Over the objections of its owner, the shuttered Miracle Mile tavern Tom Bergin’s was named an LA landmark today by the Los Angeles City Council.
The Los Angeles Conservancy and the Miracle Mile Residential Association sought the landmarking, arguing that as one of the oldest bars in Los Angeles, Tom Bergin’s was an “invaluable cultural asset.”
“Over the course of its eight decades in business, Tom Bergin’s served its signature Irish coffee and myriad other libations to scores of patrons, satiating their thirst, fostering community and camaraderie, and earning a reputation as one of the most iconic and beloved places to imbibe in the city,” says the landmarking application prepared by Architectural Resources Group.
The landmarking was approved without comment from the council. It includes an amendment that would exempt the bar and restaurant’s large parking lot from the landmarking—a move that would make building a new development on the site at Fairfax near Wilshire easier.
The bar’s owner, Derek Schrek has long opposed the landmarking of the site, and is in talks with a developer to sell the site. A mixed-use project is planned for the property, and it appears that with the parking lot exempt from landmark status, that development will proceed and leave Tom Bergin’s intact.
Frank Schrek, co-owner of the bar and Derek’s father, says a development like that would be “the only way Tom Bergin’s will ever survive.”
In a letter to the City Attorney, Benjamin Reznik, a lawyer representing Schrek, contested the merits of the nomination, charged that the landmarking would basically constitute the city “taking private property without just compensation,” and asked the City Attorney to step in.
Reznik had told members of the City Council’s planning and land use management committee on June 11 that “to designate this bar is to dilute the very meaning and importance of the whole concept and meaning of historical monuments.”
Neighbors of the restaurant, one-time patrons, and even a grandson of Tom Bergin himself have spoken out against landmark status for the business.
According to its landmarking application, Tom Bergin’s was entitled with the second‐oldest liquor license in Los Angeles. Residents have shared fond memories of time spent in the shamrock-bedecked bar and restaurant—one of Los Angeles’ oldest in operation until its closure in 2018.