8 Old L.A. Restaurants With Amazing Signs

In the movie "Swingers," Jon Favreau's character famously observes that all the cool places in L.A. don't have signs, so that telling someone you've been to one is like bragging that you were able to find it. But that wasn't always the case. It used to be the bigger and brighter the sign, the better. Below, eight old L.A. restaurant signs that ensured their namesake establishments were unmissable and unmistakable.

Many of the neon signs shown in this 1960 view of Vine and Selma are actually still there, remarkably enough. The one for the Brown Derby, however, is not. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


Slapsy Mazie's, a 1940s Miracle Mile mainstay, wasn't shy about standing out. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


1938's Tin Can bar, on La Brea, featured both a neon sign and a sign shaped like its namesake. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


Hard to tell what this 1930s restaurant on Melrose was called. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


It worked on tourists then and it works on tourists today: Beverly Hills' Hammonds Steak House advertised "food the stars eat" in 1937. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


A Mexican drive-in on Figueroa sported this neon sign in the thirties. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


Continuing the theme of "the bigger the sign, the cooler the place," the Palomar restaurant and nightclub was impossible to miss during its 1925-1939 tenure on Vermont. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


1929's Mandarin Market boasts a roof-dominating neon sign complete with dragons. Image courtesy LAPL Photo Collection.


About the Author

Professional word nerd, amateur francophile, home cook, carbohydrate enthusiast and person who is obnoxious about yoga.
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