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Inside the Remarkable Restoration of LA's Last Barrel Building

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Decades ago, Los Angeles's roadsides were home to enormous Derby hats, chili bowls, flower pots, owls, pigs, dogs, cameras, and airplanes, but today there are only a handful of these Programmatic buildings left. There were once several barrels around town, but the very last one, the Idle Hour Cafe in North Hollywood, has been empty since the 1980s. It finally returns this Friday following a handsome renovation by the 1933 Group (Thirsty Crow, Oldfield's, Bigfoots East and West), and it's even bringing a bulldog friend with it.

The Idle Hour first opened in 1941, commissioned by Universal Studios film tech Michael D. Connolly (possibly a former hobo!) and built by Silver Lake engineer George F. Fordyk. Connolly and his wife Irene lived in an apartment above the cafe until their divorce, when Connolly moved out and Irene took over. In 1971, the building sold to Jose and Dolores Fernandez, who reopened the cafe as a flamenco dinner theater called La Caña. That closed in 1984, but Dolores still lived above the restaurant until 2009. The building was landmarked by the city in 2010. 1933 bought the building in 2011.

The backyard bulldog (with pipe!), meanwhile, is a 1994 replica of a cafe that sat on Washington Boulevard from 1928 until the mid-1960s. It lived at the Petersen Automotive Museum until last year, when 1933 painstakingly removed and transferred it to North Hollywood (the Petersen wanted to get rid of it anyway). It'll serve as an event space with room for up to 15 people, but anyone will be able to wander inside when it's not reserved. The patio it sits on is, naturally, dog-friendly.

The food and drink at the new Idle Hour will refer to the tastes of 1941; Eater LA has more details on that.


· Idle Hour, North Hollywood's Iconic Barrel Bar, Returns February 13 [Eater LA]
· LA's Last Standing Barrel Building May Be Protected [Curbed LA]
· NoHo's Barrel Building Being Joined By a Giant Party Bulldog [Curbed LA]