Even though I haven’t read “The Great Gatsby” since it was mandatory reading in high school and have no intention of going to see what looks like one hot mess of a movie (which is really sad ’cause I’m an otherwise big fan of Baz Luhrmann), I have to admit I’m still kinda loving this media-induced frenzy for all things Gatsby. And why not? It brings to life the glitz and glam of the Roaring Twenties, the sexy sounds of the Jazz Age and the fabulous fashions of the Flapper Era. The F. Scott Fitzgerald classic takes place in Long Island, but here’s where you can have your own Gatsby-esque fun in Los Angeles.
Cicada – www.cicadarestaurant.com
This Downtown LA ode to 20-style Art Deco opulence is an obvious choice for Gatsby indulgence. Whether it’s the Lalique glass, 30-foot gold ceilings or plush bar and lounge, Cicada oozes with the excess of the era. The enormous venue is not only an Italian restaurant, but it’s also a place where you can dress up and really get into character. On most Sunday nights Maxwell DeMille’s Cicada Club takes over with vintage dance orchestras and popular jazz entertainers like the Dean Mora Quintette.
Gallery Bar & Cognac Room – www.millenniumhotels.com/gallerybar
For a quintessential 20s experience check out the Biltmore’s Gallery Bar. Order one of their signature martinis at the polished granite bar under the watchful eyes of carved angels above the polished granite bar. (They’ll remind you of those famous eyes from the book’s original cover art by Francis Cugat.) Or retire to a couch in the adjacent Cognac Room and order the 20s-style shrimp cocktail served on original hotel silver. And don’t forget the live jazz and blues every Friday and Saturday night when you can really party like it’s 1922.
The Edison – www.edisondowntown.com
This sprawling underground space conjures up the alluring decadence of a speakeasy during the Prohibition era, which is exactly when “The Great Gatsby” took place. I can totally imagine Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan slinking downstairs for some saucy entertainment and illegal imbibing into the wee hours here. The handcrafted cocktails and weekly shows are a real draw, so make sure to dress to the nines (or at least to the eights) so you can get past the doorman.
Classic Limos – www.classiclimos.com
So you won’t be roaring through the roads in Leo’s yellow Duesenberg, but you can still have some of that Roaring Twenties glam with a rental from Classic Limos. Although I can’t speak from experience, you’ll probably have the most fantastic time in the backseat of one of their cars (just like their famous clientele).
Golyester Vintage – www.golyester.com
You could do the obvious and head to Tiffany and Brooks Brothers for Gatsby-worthy baubles and threads — Fitzgerald was a fan of both. But if you want that handsome straw boater hat or pixie-cropped flapper look on a lower budget, you might want to check out this quiet vintage emporium on La Brea. Golyester is where to get those age-old garments and textiles dating from the teens to the 1970s. There’s also a selection of men’s wear along with an array of costume jewelry, handbags, shoes and accessories to complement your greatest Gatsby ensemble.
Harding Municipal Golf Course – www.golf.lacity.org
Golfing is what the rich and bored do in “The Great Gatsby” and if you’re going to get on the green, you may as well do it at this golf course that’s been open since 1923. (Just a year after the novel takes place.) It’s open daily from dawn to dusk and, according to the website, it’s a “beautiful, tree lined, well established course.”
Greystone Mansion – www.greystoneparkmansion.org
OK, so there won’t be any champagne-soaked soirees brimming with bathtub gin fizzes, dirty martinis and even dirtier deeds, but this historic manse perched in the storied and scenic Hills of Beverly imparts a wow factor not unlike Gatsby’s estate. And there are plenty of fun activities here minus, you know, the depravity. The Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market has partnered with the Institute of Domestic Technology to offer a variety of classes on the property including “Cocktail Crafting – Bitters, Liqueurs and Cocktail Basics” on June 7 from 6pm-8pm in the Speakeasy. Cool, right?
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