Iconic Neighborhood Dive Bar Transforms into LA’s Coolest Underground Music Venue
Updated: May 2
With its more than 60-year history in Los Angeles and “Cheers-like” atmosphere, The Barrel Tavern looks ahead to the future with new building upgrades and a focus on top-notch entertainment.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Inflation, recession chatter and even a pandemic have not stopped one of Los Angeles’ historic dive bars from persevering through it all. Nestled in the Sherman Oaks community, The Barrel Tavern has mastered the art of longevity. Now the tavern’s two current owners have their eyes set on the future.
“This year, we intend to renovate the front and rear portions of the bar to enhance the overall atmosphere and customer experience. We’ll also continue to work on modernizing the bar, but with careful obligations to the core vintage feel of the existing customer base,” explained Robert Jayne, who co-owns the bar with his brother, Scott Jacoby.
According to Jayne, he and Jacoby also have plans to add a roof deck to the dive bar sometime next year. In the meantime, establishing The Barrel Tavern as the best (not just the coolest) underground music venue in Los Angeles remains a top priority.
Talented live, local bands are currently featured every weekend. A Grateful Dead tribute band rocks the house on Mondays and eight to ten new artists hit the stage during Open Mic Tuesdays. A plan to launch a blues night possibly on Thursdays is forthcoming.
“Wednesdays are JENSING Karaoke, a staple rocker karaoke provider for over 20 years in the valley, and an original Barrel Karaoke entertainer we brought back last year,” Jayne said. “Our bar is also a great place for a game of pool and to watch sports games.”
The two brothers, who have no prior experience owning a bar, have operated The Barrel Tavern for about five years now. After purchasing the bar in 2018, the pair temporarily closed it for renovations, which included a new bar, back shelves, display, booths, bathrooms and vintage décor – all while keeping the historical integrity intact. It reopened in October 2019 to great success, but then just a few months later COVID-19 hit. The bar shuttered its doors again on St. Patrick’s Day 2020.
“For inexperienced bar owners heading into a long-term shutdown, The Barrel Tavern seemed destined to close for good. However, with help from the City of Los Angeles providing permits to open up the parking lot and frontage during COVID, as well as the regulars supporting the bar, my brother and I decided to give it one more go and re-reopened The Barrel Tavern in June 2021,” Jayne said.
The friendly bar remains committed to providing good service and fun entertainment to patrons on a budget, Jayne said. Drink prices have purposely remained affordable, with $5 happy hours every day from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. No cover charge is required to enter the bar.
“Almost daily someone walks in and tells us some crazy story about the one time they went here, how much the bar means to them, and how happy they are with its progress,” Jayne said. “The best part of its history is the continued loyalty by our customer base, and always seeing familiar faces any day of the week.”
Along with its many regular patrons, actor Seth Green of “Austin Powers” fame, David Faustino who starred in “Married with Children,” singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb, Hollywood acting couple Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, singer-songwriter Jacob Dylan and various UFC fighters are just some of the famous faces that have set foot inside the iconic dive bar.
The Barrel Tavern is located at 4547 Van Nuys Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. It’s open from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. To learn more, visit: https://www.thebarreltavern.com/.
ABOUT THE BARREL TAVERN: Originally two stores, a beer bar and a liquor store, a 1957 renovation project brought the pair together to form THE BARREL. Carl J. Manisco ran it for 40 years where it served as a popular hangout spot for Dodgers football players in the 1950s. Manisco sold the bar in the late 1980s but kept the building. Eventually, the bar fell on hard times through poor management, advanced aging, and lack of consistency or regard for its history. However, a core group of regular patrons continued to make it their home, including brothers Scott Jacoby and Robert Jayne. The pair tried to buy the bar numerous times but were always turned down. When the second owner passed away in 2018, Robert and Scott approached Manisco and promised if he sold them the building, they would bring his bar back to life as he originally imagined it. To this day, the two have been true to their word.