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Los Angeles

Vintage bars and restaurants in L.A.?

A friend of mine told me that L.A. is full of really cool "vintage" bars and restaurants from the 50s and 60s. Can someone tell me which ones I should see? I'm going in May and staying in the Burbank area, but I'll have a car so I can really go anywhere.  

It's up in the air whether my fiancee will be joining me or not, but I'll definitely be having some casual business meetings, so suggestions for both date night and casual business lunch or dinner business meeting would be awesome.

8 Answers

top answer by
Courtney from Los Angeles

I would definitely check out Musso & Frank on Hollywood Boulevard which is L.A.’s oldest restaurant. There’s an old story about how Grace Kelly and Cary Grant came here one night without realizing neither one had cash and they ended up having to wash dishes in the back. It’s a great story if it’s true. You might want to just plan on having a light snack or drink here because the food is just plain old not good. That said, it’s well worth seeing especially because my guess is it’s not going to be there much longer.

If you’re in Burbank (California), I would definitely check out Smoke House Restaurant. It’s an amazing old restaurant that you might recognize from the movie, "Argo." The décor is sort of rustic-Tudor and the food is definitely better than the food at Musso and Frank’s.

Definitely do not miss The Dresden Room in Los Feliz (which is not that far from Burbank). It’s probably my most favorite bar/restaurant in L.A. and when I lived in the area I used to go every weekend. They have a piano bar and there’s a legendary couple named “Marty and Elayne” who you have to see to believe—they’re like the Steve and Edie of the 21st century. The food here isn’t spectacular but it’s decent and reasonable. This place gets incredibly crowded on the weekends so be prepared!

Tonga Hut is near and dear to my heart because I live about a block away from it. It’s a fabulous old Tiki Bar that is completely stuck in time—the drinks are mediocre but it’s cheap and they’ll let you stay forever—trust me on that. They serve burritos in the back but I’ve never had them. By the way, there’s a bar stool there that’s dedicated to a woman who used to go there every week and passed away recently—see if you can find it when you go. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Musso & Frank (attraction)
  2. Hollywood Boulevard (attraction)
  3. Burbank (California) (city)
  4. Smoke House Restaurant (attraction)
  5. The Dresden Room (attraction)
  6. Los Feliz (neighborhood)
  7. Tonga Hut (attraction)
10 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Melissa from Garden Grove

Rocco's Tavern is a speak easy type bar down in Culver City. It's really fun and has a cool atmosphere.

As for a general area, Hollywood itself has a lot of historic/vintage bars as does Downtown Los Angeles. I would suggest Hollywood and Sunset Blvd for a more touristy adventure and Downtown for the business meetings.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rocco's Tavern (attraction)
  2. Hollywood (attraction)
  3. Downtown Los Angeles (metro area)
  4. Sunset Blvd (neighborhood)
8 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Jeff from Los Angeles

For mixed drinks The Varnish Bar is one of the best in the city. It is located through Cole's, which is one of two restaurants in L.A. that claims it invented the French Dip sandwich. Downtown at 118 EAST 6TH STREET.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Varnish Bar (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Branson from Marina Del Rey

In downtown LA, I agree  The Edison is a great choice.  Another great and more casual option is  Casey's Irish Pub which is where they shot a lot of the movie "Good Night And Good Luck" with George Clooney.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Edison (attraction)
  2. Casey's Irish Pub (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Joe from Brooklyn (New York)

The Apple Pan for a burger/fries. Definitely casual, but an authentic experience for sure.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Apple Pan (restaurant)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Suzy from Los Angeles

Check out The Edison.  It is an awesome bar/lounge that resembles a speakeasy! Definitely a must see if you are visiting Los Angeles.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Edison (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Manuri from Los Angeles

The Edison in Downtown LA

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Edison (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Lynne from Hong Kong

Hey Andreas!

For all food and drink places, I'm a huge fan of this website:

Los Angeles covers a huge territory.  For sushi, I highly recommend Sushi Gen ( for lunch but be prepared for a wait and Sushi Sasabune ( for a very nice dinner.

Porto's Bakery & Cafe ( is a great place for casual meals.  Very affordable, authentic, and plenty of choices.  It's located in Glendale which is right next to Burbank.

Best of luck!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sushi Gen (restaurant)
  2. Sushi Sasabune (restaurant)
  3. Porto's Bakery & Cafe (restaurant)
1 thanks

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