The Friendly Stop

985 Congress Ave, Glendale

Dive Score: 76 (What’s This?)

The Friendly Stop Certainly Lives Up To Its Name

The Friendly Stop has a lot to live up to with that name.  You have a very defined expectation when you walk in the door to snag lunch or a couple of beers with your friends.  We’ve all been to places like that, too that end up being a bit of a letdown when you walk in.  I’m happy to report that not only is The Friendly Stop incredibly friendly and warm… it’s eclectic, fun, the food is delicious, and you’ll actually want to hang out there, unlike many other bars.

What To Expect From The Friendly Stop

When you walk into The Friendly Stop you’re first struck by the decor of the place.  The walls of the bar are covered with memorabilia, everything from license plates to pictures to signs.  It’s like a flea market, a bar and a country store all shaken up and mixed into one space.

The bar somehow manages to take a neighborhood bar and mix it with the vibe of a small, mom-and-pop run country kitchen in everything from the food to the feeling of the space… and that’s 100% why I like to spend time there with a beer in my hand.

They have a “cozy” dining room inside the building. It fits more people than you expect it to, but it’s not in any way a big space.  Upstairs is a deck on the roof to give you some space to hang out in the sunshine when the weather is nice.

The History

The wooden floors, the decor, it’s like you’re surrounded by stories that have soaked into the building itself.  That’s because there are plenty of stories to tell over the years.  The building itself started its life in 1907 when it was built as a barbershop with a house above it.  Some time (probably in the 20s), the barbershop was converted into a bar and it spent a few decades providing only liquid libations for its loyal customers.

In 1980, though – the bar got a new life when the founders of Grand Finale across the street purchased it.  The owners purchased it most likely to improve the neighborhood… the bar had become a little (less than desirable) over its lifetime.  They added food to the business and it started to flourish afterward.

The Friendly Stop has transitioned through a couple of different owners in the time since and, in my opinion, has only improved in that time.  It certainly helps when owners come into a place like this with the desire to be part of a community and, even more importantly, a space that holds such a warm personality.

My Takeaway

There are a lot of bars that I enjoy a lot.  However, few possess the genuine character that The Friendly Stop does, and even fewer seem to be headed in that direction.  You cannot artificially create a space like theirs – and you can feel it in your bones when you are in the building.

Friendly Stop showcases a model that other neighborhood bars should strive towards, though.  It’s about letting things grow and evolve into what they are naturally instead of trying to force them into a box that you want them to be in.  Know yourself, and don’t be afraid to let your flag fly.

You know… Be Gnarly.

1 thought on “The Friendly Stop Really Lives Up To It’s Name!”

  1. Cindra Broenner husband and his relatives were habitats from Glendale for at least 100 hundred years..

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