Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Barney Is 95 - and Still Serving Food

I'm referring to the newish Barney's Beanery on the Redondo Pier. 

Me and I and my posse used to frequent the original in West Hollywood  for it's cheap food and accepting attitude toward hippies, rock'n roll performers, writers and generally speaking, the flotsam and jetsam of the younger generation. 

We were shabby-looking and so was Barney's.  No surprise, we were hippies so it was mandatory to look weird and Barney's was opened in 1920 and didn't look appreciably re-decorated since then.

We didn't know it then but the antique-looking porch light was actually a radio receiver for the convenience of customers.  If their car had a "Barney's Beam" they could confirm number of guests, generally what they'd order and how close they were to arrival. 

The founder and owner was a man named John "Barney" Anthony.  He joined the Navy in WW2 and got into cooking his hamburgers and onion soup for his mates.  When he got out of the Navy he tried to be a boxing manager, but didn't have the punch.  He decided to own his beanery, relying heavily on his hamburgers and onion soup in a Men Only setting.  Apparently that didn't work out too well because in 1958, Barney was forced to remove the sign that hung over the bar - "Fagots (sic) Stay Out."

Now there are six outlets, the newest being "ours" in Redondo.  We lunched there yesterday.  It's a huge space which you will see if you visit barneysbeanery.com.  Ocean and beach views out of every window and there are many windows.  The interior is broken up by partitions and there is a spacious patio out on the ocean-facing side. 

The menu amuses - for example Champagne Breakfast  chili-cheese hotdog and a bottle of Dom Perignon - $300. 

I ordered two grilled shrimp tacos ($8) and an order of onion rings (4.95)  The taco column offered roasted pineapple as an addition and I took them up on it.
The grilled shrimp looked as though they'd been boiled and then a kitchen torch was used to give them judiciously applied grill marks.   The onion rings were foolers - they looked crispy crunchy but were ... mushy? inside.

Richie ordered a medium bowl of chili ($4.95) which had something done to it to make it "Texas chili" ($1.00)

All of it was eminently edible, but ... indifferent somehow.  The old Barney's was just the same.  Cheapish food (no Kobe beef) indifferently cooked over the years. 

The ideal Barney's visit would be you and a group of friends to sit out on the patio and drink beer (Stella $3.50) and the hell with eating anything. 


No comments: