WILSHIRE BLVD — The Parlor restaurant and sports bar, which earlier this year was forced to reduce its operating hours after residents complained to the Santa Monica City Council the establishment was a nuisance — has closed for renovations but plans to re-open.
Residents who criticized The Parlor for attracting an unruly late night crowd to their once-quiet Wilmont neighborhood last week said rumors are swirling the business may close for good.
But on Friday, Silas Gaither, a part owner, said he plans to re-open The Parlor this fall.
“We’re just trying to do re-modeling and just get the place up and running for football season. That’s really all that’s going on,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents who had testified before the City Council that patrons at The Parlor would make noise, leave litter and urinate on private property while leaving the bar around 2 a.m., said a sense of calm has returned to their block.
“At night, it’s like the way the neighborhood was when I first moved in. It’s pretty amazing,” said Diane Krakower, who helped organize opposition to The Parlor.
In June, the restaurant and bar, located at 1519 Wilshire Blvd., was forced to begin closing at midnight on weekends and at 11 p.m. on weekdays, rather than at 2 a.m.
The council imposed the restriction as a stipulation in the establishment’s “conditional use permit.” Represented by land use attorney Chris Harding, The Parlor’s owners had said the restriction could run them out of business and argued the bar should be allowed to stay open until 2 a.m. like other similar establishments.
On Friday, Gaither acknowledged the new requirement was a blow to business.
“It’s very crippling,” he said, especially since bars like South and Busby’s in Santa Monica and Q’s Billiard Club in West Los Angeles can stay open until the state-mandated closing time. “It’s really unfortunate to be honest. No one really goes out in Santa Monica until at least 10.”
But he said there are no plans to close permanently, despite a message on The Parlor’s Facebook page that says it’s “closed until further notice.”
Councilman Kevin McKeown, though, last week said he’s learned that a restaurant broker has made inquiries at City Hall about submitting an application for a conditional use permit for the site on behalf of a different operator.
The broker, who was not named, “appeared to be marketing the space for an entirely new tenant,” McKeown said.
City Hall planners could not be reached for this article.
Gaither, though, said he’s making changes to the menu and sprucing up the decor in an attempt to boost business.
“We’re trying to make it work. We’re trying to survive. We’ll be all right,” he said.
But he added the experience with neighborhood activists and the City Council has been discouraging: “For three unhappy neighbors to be able to shut down a business is pretty scary,” he said.
Gaither and his business partners recently opened a second bar, The Parlor Hollywood, on Melrose Avenue, adding to speculation the group may be planning an exit from Santa Monica.
If a new operator takes over at The Parlor’s location, McKeown said the owners would have to either obey the operating hours restrictions that are in place, or else submit a new application that would be subject to a public review.
“I can assure you the city staff has learned from The Parlor experience,” he said.