Finally, a victory for the shrinking landscape of L.A. dive bars. Rusty's Surf Ranch, the locally-loved rallying point for cover bands and basura beer on the Santa Monica Pier, was looking endangered for a minute there, with interest in its lease from Black Market Liquor Bar and The Happy Ending's Quintessential Group, who tempted the seaside with a new gastropub concept under Antonia Lofaso.
Santa Monica City Council voted instead to "honor our history," says one of its members, keeping Rusty's lease extended through 2024 at a $200,000-a-year rent. The bar will soon undergo a $500,000 remodel and add a second-level patio, while the casual, live entertainment concept will remain the same. Let's just hope the Council's still flying its local colors next time the issue of Chez Jay comes up again, too.