Ham & Eggs
“From the outside, not much makes sense,” says David Deluca, the owner of Ham and Eggs Tavern on 8th and Olive. “You have to walk in to get it.” Though it’ll barely turn three this month, Ham and Eggs is like any of Downtown’s most treasured holes-in-the-wall: there’s an element of charm and confusion and discovery that most newer places can’t quite replicate. The rock-and-roll dive kept the original window signage from Uncle John’s Ham and Eggs, the 3-decade-old Chinese and American diner that used to be in the space. Now, it’s part wine and beer bar, part small music venue, part house party thrown by your coolest friends.
“We’re really a friendship bar,” says Ollie Stone, who’s been bartending at Ham and Eggs since its first month open. “We’re about good conversation, good drinks, good music, good bartenders who are your friends.”
Even though Ham and Eggs isn’t on a high-traffic block, with not much more than The Golden Gopher and a half-built hotel as neighbors, it still draws a crowd that’s largely regulars. Some of them are even hesitant to recommend Ham and Eggs: all the best things are even better kept secret.
Ham and Eggs sprung from Deluca’s desire to unite his background in music and wine in one place, and do so in a way that was open-minded and all-inclusive. Wine selections change weekly, and are always priced at $8 a glass, even if they may be worth more. It’s important to Deluca that there are no airs about what they serve— wine’s reputation has become sort of snooty and intimidating, and Deluca aims to change that.
“No pretentions. No bullshit,” Deluca emphasizes. “I’ve never looked at this business as anything other than figuring out an environment for people to spend time together.” Ham and Eggs extends a similar attitude towards the music they host — whenever someone relevant is in the neighborhood, they’re welcome to come play. The space is open to any act that takes it seriously. Most performers are relatively small, but are more than worth their weight. Last month, Ham and Eggs hosted Terminal A, which LA Weekly recently named as one of the LA’s 20 best current punk bands.
“Show up on time, don’t lie, don’t be weird, and we’ll let you play here,” says Stone. “That’s all it takes.” It’s this sort of openness that sets Ham and Eggs apart. The big guys are invited, the little guys are invited, there’s plenty to drink, and if a good band is around, they’ll put on a show. “You don’t really know what’s going to happen in a couple hours,” Deluca says. “And that’s very important.”