Meet Ken Adam from Fulham in London, who moved to Los Angeles 41 years ago to pursue working with teams and players in the old North American Soccer League.
Was there a particular reason you chose LA?
George Best was playing for the L.A. Aztecs and I was his manager at the time, along with many other British players. After the Aztec games, the players and fans would all go to a bar in Hermosa. We saw an opportunity so George, Bobby McAlinden and myself bought an old beer and wine bar in Hermosa Beach called Hard Times Tavern, spruced it up, got a liquor license and called it Bestie’s. It became the place for Brits in the South Bay – we had all the old favorites – fish and chips, shepherd’s pie etc and new arrivals from LAX would drop off newspapers that were like gold dust. No Internet in those days! I sold out in 1985 when I got my real estate license. By then I was married so I settled here instead of going back to the U.K.
What do you miss most from home? My three brothers and the countryside – everything else I can pretty much get here including Marmite!
What was your first impression of LA and has it changed since? If so, why? In 1975, Hermosa and Manhattan were sleepy little beach towns. Santa Monica was where most of the Brits ended up – there were a couple of British shops there and The King’s Head. Downtown LA was a place that you avoided as much as possible. My first impression was how glorious it must be to live in a place where the sun shines almost every day. Since then, of course, the population and the traffic has exploded and the beach towns have become more gentrified.
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus London? I’ve lived here so long, I find myself feeling like a tourist when I go to London – except when I go to Craven Cottage!
Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us? My hidden gems are in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez where I spend quite a lot of time. Although they’re not hidden, my local gems are restaurants run by Brits – Birch (Brendan Collins) in Hollywood and Chez Melange (Michael Franks) in Redondo Beach…
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here? Go for it and accept the U.S. for what it is – not perfect but still a wonderful place to be… and take the opportunity to explore if you can. California is a magnificent state with tremendous natural beauty but the U.S. is like fifty countries in one – each state has so much to offer.
Lots of our members join our group Brits in LA seeking out words of wisdom – what is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
When I first started in real estate, an older agent told me…’don’t get in the way of the deal.’ I think that can be applied to many situations – sometimes egos get in the way of a solution.
Lastly, how can we find out more about you? Are you working on anything at the moment? I’m still working on my book Best, Marsh…and Me? Hope to have it ready for publishing by the summer. My real estate website is www.britishrebroker.com – I represent buyers, sellers and investors along the beach, from El Segundo to Palos Verdes.