark its death. Here’s just hoping that whatever reemerges doesn’t resemble a homeless-people-safari as much as that potentially sounds.