Behind the Circus Curtains

Cultural icon, quality liquor store, and wholesome picture of a thriving family business, the Hawara family has been building Circus Liquor for three generations.

Issa Hawara started helping out at the store in 7th grade when his dad first bought it in 1981 and raised his son Tyler with the same fond childhood memories and connection to the business. Tyler explains, “I look at my dad as a teacher and follow in his footsteps.

I hear how people talk about his success, it’s my motivation to strive to be like him.” Tyler, age 22, has begun managing the Sylmar branch. The Hawaras also see all of Circus Liquor like an extension of their family. Between their 5 stores, they only have 30 employees: a dedicated tight-knit crew that has taken care of each other over many years.

Issa and Tyler’s favorite part of the job is knowing their product and picking out what they know their customers will love, especially in their top-shelf whiskey and bourbon section.

They hunt down highly coveted limited release bottles and treat their loyal enthusiasts to an inordinate variety of delicacies. But the Hawaras don’t own just any high-quality liquor store, they’re also working on a film set and tourist destination.

They navigate regular calls from major studios asking to rearrange the store to fit a film’s time period, managers setting up bottle signing events for celebrities like 50 Cent or Ian Somerhalder, and influencers/celebrities like Tanna Mongu and Ashley Benson arranging photoshoots.

On the 25th anniversary of Clueless, dozens of Chers in little red dresses came to reenact getting robbed in their parking lot. (Click here for a full media list filmed at Circus Liquor.) Issa admits the fame can be a nuisance but it’s also fun, “I stayed around for Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre, they were very cool, down-to-earth, nice guys.”

Beneath the snazzy clown, at Circus Liquor, “every day is special, we never get tired of working here, it’s always energetic, always fun, we love interacting with our customers, it’s always growing and getting even better.” Stop by any of the 5 branches to connect with the welcoming, kind, and hardworking community behind this top-notch establishment and American legend.