Friday, January 30, 2009

Aloha In the Hills


Luau is back in Beverly Hills! Above is the new... below is the original.
Luau first opened on Rodeo Drive in the 50's. Along with Trader Vic's and Don the Beachcomber, it helped establish Polynesian cuisine and rum drinks as de rigueur in the 50's and 60's. It was a hotspot for celebs like The Rat Pack, Johnny Weismuller (who played Tarzan) who was known to dive into the waterfall lagoon and Howard Hughes, who was said to have his own private entrance in the back and sat at the bar with a bodyguard, a pencil, and a notepad doing calculations all night.
It's still a celeb magnet! I was there last night and Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta Jones were eating dinner behind us. Yes, she IS that gorgeous in person!

Here's a sample of the original menu:
Luau still offers rum drinks in pineapples and scorpion bowls for four with ridiculously long straws. The original Luau was kitchy with clamshell shaped urinals in the men's room and the waterfall lagoon. Today, the decor features dozens of puffer fish as lights, but the overall feel is subdued & low-key. The mind behind the new Luau is Andy Hewitt, who opened Il Sole.
I'd compare it to Trader Vic's. The campy original closed at the Beverly Hilton and I am still in mourning. It's reopened near the pool with the same great drinks, but the decor is sleek & modern, which kind of throws me off for a campy Tiki night, no?
Luau
369 N. Bedford Drive
Beverly Hills
(310) 274-0090

A matchbook cover from the original.

1 comment:

Laguna Beach Trad said...

Fantastic post. I love Old Los Angeles history. Especially if it has to do with Hawaii. Beautiful.

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