Studio City’s Sportsman’s Lodge is a Hollywood Gem
Another thing my parents made a ritual were visits to Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City. I grew up in the land of amusement parks, including Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and Pacific Ocean Park (“POP”) on a now disappeared pier in Santa Monica. Themed dining establishments lined “Restaurant Row”, which is La Cienega from Wilshire to Burton Way. The Roaring Twenties, The Gay Nineties and The Phone Booth were all part of the “glamour-kitsch” architectural movement of the mid-Sixties.
The Phone Booth was the kind of place Maxwell Smart would go to meet 99.
Located on the corner of La Cienega and Santa Monica Boulevard (slightly north of Restaurant Row) The Phone Booth was a nightclub for young hip singles to meet one another by dialing an old fashioned “Hello, Clara? This is Andy Taylor” type of stick phone. Each phone had a 3 digit number and if you saw a young blonde at the next table, you’d simply dial her number. Don’t know if the wait-staff had listed numbers.
Fishing for celebs
The Sportsman’s Lodge was built in the 1880’s, well before the movie industry even was born. Known for it’s trout fishing lake, where patrons would literally fish for their dinner. It became popular with the casual celebrities looking to kick back and be their eccentric selves. Republic Studios being nearby, cowboy actors John Wayne, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers regularly tied their horse-powered vehicles to the parking lot.
Martini and fishing pole
Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, and Bette Davis were regulars at Sportsman’s Lodge. As was Joan Blondell, who would bait her fishhook with liverwurst and drank Martinis. Today Sportsman’s Lodge thrives as one of the nicer and traditional hang out and dining spots for locals and in-the-know outta-towners alike. Stop by and grab a Martini and a fishing pole. Can’t see any drunken accidents happening there….
Sportsman’s Lodge Wikipedia