Hollywood is a town with a long history of movie stars getting rip-roaringly drunk. From starlets and leading men to poets and rockers, this guide gives you the lowdown on 10 haunts frequented by celebrities that still offer a touch of their former days.
Though the neighborhood has changed, Taylor's Steakhouse remains a go-to place for steak and prime rib since it opened in 1953. The prime rib is excellent. The drinks are stiff. The setting is classic Hollywood. There's a hidden bar halfway between the 1st and 2nd floors frequented by a friendly, eclectic crowd.
The Tiki Ti in Silver Lake has been family owned for 3 generations since 1961. Mike, the owner, pours behind the bar, while his sons tend bar or manage the door. Don't be fooled by the tropical drinks - they are STRONG, especially the Uga Booga and the Zombie. Also, you're allowed to smoke in the bar, which gives the Tiki Ti an old school Hollywood vibe.
A Hollywood institution. Musso and Frank's has been the watering hole of movie moguls, titans of American literature, rock stars, city politicians, and faithful locals. As much as I love the food, I come here to drink. Forget all the modern mixology, longtime barman Ruben has perfected the classics: vodka martini, gin fizz, old fashioned, and the margarita.
Once the old stomping grounds for icons like Bogart and Marilyn, the Frolic Room has become one of the most beloved bars in L.A. and a welcomed respite from all the gentrified lounges popping up near the Pantages Theater. Its glory days are gone, but the Frolic Room retains an air of nostalgia and dive-bar feel. Go for Happy Hour (from 4 to 7) or stop by for a drink after a show.
The first thing you'll notice at the Formosa Cafe, once your eyes adjust to the dark vibey interioor, are the signed headshots of celebrities on the wall. Movie stars and studio heads have been eating and drinking (but mostly drinking) here since 1925. Come for the mai tais, stay for the lobster truffle mac-n-cheese. Formosa Cafe, now a preserved L.A. landmark, has a great happy hour from 4 to 7pm.
Miceli's is Hollywood's oldest Italian restaurant. While the rustic Italian food - especially the lasagne - is good, I come here for the piano bar where a waiter will occasionally belt out a Sinatra tune on his break. This is the only bar I know which serves Oro di Milano Reserva Speciale - one of my favorite beers. The bartenders will also make a damn fine negroni cocktail.
What makes the Dresden such a classic place to drink is that it has and always will be a neighborhood bar in Los Feliz. Yes, it's famous for being in the movie Swingers, but if you speak to the right local, he might tell you a story about a conversation he had with Charles Bukowski or John Cassavetes. Come watch Marty and Elayne at the piano in the lounge, or have dinner in the beautiful dining room to impress a date.
The Pig 'N Whistle has been open since 1927 and offers truly an Old Hollywood experience. I like to have a drink after watching a movie at the Egyptian Theater next door. They have a fantastic Happy Hour with $3 beers and $5 apps. Try the California nachos made with fried wontons for an unusual but delicious snack.
The Chateau Marmont has made a smooth transition from old Hollywood glamour to new Hollywood style. The lobby is one of Hollywood's best kept secrets and one of the coolest places to drink. Usually only open to hotel guests, you can call ahead and make reservations. Word of advice: keep your cool if you see your favorite Hollywood starlet learning her lines at the table next to you.
Dan Tana's may be a throwback to classic Hollywood watering holes, but it's also an Italian restaurant serving traditional southern Italian (you can't go wrong with the spaghetti and meat balls at this red sauce joint). It's been around since 1964 and has survived despite the changing trends of West Hollywood. Its proximity to the Troubadour has made the bar something of a hangout for musicians and rockers. There's always a lively crowd, and the wine and whiskey flow easy. Reservations recommended.