One of my favorite places in Los Angeles is, without a doubt, the Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood. As you can see by the sign above, it's been here since 1919 and is a landmark for LA. Musso's was here during the dawn of the studio system, with most of the studios all nearby and Hollywood Boulevard nothing more than just a dirt road. Musso's has outlasted all of its famous comtemporaries such as the Brown Derby, Ciro's, and Chasen's.
I've been coming here for close to twenty years now, which is nothing compared to those associated with the restaurant. Most of the wait staff has been here 30, 40, and 50 years and everyone knows their names. The maitre d', Manny Felix, is a celebrity onto himself.
If you want to feel a bit of Old Hollywood, be sure to visit Musso & Frank's. Everyone has come here over the years for its atmosphere, classic American food, and delicious drinks.
Summer in Hollywood: 1950s white cotton swing dress with lace and pintucked bodice,
1960s white leather purse, silver hoop earrings, Jewelry by M for GlamAmor turquoise necklace,
Nine West blue suede peeptoe slingbacks, silver Ray Ban Aviator sunglasses
Musso's is made up of two sides to the restaurant. This side is called the Old Room and is distinguished by its red leather booths that are matched by the sharp red uniforms of the wait staff. Famous folks have claimed these booths as their own over the years. Charlie Chaplin was one of the first. He loved Musso's so much that he used to have lunch here nearly every single day, and he always took the first booth in the upper right near the window. Whenever Chaplin wasn't using his booth, though, it also became the regular spot for Rudolph Valentino and John Barrymore. Later Steve McQueen also claimed the booth as his own.
Of course many movies and television shows have filmed here. Most recently, Mad Men pretended that this side of the restaurant was Sardi's. You may remember the scene where Don Draper and Roger Sterling feasted on round after round of martinis and oysters...before heading back to work, of course. George Clooney and Brad Pitt also filmed Oceans 11 here, which is fitting considering that original Rat Packers like Peter Lawford used to be regulars at Musso's.
Sharing the Old Room, the breakfast counter at Musso's is famous for its flannel cakes
Then you head to the New Room on the other side of the restaurant...
The other side of Musso's is dominated by their famous bar. Everyone--and I mean everyone--from old Hollywood came and drank here. The stories are limitless. In the 1920s, Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks used to race one another on horseback from the studios down Hollywood Boulevard to Musso's....loser buying the drinks.
Others who loved to drink here? It should be no surprise that writers were particularly fond of Musso & Frank's. After making their names as the great American novelists, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner all headed to Hollywood to make a little money as screenwriters. Unfortunately, they experienced varying degrees of success in this new role and were much more often drinking their lives away here at Musso's. Southerner Faulkner was such a regular and, quite frankly, such a drunk that they used to allow him to go behind the bar to make drinks for himself. Many many a mint julip, apparently.
My favorite film noir folk--directors, actors, authors--all used to come here as well. John Huston, Humphrey Bogart, and Dashiell Hammett to name a few. Raymond Chandler even wrote the novel The Big Sleep while sitting (and drinking) in a booth at Musso's.
Of course the ladies loved Musso's, too. Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, and Claudette Colbert were all regulars here. On my way out, I thought about them stopping to make a phone call from one of the wooden booths that are still lined up in back. And my very last stop...even the ladies restroom and lounge is cool and classic.
Blue suede shoes in the ladies lounge