The Good Liver Sells Rare, Wordly Home Goods in the Arts District
By Reuben Brody / October 23, 2018 9:00 am

Great shops tend to come with a backstory. Oftentimes these stories take a very similar shape: the owner will tell you it was initially just a hobby, and he or she left their job for it. Or they lost their job in the recession and all of the sudden found themselves hawking rare teas and Persian rugs.

But for Bert Youn, a Disney animator by day and proprietor of Arts District home goods emporium The Good Liver by night, it all started with a quick trip to South Korea to visit his parents. “It was a coincidence,” says Youn over a steaming mug of hōjicha tea. “I was visiting my parents and ended up getting drafted into the military.”

South Korea, like Israel, has mandatory military service for its citizens, and though Youn is a dual citizen, his knowledge of conscription rules had sort of lapsed. “It was a coincidence because I was burned out on animation.” A coincidence that eventually prove to be a life-changing blessing in disguise.

He went to boot camp. After six weeks of taking orders, throwing grenades and firing obsolete rifles, Youn found himself pushing paper at a courthouse. Public service comes in many forms, and like most government work, this one punched out at 5:00 p.m. In his free time, Youn moonlighted at his friend’s design shop.

“We designed logos, shops and styled shoots,” he says. “People wanted all of this stuff for shoots or for their stores, and I was already collecting it. I had amassed an archive helping them find the right objects.”

Eventually, The Good Liver was born: at first as an online store, where Youn compiled the items he found and sold them off piecemeal. The site grew quickly gained a following, and its curator decided to try his hand at brick and mortar in the Arts District upon moving back to L.A.

The Good Liver (4 images)

Like the store itself, all of the items on offer have a backstory.

For example, the Usuhari glass cups: “The company started as a light-bulb maker, doing these hand-blown light bulbs until one day they grew out of fashion. So they used their skill to begin making ultra thin drinking glasses.”

The vintage tools that cover one table have all been restored by an artisan who Youn keeps close to the vest; all are well-weighted and timeless. He has rare Japanese teas which you can sample in store. There are tea kettles, straight razors and a small-batch toothpaste. Kitchen knives made by German and Japanese blacksmiths. Ample flatware and kitchen tools you won’t find anywhere else in the country, much less the county.

Youn is also soon adding a test kitchen where they’ll host tea tastings and tutorials on how to use some of their more more specialized kitchen gear.

The Good Liver is located beside Arts District Wines, across from Guerilla Tacos and within earshot of Everson Royce Bar; hit them all in one go and you might be able to knock out your holiday shopping in an afternoon.

When’s the last time you had that done before November?

All images via The Good Liver