Portland, you may want to sit down for this one: A new Elliott Smith-themed bar has opened in Los Angeles.
On the menu? Mussels with XO sauce, apricot Pimm's cups, and a squash blossom pizza served with a "broken yolk." And this weekend, it's starting brunch service.
Maybe that doesn't sound scandalous at first blush—after all, there's a twee coffee shop in Sellwood called Either/Or—but consider the location. It's inside the building that hosts the mural featured on the cover of Smith's 2000 album, Figure 8.
After Smith's death in 2003, the wall became a makeshift memorial to the singer-songwriter, where fans would leave flowers and scrawl tributes. Last year, restauranteurs Wade McElroy and Russell Malixi rented the space from the owners of Sound Solutions, the decades-old stereo shop next door. Bar Angeles, named after the song "Angeles" from 1997's Either/Or, opened in February, calling itself an "elevated dive bar" serving "familiar yet innovative" California-inspired Italian fare, according to LAist. And here's the part that'll really rankle Smith acolytes: They cut out part of the so-called "Elliott Smith wall" and put in glass bricks.
To be fair, it's not the part of the mural feature on the Figure 8 cover. And the chunk that did get cut out has been incorporated into the interior design. But that's surely cold comfort to fans of Smith, who never hung out in a bar more "elevated" than Chopsticks or My Father's Place when he lived here.
Related: "The Last of the Sad Bastards."
Of course, the Silver Lake neighborhood, where Bar Angeles is located, has changed as much as Portland in the last decade, and much of the reporting on the restaurant in the L.A. media has a tone of resignation that this was going to happen sooner or later.
Bar Angeles begins serving brunch this weekend. LAist says the menu will include "a bone marrow soft scramble, french toast topped with whipped walnut butter, Eggs Benedict Pizza with a baked egg, bacon, spring garlic, hollandaise, and chives, and the unshakable realization that brunch at an Elliott Smith-themed bar is probably the closest humankind will ever get to definitively disproving the existence of any meaning in the universe."