THE LONG HELLO
In this pub, there are certainly shots – of the kind poured in small glasses in secretive rooms, where the perfect pint and a double dose of John Jameson soothe the senses. But what’s with the small room done up like a ship Captain’s cabin? And these inscribed bar stools – who were these dames and gents whose names are forever recalled in the dimly lit, sheltering oasis of this big city bar?
The name of the place is Casey’s Irish Pub, housed in a discreet one-story historic building present since the days the Red and Yellow cars roamed the City of Angels.For over 30 years, Casey’s has been a landmark watering hole and hideaway, a refuge for daytime workers and nighttime revelers. In the midst of downtown development, Casey’s stands a proud survivor, weathered by history but kept alive by tradition.
Fleeing the city heat and hubris, look for Casey’s Emerald Isle awning. Descend the brick staircase to the lower patio. Wander through the arches of the underground foyer, and you’re welcomed by a massive mahogany bar and hand-pressed tin ceilings. Dark wooden booths line the long rooms; pick one, toss aside your trench coat and fedora, and sink into downtowns only authentic Irish pub.
Built in 1916 and introduced as an upstairs General Store and downstairs Turkish bath house, the building was converted into the B&M Cafeteria in 1924, a whitegloved enclave where the city’s elite passed appetizers and confidences. The General Store became the main dining area, and the basement below – now Casey’s – was the food preparation area catering to the city’s emerging oil-fueled aristocracy.
The building was purchased by C.O. Manspeaker in 1930, and revamped into a Spanish style eatery complete with singing caged canaries and Spanish Troubadours: the joint was called La Palma. Mrs. Grace C. Longley purchased the building in 1962. Sumitoma Bank took over the ground floor and the basement was turned into a private dinner club as deep investments and fast-money became the new neighbors.
In 1969, the Casey’s we know began; rooted in the same creative partnership that innovated the Tam O’Shanter Inn and Lawry’s The Prime Rib. The original structure was moved back from the street 30 feet and a brick-walled patio was built below street level. The facade underwent a Hollywood-worthy (brick and wrought iron) facelift by the dreamers who designed San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square.
A sports-themed annex was added in 1973 to accommodate Casey’s growing popularity. Any stockbroker or banker worth their salt could be found at Casey’s any given day of the week. As the setting sun tracked across Casey’s patio, Dan Brown and John McCarthy acquired the pub in 1992. Many punts and pints later, Mike Winn and Mark Verge purchased the pub in 2003 at the dawn of the New Downtown renaissance.
Casey’s iconic pub presence has translated well to many a commercial, TV show and feature film. The list of hundreds of projects shot at Casey’s includes Mad Men, CSI, X-Files, Charlie Wilson’s War featuring Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks, Good Night and Good Luck with George Clooney, Mr. Deeds with Adam Sandler and Fallen starring Denzel Washington.
In 2007, Casey’s became part of 213 and Cedd Moses portfolio of popular Downtown LA bars; since then Casey’s has been steadily fashioned to fit the mold of the Dublin-inspired “Super Pub” it is destined to become. There is something at every turn in this historic haven. With 10,000 square feet of nook and crannies, Casey’s giant footprint of assorted rooms & outdoor patio accommodates table dining, booth & snug seating, a dart room and billiards, multiple TV screens, the Jameson live music stage, and several reception rooms and alcoves for private parties and special events.
Set in the bones of the last one-story building surrounded by skyscrapers in center city, Casey’s Irish heart and soul beats to the pulse of New Downtown Los Angeles; there for you to investigate. Slink underground. Belly up to the bar. Order a stiff one. Lean back and become part of a treasured downtown tradition, part of Casey’s.