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PALM LATITUDES

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April 05, 1992|Rex Weiner | EDITED BY MARY McNAMARA

Hollywood Boulevard is lined with some of the most funky and famous buildings in town. And every other one, it seems, is a great bar. An abbreviated tour:

Just east of Vine, the Frolic Room at the stroke of 4 has a coterie of enthusiasts at its tiny bar, sipping $1.75 well drinks. If these tipplers are not indeed frolicking at this moment, then perhaps at some time in the past they have, and surely will again.

At Cahuenga comes a detour south, to My House, which features the Biggest Bartender on the Boulevard and a sullen clientele you wouldn't want to spill your 7 & 7 on. Drink quickly, my friend, and head out.

Angelyne stares from her wall mural as we cross Wilcox to the Frolick II. It is immediately apparent, from the high-decibel jukebox and shaggy young regulars, that frolicking would sooner break out at the Frolick II than at the Frolic I.

Boardner's, on Cherokee south of the Boulevard, has been a true joint since 1942. It is frequented by men with raspy laughs and women dangling cigarettes smudged with lipstick. Late at night, a hipper crowd spills out onto the patio, but at Happy Hour, it's still possible to claim a red vinyl booth and examine the signed photos of the innkeeper's buddies: Jack Dempsey, Gene Autry, Jimmy Stewart and the ubiquitous Dean Martin.

With the sun retreating behind the Supply Sergeant, we amble back across the Boulevard to Musso & Frank, where the bar is long, the martinis cold. Perched shoulder-to-shoulder with the Boulevard's most self-conscious barflies, you get a sense of deja vu, of having been here before. And, by God, you have.

Back south across the Boulevard is Miceli's spaghetti house and its balconied, mostly empty bar. Chianti bottles hang like petrified fruit, the ancient waiters move silently, as if burdened with family secrets. No one you know comes here. No one who knows you comes here. A perfect illicit rendezvous awaiting its guilty participants.

Past the restored El Capitan, which twinkles and preens like a movie theater in drag, Happy Hour and the Boulevard near their ends, and we need to put our weary feet up. You could do that at home, but at Teddy's Lounge in the Roosevelt Hotel, you can sink into a plush chair behind the potted palms and hide out for years before anybody asks you to take out the garbage.

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