Lucky Baldwins Co-Owner David Farnworth Passes Away

It is with great sadness  that we share the news of David Farnworth‘s passing today.  For those who don’t know David, he was the co-founder of Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena, CA.

We got word on this today from Bill Sysak (Dr. Bill) about the passing of Dave Farnworth, born September 27, 1952.

Dave was a dear friend of mine, who I will miss greatly! Even though his bar Lucky Baldwins masquerades as an English pub, it was actually the first Belgian centric beer bar in Southern California. In the late 90’s Dave introduced 1,000’s to beers like Orval & Cantillon. He loved Belgium and traveled their as often as he could. He was so revered for his work promoting Belgian ales that he was given an honorary knighthood by the Belgian Brewers Guild, as a  Knight of the Mash Staff. So the next time you drink a Belgian ale give a little toast to Sir David.

David and Lucky Baldwin’s are a huge part of craft beer history. David, along with co-owner Peggy Simonian provided a Southern California land mark destination for good beer.  Many people, including myself, were introduced to the world of European classics and local treasures because of Lucky Baldwins.  While there is a new beer bar opening up seemingly every week, from the mid 90’s, up until recently, Lucky Baldwin’s was a place to find the finest of beers if you lived in Los Angeles.

I had a chance to meet David two years ago, before he became ill, and he was quite a fun character.  He had sent out an email that a specialty beer was going to be put on tap in a few hours. A beer I was looking forward to trying.  I went up to him, introduced myself, and whined to him that I really wanted to try that beer, but I had to get going soon, and couldn’t wait a few hours, and if he could still let my party and I try the beer.  He chucked and told me “too bad”, but then proceeded down to the dungeon below the pub to put it on tap for us. Everyone who does know David well knows that he acted salty, but was a lovable, kind soul. A lovable kind soul who brought us tasty craft beer well before it was the popular thing to do.

If you need your fix of fish and chips, a pint of English ale, and  a soccer match, head down to the original Lucky Baldwin’s on Colorado and Raymond and hoist a pint in David Farnworth’s honor!

We’d like to encourage you to leave kind words/fond memories of David or Lucky Baldwin’s in the comment section below. David’s memory will live on through the three Lucky Baldwin’s locations, one in Old Town Pasadena, one near PCC in Pasadena and one in Sierra Madre, CA. Please visit for hours and contact information


  1. says

    It seems odd that I have not been mentioned in David’s life as I was married to him for 11 years – we lived in Benoni South Africa. David left me for his second wife whom he divorced. He came to see me not that long before he died. I wonder why I have bee written out of his life? I was not even informed of his death.

  2. Herb Agner says

    I never met Dave, but Lucky Baldwin’s are some of my favorite pubs in LA. His legacy is intact, and I just wanted to say “thanks” here to him for all the great times I’ve been able to have because of the establishments he created. Thanks Dave and save a pint for me in the next life!

  3. Jenn Brandt says

    I found out not too long ago. I knew Dave since luckys first opened up in old town. Dave was a salty character but with a kind heart, loving heart.
    miss u

  4. Rob Franklin says

    I was so very saddened to hear of David’s death, and on behalf of all his ex colleagues and friends at VisitBritain, I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to his family. He will be sorely missed by all of us who knew him.

  5. Brandon says

    I never got a chance to meet Dave (or maybe I met him and just never knew it), but I’m thankful for his contributions to the Los Angeles and Pasadena beer scene. I’ve been to Lucky B’s way too many times to count, and I always have a blast there so thanks for everything. I’ll definitely be having a brew or two in his honor. My condolences go out to his friends and family.

  6. says

    David was fun,collaborative,imaginative and so very kind. We adored working with him and Peggy on the Belgian extravaganzas they cooked up each year at Lucky Baldwins.
    Our industry is full of spirited characters and big-hearted souls. David is right at the head of that pack. We like to imagine that at this moment he and Ray Deter (of DBA) are relaxing on a big fluffy cloud, sharing a chalice of Belgian ale. David made the world he lived in a better place and died far too young. We were so glad to know him.

  7. Pam says

    Sending my condolonces to Dave’s family. My memories are from the early 70’s in England and being introduced to Soul music and scooters by Dave. Happy memories of a lovely man.

  8. Bob Wright says

    Sad news for me. Dave was a good man who will be missed by many.
    Forever grateful for his kindness to the Liverpool fans and his sacrifice of the early morning games.
    Hoping his children will be OK, will pray for them.
    He gave us a place with a great atmosphere.

    Thanks to Russell for giving us a chance to say goodbye, even though it was sad to see him so sick.
    He had never been sick.


  9. says

    I first met Dave at the original Lucky B’s at the corner of Arroyo and Union in 1994. He introduced us to our first Barleywine, Old Nicks.Also our first Belguim ales, sharing a bottle with us.Since that day it was a hop spot for my freinds and I. Farewell Dave, were gonna miss.Get that pub open wherever you are.

  10. Andris Teti {Andrais} says

    I have had the good fortune to work for & get to know Dave for 15 ++ years..threw tuff times & good !!! most good !!!He probibly wantid to strangle me most times .. The hardest working man I know !!!for sure.I will miss him but remember the education & support he has given me for years !!!!!!!!!! I love working at luckys and meeting the drinkers & friends coming in . Peg & Dave have ben the best !!! i would do it all over if had to !! he will always be with us sipping the ale’s & i will continue working & supporting Peggy & family at Lucky Baldwins as long as thay will have me!!!!! I Love you Dave & Peg & family !!! Andris p.s. thanks for the good words people !! XOXO

  11. Steve Zweig says

    I first went Belgium in 2004 with Dave and six others for ten days. It was more fun than you could imagine. Dave made arrangements for our brewery visits et al. Unforgettable.

    Cheers, Mate!! RIP with G-d…SSZ

  12. LA Spurs Supporters Club says

    RIP David.

    Thank for you for being so kind to open early for all of us over the years.

    Condolences to David’s family at this very sad time, from everyone at the L.A. Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Club.

  13. says

    I can’t even begin to express what a big impact Dave had on my appreciation for great beer. Back when I worked at Whole Foods Arroyo, he’d come by a couple times a week for a pint of Gouden Carolus Noel, St. Bernardus Abt 12, or really whatever I had on tap that was delicious. He’d often come in with Penny or his brother, and he’d always strike up a conversation with somebody. We’d chat and he’d always instill me with some new wisdom about beer.

    I still remember my first visit to Lucky Baldwins, finally making it over after Dave kept coming to my establishment and asking what I was waiting for. I asked about Bacchus, which he told me was terrible, though he proceeded to pour me a glass anyway. I took a sip, enjoyed the hell out of it, and looked up to see Dave grinning. There it was…that telltale humor that endeared so many of us to him. He was one helluva guy, and I’ll always cherish the times I got to spend in his presence. Thanks for everything, Dave. You knew how to live!

  14. Jonathan O says

    Dave took beer to a whole new level. Compared to the Toronado and Monk’s I’d take Lucky B’s any day. On its best days LBs was better than any other beer bar in the US. Dave refined numerous crude american palates and had more of an influence on food culture than will be recognized. Cheers Dave. Your beer mania lives on!

  15. Delia says

    My deepest condolences to Dave’s family. I have enjoyed going to LB’s for many years for the excellent beer and comeradieship. He will be sorely missed.

  16. says

    Dave was a pioneer in “good beer bars” in Los Angeles. Lucky Baldwins was the only place I could get an Aventinus or Piraat on tap in the proper glass 10 years ago. Still may be today…

    Cheers Dave, you’ll be missed. And thanks again for the mini Chimay glass!

  17. Tracey Gilbert says

    David, his wife Anne and their beautiful kids John and Kate have been friends with my family for the past 20 plus years. David was a wonderful family man and the best father to his kids. He’ll be missed. God bless you David, you are at peace now and will be watching over your family for eternity.

  18. Barry, Linda & Zoe Griffin says

    What sad news :o( Thanks Dave, you’ll definitely be missed. Even our 6 yr. old enjoys going to Lucky’s to pass the afternoon away. Her favorites are the crisps and sweets.

  19. Diana Davis says

    David was a wonderful man. He took good care of all the Maltose Falcons whenever they came by. he let me take the entire upstairs on a busy Saturday Night for my Husband’s birthday and happily wolfed down my carrot cake. He cheerfully fulfilled my request to serve my first bulldog, Halsey, a hamburger patty on the patio every year on the dog’s birthday. He brought amazing beer to Los Angeles. He was a real character in a town full of fake people. Some couldn’t handle David’s quirks, but then, they probably couldn’t find Belgium on a map and prefer Budweiser, anyhow. God knows what treasures he had hidden beneath the OG pub. May they now see the light of day in his honor.

  20. Karin P says

    Thank you to Dave and all at Lucky’s for many wonderful nights on the patio rain or shine! It was at Lucky’s that I discovered my love of the Belgian brews and I look forward to the festival every year. Cheers to Dave!

  21. DazWr says

    I saw him two weeks ago and was reluctantly expecting this news. Godspeed Dave and are prayers are with your son and daughter as well as your many friends.

  22. tflemingo says

    David, you alienated quite a few in your days but always did right by me.
    You were a good friend and I’ll miss you.

  23. Jon says

    David, thank you for giving me a job for several years, thank you for helping mature my palate for the best beers in the world. You were indeed a salty old dog, but your heart was kind and gentle. Sorry to see you go, friend, but I know you’re better now. Sending love to those you leave behind.

  24. Irene C. Smith says

    R.I.P Mr. David many great times @ his pub, you will be missed dearly.
    Love, The Smith family El Paso, Tx

  25. Ed Chainey says

    Dave was a gentleman’s gentleman and a true publican’s publican. I raise my toast in his honor.

  26. Eric Bland says

    Never met David, but certainly enjoy Lucky Baldwin’s and his contribution to beer appreciation in LA.

  27. says

    I am truly shocked and saddened by this news. Was just checking email with a pint of homebrew, now opening a stashed bottle of Westy in his honor. Dave, you will be missed!

  28. clevskin says

    We had alot of good times @ Luckys, I got to have a few pints with David and he will be missed this beer beer I’m drinking while I’m texting this @this very moment is for him, oi oi oi cheers to David

  29. Thomas H says

    LB was one of the first “good bars” I had ever been to. It’s also one of the first bars I ever got to try interesting Belgian beers on tap. I’m thankful for what David did for craft beer in Southern California, he will be missed.

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