In researching the SoCal football bar guide, one joint kept popping up: The Parlor
After the pandemic shutdown of 2020, the owners of The Parlor sports bar on Melrose didn’t bother opening their doors until the fall. And this year, even though L.A. County COVID regulations allow bars to fully open, the Hollywood game watch hotspot is scheduled to reopen after renovations Sept. 9 for the NFL’s 2021 debut.
“Football is what we were built for,” says Ajay Relan, co-owner of The Parlor. “We started 12 years ago during football season. It’s always been our busy season. It’s the most fun, the most rewarding, the best environment we can curate.”
In researching the Times’ L.A. college football bar guide, connecting fans with their team’s favored watch locations, one name came up more than all the others as being associated with a particular base: The Parlor. Already for this fall, Relan says Michigan, Penn State and Clemson have signed up for regular events — and plenty more groups appear to informally consider it their preferred haunt.
Due to renovations that will only enhance the bar’s natural indoor-outdoor flow — patrons who are sitting in the patio lounge area have about 10 TVs at their disposal plus a clean view of two big projector screens inside — college football fans will have to wait an extra week to indulge.
After a year in which the pandemic forced people to watch football at home, L.A. bar owners are excited to see crowds pack in on Saturdays and Sundays.
Relan expects it will be worth it.
“We really pride ourselves on being your home away from home,” he says. “L.A. is such a melting pot of people from all over the country, from some of the most remote places to some of the most well-known places. We made it a priority to service the groups, which is a testament to why they keep coming back.”
Relan says this fall The Parlor will seem more like normal, but not all the way, of course, with the Delta variant still spreading in the community. Following the county’s restrictions, patrons will be asked to wear masks while not eating or walking around the space, and servers will wear face shields for their own protection.
Knowing the importance of outside viewing to some patrons, The Parlor added a retractable awning for the patio for hot days. And at night, if it gets cool, they can use the fire pits.
Relan feels fortunate, after a year and a half of COVID, to be in a position to ramp up for another fall.
“A lot of our peers unfortunately were not able to make it out,” he says. “Go around the city and see so many of our favorite spots shut down. We certainly had a fear we weren’t going to be able to make it, which was sad. We have such a loyal customer base.
“We’re grateful that we’re seeing our 12th season.”
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