June 07, 2016

Squint, and it is yesterday. Glamor, Glitz, and Gallivanting.

If there’s a Heaven, everything in it will be like lunch at the Polo Lounge. 
Cell phones? How bourgeois.  In 1941, when the El Jardin restaurant at the Beverly Hills Hotel morphed into the Polo Lounge, pink phones were brought to your table on a silver tray, thank you. 

Those were the days when power had a little flair.  Long before Instagram and Snapchat made fame a universal (read: dreary) fifteen-minute commodity.

Just a few of the players (and fans) who frequented the Polo Lounge-Leslie Howard, Carole Lombard, and Spencer Tracy.

Named for a polo-playing bunch, who gathered after polo matches at Will Rogers’ ranch, including Darryl Zanuck (whose picture is behind the bar along with Will Rogers), Douglas Fairbanks, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, and Walt Disney, the high-style commissary famous for its McCarthy Salad and Dutch Apple Pancakes became grand ground zero for Hollywood’s swell set, including “don’t mess with me” Marlene Dietrich, who without delay checked out of the hotel when the restaurant refused to seat her wearing her trademark slacks (they quickly changed their policy), she was the first woman to wear pants in the Polo Lounge. 

When Watergate hit the fan in 1972, Nixon’s campaign manager, John Mitchell, heard the news mid-supper at the Polo Lounge and began shouting at the top of his voice: “Son of a bitch! They blew it! They blew it!”

Today, the Polo Lounge still attracts visitors looking for a connection to Hollywood’s exciting, pink-hued golden era. Just remember, in twenty-sixteen you have to step outside and make your own phone calls … if you must.