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THE GUIDE / RESTAURANTS: SCENE SETTER

Food, free floor show on Hollywood Boulevard

October 27, 2008|Jessica Gelt | Gelt is a Times staff writer.

Considering that the stretch of Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Vine is one of the most active pedestrian thoroughfares in the city, it's surprising there aren't more sidewalk tables next to all those Walk of Fame stars. The street may never resemble the Champs-Elysees, but now that the Hudson Bistro sports bar and restaurant has soft-opened, you can at least have a street-side beer at a place that isn't the Snow White Cafe.

Located at Hudson and Hollywood just above Hush Lounge and below a stately Old Hollywood apartment complex, Hudson Bistro lays claim to a smattering of sidewalk tables draped in red-and-white-checked plastic tablecloths and penned in by a picturesque white picket fence. Because Hudson is a sports bar, there are plenty of plasma TVs; one even looks out onto the street, its flat screen pressed up against the windowpane like a hungry interloper. Rabid sports fans might like this, but it adds a touch of Best Buy gaudiness to the patio's otherwise pleasant appearance.

Hudson Bistro is co-owned by a former New York promoter named Robert Palmer (no relation to the pop star), who also owns Hush Lounge. Palmer seems to have a firm grasp on what that particular area of Hollywood is in need of: a place to eat, not to dine, that isn't a pizza parlor. A flier on each table says it all: "You're drunk, don't drive. Eat."

The menu is small and divided into two sections called "Heaven" and "Hell," which are supposed to represent healthy and unhealthy options. In "Heaven," you'll find a smallish Cobb salad, a turkey burger and chicken noodle soup; in "Hell," the damned can devour chicken wings, grilled cheese, burgers, fries and calamari.

The cooking isn't fancy; you'd find similar fare at an unpretentious bar such as Ye Rustic Inn in Los Feliz. That would be fine if it weren't for the hefty drink prices ($10 to $12 cocktails) that can make dinner at Hudson Bistro an uneconomical choice, considering the value that can be had at more established nearby restaurants, including Kitchen 24.

Still, if a burger and beer are what your stomach and soul long for, the characters who flow past the tables -- goofy tourists, aging hair-metal rockers and costumed superheroes -- more than make up for the few extra bucks you pay to get a ringside seat.

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jessica.gelt@latimes.com

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Hudson Bistro

Where: 6533 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

When: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays.

Price: Salads, sandwiches and appetizers $8 to $10.

Contact: (323) 469-1848

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