Give Us Your Tired, Your Huddled Masses of Parents in Need of a Drink: Barnsdall + Silverlake Wine Fridays

by Jessica on August 16, 2010

GET ME MY WINE ALREADY! Eager crowds line up early to get into Barnsdall. But crap, I think I lost that baby hat last week (pictured bottom left).

Kid Hit Menu Items: Usual popular offerings from trucks: Let’s Be Frank, Coolhaus, and sometimes Frysmith or Gastrobus.

Adult Perks: This quality family play + grown-up drinking activity helps wind the summer weeks to a close. And because it’s at a stunning public space next to the landmark Hollyhock House, Barnsdall Fridays is one of the Los Angeles’s best all-ages activities. You can buy the $20 wine tasting flight that benefits Barnsdall Art Park and the house, or just hang out for free in other areas of the park, or pay $5 to gain entry into the drinking pen withoutthe wine part.

Pros: Many, depending on whom you ask. Amazing historic location, and I’m all for any event that raises funds for the house and property’s badly needed maintenance and ongoing rehabilitation. Fridays at Barnsdall now sell out in advance, and it’s awesome that Angelenos have expressed enthusiasm for this weekly summer ritual. (I’m also flattered that a blurb I wrote about the tasting appears in SL Wine’s weekly e-blast and on the Barnsdall Friday homepage!)

Cons: Many, depending on whom you ask. See where I’m going here?

Opinions and feelings are divided. Some who go without children think this party got co-opted. They might be grumpy about it, too. I get that. Others still go and have a good time anyway.

Face painting = shark jumped?

Changing Station: N/A

High Chairs: N/A

Winos and their progeny on the lawn atop Olive Hill.

Parking and Access: Parking is scattered around the Olive Hill site, but arrive early for a good space. Chances are if you’re with little ones, you’ll arrive by 6. Otherwise the Kaiser Sunset complex lot might be the only option during overflow days, and this arrangement involves a few elevator rides. Not necessarily a bad thing for toddlers.

This doesn’t capture the lovely view at 8 p.m. We truly live on the edge come Fridays.

Other Tidbits: When I wrote this piece for Squid Ink last year about how Barnsdall Fridays was quickly catching on with families, the tipping point had not yet been hit. Well, folks, this season has sealed the deal. With face painting and an arts & crafts table, make no mistake — the inmates are running the asylum. Um, I mean the families have taken over. No wonder; it’s a rare chance for adults to delight in their dual roles as grown-ups who wanna have fun AND have their kids with them.

Most people I know who aren’t parents have lost interest, which is too bad, but certainly understandable. Hell, even some parents are peeved. But mostly, they’re thrilled. Especially for us who live in the Los Feliz/Silver Lake/Echo Park etc. area, because it’s a special event where you can feel a sense of community, thanks to the dual forces of booze and children. Awwww…. And I love just showing up and knowing I’ll run into a bunch of peeps I’m psyched to see.

My biggest concern, frankly, is for the condition of the Hollyhock House. I hope a) people continue to respect the integrity of the house, and b) parents don’t forget to appreciate it while they’re wrangling the munchkins. Tours are adult only, thank goodness. (I would never bring my kids in. Come to think of it, one was in the Ennis House. But it was while he was in utero. And I didn’t even know I was pregnant at the time.)

So I don’t want to start a flame war, but this one will just have to be ceded to the majority. Anyone can still come, of course. Or maybe select weeks can be designated kid-free, and we can reach d├ętente that way. As some of my friends observed, is it so crazy to look forward to an event at which you can be outdoors, socialize, have some wine (not always the best offerings but it doesn’t really matter), celebrate an architectural jewel, and let the kids have fun in an appropriate setting? Or as someone said, “dude, you have BARS.”

And you can go to Cinespia. And the Greek. And the Hollywood Bowl. And tons of other cool shit. FOR FREE. Well, not for free, but at least without the added expense of childcare. Sorry for playing the self-sacrificing violin here. Hopefully you get the point.


4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz
Cuisine: Wine tasting, and some food trucks
Price: $$

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

The Sweetest August 27, 2010 at 8:35 pm

We went to this for the first time a couple of weeks ago- it was great. Beautiful weather, music, and wine for the grownups. We ate food from the trucks, but next time (next season, as this week was the last one) we will take our own picnic.


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