After 37 Jolly Good Years, Old Pasadena’s Beckham Bar & Grill Is Closing

Published : Tuesday, July 7, 2015 | 4:40 PM

The long beloved Pasadena staple Beckham Grill and Bar in Old Pasadena will close on August 8.

Since 1978 Beckham has been serving prime rib and other mostly English fare and drinks to happy customers, some of whom say they are “heartbroken” to hear of its closure.

“This place is a landmark restaurant. We’ve been here forever and we have a very loyal following, a lot of very sad customers that we’re going to be shutting down,” General Manager Ed Mysolveck said.

The symbolic English taxicab and red phone booth out front at 25 West Walnut Street have long welcomed visitors into the cozy rooms of the English-style pub. Beckham boasts an old charm the precise likes of which cannot be found elsewhere in Pasadena.

One customer Mysolveck told was almost in tears, saying every other place is so noisy.

“This place is an institution in Pasadena. The staff is wonderful. Everything is terrific. I just can’t believe that they’re just going to take it away. I can’t think of anything sadder. This is like my second family,” Christina Gilman said.

Gilman has been a regular at Beckham’s since 1981, first dining after a round of racquetball at the Pasadena Athletic Club.

A developer bought out the land that Beckham sits on and plans to build 201 apartment units with 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail.

“I don’t think something like that will be replaced in Pasadena. It’s sad,” Food critic Peter Dills said.

The closing came earlier than Mysolveck and his customers had anticipated.

Mysolveck received an email from a customer.

“We’re bummed. We’ve become in there for thirty-seven years. It’s one of the few restaurants serving good food where you can actually have a conversation without yelling across a table. I think I was there might be a mid to late twenty’s for the first time, I’m pushing sixty now. Thanks for all the fun, food, ambiance and all the memories,” the email read.

The owners, David and Hank Yost, plan to remodel what is currently Shakers Family Restaurant in Glendale with a brand new upscale and trendy concept.

“We hope to serve some of the same type of Beckham Grill meals there. It’s 10 minutes drive from here at Central Avenue,” Mysolveck said.

They hope to have the bar and 180 seat restaurant remodeled by January.

“They have submitted their design for review. It won’t go before the Design Review board, it’s exempted from that. They’re changing the façade and doing some pretty non-remarkable tenant improvement work, and the envelope for the building will stay the same,” said a Glendale Economic Development Corporation official of the plans by the Yosts to renovate the Glendale location.

When Dills moved to the Pasadena area in the 70s he said there were only about eight or nine “real restaurants” compared to the 100 today.

Dills, whose favorite was the end cut prime rib, pointed to the shortage of prime rib restaraunts in LA, with Beckham being the only one in Pasadena. The added allure to Beckham for him is the reasonable price.

“Pasadena is evolving and changing. When I moved here in the 70s it was houses and now it’s condominiums and apartments so it’s a loss for sure, I don’t know how it could be replaced for the people that like to go to Beckham Grill,” Dills said.

Originally named Beckham place, the restaurant became Beckham Grill in 1999.

“It was built back when they built restaurants bigger and different and quieter. Now there is not really any free standing restaurants left,” Mysolveck said.

Greystar Development acquired the site previously occupied by the Pasadena Athletic Club and Beckham Grill. They have submitted a proposal for 201 apartment units with 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail, which is in the final stages of design review.

“Pasadena used to be a lovely place to live. Frankly, it’s getting so crowded now and congested, the few places that are left, to see them getting tore down—it’s ridiculous,” Gilman said.

Beckham has been a Chamber member since its inception.

“I will certainly miss them. They were a mainstay in Pasadena, a Pasadena dining destination. Great food and a great bar, a nice place to go. They will be missed. They have been a chamber member for a long time too,” Chamber President Paul Little said, speaking highly of the martinis.

Becham Grill has been popular among Yelpers as well.

“I cannot even count the number of times that we have eaten at this fabulous restaurant. We had our first date here, our wedding reception here and we bring our special friends and family whenever we can. It’s our favorite date night place,” Jean D. of Glendale said on Yelp.

Another Yelper drove with his girlfriend from Santa Monica for a standing Monday night date at Beckham.

“Call us old school, but we really dig the dark clubby atmosphere of this place, quiet and relaxing, and the servers are always polished and professional. The consistency of the high food quality and good service keeps us coming back week after week…oh, and did I mention the $3.00 corkage? Overall, a killer value,” Rick C. said in a Yelp post.

Regulars also will miss the service.

“I have been a regular patron here for over 10 years, Beckham grill is a landmark of Pasadena. The prime rib and service are second to none. If you dine in the bar area, Jose the bartender will make you feel like a queen/king,” Irene L. of Pasadena said on Yelp.

Some of the most popular Beckham dishes will be moved to Central Park Restaurant at 219 S Fair Oaks Ave in Pasadena.

All the charming furnishings and memorabilia  inside the Walnut Street pub location be for sale.