Vintage News

  • Dali of the Dive Bars: A Brief History of Mid-Century Barroom Artist Frank Bowers

    Artist Frank Bowers' work––colorful oil paintings featuring groups of men and women engaged in activities not suitable for polite discussion––has kept watch over inebriated patrons from the walls of dive bars around southern California for over sixty years.

    Despite having a story largely buried by the sands of time, Bowers' work as a muralist has achieved a unique level of fame in the many years since his death.

    His paintings, like the long-lived bars that house them, have no doubt comforted alcohol-saturated brains with the illusion of permanence.

    But earlier this summer in the city of Santa Fe Springs, that illusion flickered like a busted neon sign as social media users announced Embers Lounge had shuttered its doors for good. The bar, which had been under the same ownership for 58 years, featured a 4-foot tall Bower’s mural depicting a swinging hell-scape.