Echo Park Bar Owners Aim to Give Dodger Fans Some Extra Joy

In addition to working as an associate editor and reporter for KPCC, Hayley Fox is also these days doing PR for a certain neighborhood bar scheduled to re-open in Echo Park April 1. Just days after she married Joaquin Reyna-Donaldson last fall, he and business partner Don Andes took ownership of Little Joy, located at 1477 Sunset Blvd.. The new proprietors are now furiously completing a full renovation in time for Dodgers Opening Day.

“It was originally a garage,” Fox tells FishbowlLA. “Then it became a pharmacy, and because of that, Joaquin and Don have found all this crazy pharmaceutical stuff, like cool old beakers. Since the 1960s, it has been a bar.”

Fox’s significant owner has worked as a bartender around Echo Park since he moved here from Oakland 13 years ago. Little Joy will have eight beers on tap and well-poured, solidly old-fashioned hard liquor drinks.

“We still haven’t quite figured out how Little Joy got its name,” Fox confesses. “The whole thing has turned into this awesome history hunt.”

The walls have been stripped down to the original, exposed brick; there is a new oak bar handmade by a local craftsman; and though the style is not overall Art Deco, there are cool light fixtures from that era hanging over the main drinking area. Tomorrow afternoon, the plan is to start shooting official PR shots of Little Joy, which sits on the north side of Sunset at Portia Street, four blocks west of the Elysian Park Ave. entrance to Dodger Stadium.

Fox started at KPCC three years ago as an intern. She notes that if all goes well, Little Joy may actually open Friday March 29. But for certain, her husband and partner will be ready to share their dream-come-true of bar ownership with locals and Dodger fans on that Monday, after the Dodgers hopefully take their 1:15 p.m. home opener against the Giants.

[Pictured (l to r): Reyna-Donaldson and Andes, standing in front of a door from Little Joy’s original days as a garage. That artifact is now a sliding door in the new bar.]