Proud to be The Best Little Dive Bar in Town
by Tracy Dietlin
Everyone knows about the Red Barn. It’s been the best little dive bar in town since 1968 and has always been owned by Milo Mallotte. That is until April 1 of 2012 when John Labrano bought the Barn. Labrano, who had been coming to the desert since the early 70s, had been looking to buy a bar here in town for the last few years. He moved from Long Beach to Palm Desert in 2006. His first time at the Red Barn was in 2009. “A friend of mine told me to meet him here on a Sunday to watch a football game,” says Lobrano. “I fell in love with it right away and told my friend I wanted to buy it. He laughed and said Milo will never sell it.” Then later that year, John found out that Milo was actually looking to sell so he hunted him down and took him to breakfast.
“We hung out for about 3 weeks,” recalls Lobrano. “We went back and forth to each other’s houses and shared a few meals and finally I just said ‘just give me a fair price of what you want for it and I’ll buy it’ and here we are.”
There have been some positive changes since he took over. The ceilings have been fixed, the walls painted, a small stage installed and a PA for the bands. There’s even been a cool mural painted behind the stage. “I don’t want to change it, I just want to clean it up. I’m not looking to change what it is, because I bought it for what it is. But I’m somewhat of a clean freak so it can still be a dive bar, but be a clean one,” he says laughing and then adds, “I’m going to redo the bar, replace the carpet and the bathrooms are going to look like the Taj Mahal.” He says that women want a clean bathroom and a bar that’s safe and he’s going to provide both.
Long time patrons of the Barn’s music scene can still count on seeing their favorite bands perform with an extended schedule for live music that includes Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. They are doing OPEN MIC on Tuesday nights. Labrano shared that he would like to go more classic rock and Top 40 but they will still have local music groups such as hip-hop artist and local metal bands and also resident DJs. “ I want to have music that people want to get up and dance to.
Right now all the bands are starting at 9:00pm.
Labrano says he really bought the Barn for his sons. “I have 3 sons and someday this will be theirs. To be honest I’m 47 and getting lazy and I plan on working another 5-7 years and then I want to retire and invest in real estate.”
Bottom line is, The Red Barn is still The Barn and going strong!
Red Barn Mascot