With the Oscars taking place at the Dolby Theater this Sunday, there’s no better way to channel the greats of silver screen past by settling in at the haunts Old Hollywood made famous. While many mainstays have closed over the years, there are some classics that just won’t quit. Below, you’ll find some of our favorites. So get there, slide into a vinyl booth, and sip on a martini while all of Los Angeles keeps its sights on that little gold man.
Musso & Frank
No one at Musso & Frank got the memo about the Danish minimalism and Japanese design trends that have taken hold over the last decade–and that’s a good thing. This place is frozen in amber, forever steeped in Hollywood history. Over the years, literary giants like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Charles Bukowski used to post up here and get business done. Today, you head to Musso & Franks not necessarily for the food, but to bask in the glow of these industry greats.
6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Red banquets, checkered tablecloths, plenty of cheese. Oh, and celebrity sightings, of course. For over fifty years, Dana Tana’s has kept its reputation as the spot where deals go down, history gets made, and pasta gets served. The red-sauce joint takes the more-is-more ethos with the decor, and the menu dishes up the unfussy Italian of yore. If it ain’t broke, as they say…
9071 California State Route 2, West Hollywood, CA 90069
You cross over a few stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to get into the Frolic Room, a dive bar on Hollywood Boulevard that’s been open since the end of Prohibition. On the walls are murals of Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, et al. by Al Hirschfeld. In the seats, a mishmash of Hollywood types and cool kids. Word is Charles Bukowski used to drink here. Then again, Bukowski used to drink a lot of places.
6245 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Fountain Coffee Room
Located in the basement of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Fountain Coffee Room is the kind of place where you won’t mind overpaying for a cup of black coffee. The room is tiny, and features a curved soda fountain counter that was built in 1949. Take a seat on one of their restored bar stools and soak in the scene, from the banana leaf wallpaper to a patronage mix that is pure Beverly Hills.
9641 Sunset Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
The Prince in Koreatown is sort of a hidden gem hiding in plain sight. The restaurant–a clever mix of mid-century Americana and Korean-influenced fare–has been portrayed in everything from Mad Men to Chinatown. In other words: it’s been around a while (the ‘20s, to be precise). Unlike many of these Old Hollywood joints, the food here is pretty damn good.
3198 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005
Much has changed around the Formosa in recent years. Tall condos now loom next to and across from this one-story bar, making it look ever the more precious. The spot opened in 1925 as a place called the Red Post. In 1934, it was rechristened the Formosa Café, a Cantonese-style bar that drew the likes of John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis. The bar has undergone some renovations, but all of the charm remains–including the green neon sign beckoning you from Santa Monica Boulevard.
7156 California State Route 2, West Hollywood, CA 90046
Photo courtesy of Edi Libedinsky