7 chill places in L.A. to play a pickup game of chess
AUG. 31,2022 9 AM PT – Source: LA Times. Reporting by: Charisma Madarang
Chess Park Lounge sits on top of what used to be Glendale’s Chess Park. But while the park was a barren alleyway with concrete chess tables, the lounge welcomes visitors with cushioned seats, polished wooden chess boards and a menu of food and drinks to keep you around.
While this may not be the best place for pickup chess — you’ll need to check in with the host and grab a seat — Chess Park earns a place on the list thanks to its sheer dedication to all things chess. From the wall of fame of 50 grandmasters to the glassy chandelier dripping chess pieces to the chess beer taps, every inch of this space builds off the spirit of the former alleyway. “They honor what used to be here — down to the knobs from where we pour our drafts,” says Angelica Brenes, one of the managers.
Owner Aro Agakhanyan tells me that at first, the city of Glendale refused to let him name the lounge after the failed city park. But eventually they came around after seeing his blueprints. “I want to bring the chess culture back,” Agakhanyan says. “It has a lot of wisdom.”
On a typical afternoon, jazz music filters from the large outdoor patio to the moody horseshoe bar. Upon checking in, you can ask the host for one of their wooden chess boards and play a game over a cocktail (all from-scratch juices and syrups) and a bite. There’s even a nod to Deep Blue, the first computer to win a match against a world chess champion — just peek at the seafood section.
Word has it that grandmaster Maurice Ashley recently dined there, too. Celebrity spotters, take note.
Source: Los Angeles Times