Imperial Western Beer Company

Brewery, Bar, Eatery

Fred Harvey Room, Union Station
800 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, California, 90012
United States

(213) 270-0035 | map

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Beginner2 from Illinois

4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

As a dual geek (beer and trains), I was thrilled when this gastro-pub finally opened a few weeks ago in the exquisite Fred Harvey Room at LA's Union Station, the last great American station built.

Most recently, the Room had been rented out for parties and weddings; a great space uniquely decorated by combining arte moderne lines (from the last great train era) and Southwest Native American motifs and desert colors.

As part of my blog on central train stations, I have been studying/following LA Union Station over the last four years. Two years ago, I slipped into this Room on a guided tour. At that time, the station's owners (Metro) was still looking for a brewer/restauranteur as part of revitalizing this transportation hub. The current oyster-bar concept combined with fresh brews seems to have been worth the wait. (The concept probably is playing on Grand Central Terminal's famous Oyster bar in Manhattan.) The gastro-pub had just two weeks earlier and I detected only one or two signs that this was the shake-down cruise.

Add it all up and the Vibe is a LA spectacular. The large central bar is surrounded by more than a dozen tables, many are high-tops. Along two walls are several booths, curved and intimate. For amusement, there are billiards and other games. There is a Streamliner Bar in which cocktails are made and consumed. And there is an outdoor beer patio that will open after Thanksgiving.

I had a flight of four brews. (I wrote notes on the flight card, authentically designed using fonts from he 1930s when the station opened.) One brew, the saison, was brewed in their small, on-site brewhouse. Since the saison was average at best, I decided that their brewing might not yet up to the quality of the Room. However I noticed there were collaborations with better established brewers; two from the nearby ADBC (The Arts District Brewing Company) and one from the famous Bruery Terreux, a nice tart called Bells & Whistles.

Having just opened, servers did a good job of explaining the many options: some two dozen taps, three eating areas and the menu that was expanding beyond just oysters.

Their collaborative brews are a start; but if they want their beer to compete, they should reserve a few taps for the masters.
I'm probably too late for this suggestion, but I'd have named the pub differently; something that rings more urban LA than for California's Inland Empire which still is largely agricultural.

I've said plenty. I highly recommend this gastro-pub experience. I hope the Fred Harvey Room again makes Union Station into one of LA's great destinations.

Nov 22, 2018
Imperial Western Beer Company in Los Angeles, CA
Brewery rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 11 ratings