Setting up shop in a former eyesore is a keen business strategy: the neighborhood's bar is set low, and if the spot was actually the neighborhood bar, everyone's now sober enough to appreciate how much better-looking your joint is. For a beauty built-out in a former dilapidated Hollywood Video, check out The Lowry
Finally gorgeous-ifying the building that made the block cringe for years, The Lowry's a boozy, modern diner decked with clean leather booths, stained concrete floors, rich wood everywhere, and a sleek fireplace near the hostess stand, which is hopefully staffed by some good-looking HoHos. The full day of mealing starts with breakfast twists like a meatloaf hash, then hits lunch with a fried oysters/ slaw/ pickles/ remoulade "Oyster Peacemaker" hoagie, and finally graces dinner with the braised beef/ mirepoix/ potato croquette/ horseradish "Crepes Pot-Au-Feu", also a phrase uttered by French lunatics to describe the gardening habits of pastries. They also have nifty cocktails like the bourbon/honey syrup/grapefruit juice Brown Derby, and there are 12 tall boy options & 36 crafty taps -- some of which are labeled "oyster friendly" to wash down the menu staple -- including Tall Grass Oasis, and Harriet West Side, aka what Beecher Stowe would shout to fire up the crowd during Cali book tours
If you think indoor eating's for the birds, you have a misconception about avian behavior, they've also created a 45-person patio by lopping off the original building's rear end, which everyone is now more discerning about thanks to that old bar being gone.