From swanky cocktail bars, to exclusive members only clubs; check out these 10 super-cool film sets, and see a more sophisticated side to Tinseltown.
Don Draper, Mad Men’s dashing but devious media mogul, has become a character synonymous with super-cool. The show may have been set in New York City, but the majority of it was fittingly filmed in another of America’s most fashionable metropolises, Los Angeles. Although the award-winning US show may be coming to close, with the final episode hitting the small screen this Sunday (May 17th) fear not fans; here are 10 of the most iconic film locations, selected from all seven seasons for you to check out and relive the most memorable scenes.
You may recognise this pretty pension from a number of different TV shows and films, as it’s quite popular with the creative lovies of LA. Enjoy a spot of afternoon tea in the Millennium Biltmore’s Rendezvous Court restaurant, à la Betty Draper in Season 5 – it’s where she has her tea leaves read by a fortune teller. Just yards away from the city’s downtown attractions, such as the Staples Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Millennium Biltmore Hotel is the place to stay if you’re looking for luxurious digs with old school Hollywood glamour.
2. Casey’s Irish Pub
Way back in Season 1, new girl to the firm, Peggy Olson, celebrates a big day at the office with a few pints at P.J. Clarke’s, played by Casey’s Irish Pub in downtown LA. Pick a booth to throw your 60s trench coat down in and join the party. With an extensive whiskey menu, head to this underground watering hole for a stiff drink after a hard day’s graft – shopping and sightseeing is strenuous business. Their Guinness stew is also worth staying around for.
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3. The Los Angeles Athletic Club
Although the epitome of retro chic, life in the good ol’ U.S. of A. doesn’t seem to have been too healthy back then; from whiskey swigging (see location number 2) to chain-smoking. In Season 4, after the loss of a loved one, Don decides to up his fitness game with a couple of laps of the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s swimming pool. Founded in 1880, it was the first private club in LA and remains fairly exclusive; depending on age, membership can cost up to $173 a month, but you can tour the club for free. If you’re feeling a little more flash, dine on an eight-course menu in their Trophy Room, surrounded by more than 1,000 bottles of wine from their private cellar collection.
Musso’s might just be the Mad Men’s favourite hangout. It’s been in a number of episodes, although disguised as other various steak joints; it was Sardi’s in Season 2, where Don dines with Bobbie Barrett, and Downey’s Steakhouse in Season 4. Besides starring on-screen, it’s famous for two other reasons: it’s Hollywood’s oldest restaurant and they serve a mighty fine martini. Grab a leather stool and prop up the same bar many Hollywood legends, including Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor and Steve McQueen, have caught a cocktail on.
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5. Descanso Gardens
Descano Gardens is where the Draper family spend some rare but happy family time in Season 6. It’s the location of little Bobby’s summer camp, and it’s in lakeside lodge Boddy House, that their son teaches Don and Betty a rousing campfire song. An oasis away from the bright lights of Hollywood Boulevard, Descanso’s 160 acres of botanical garden is just the tonic if you’re looking for an escape from the bustle of LA central – and the kids will love their Enchanted Railroad.
6. Rod’s Grill
“The colours are bright and cheerful, the kids have candy, there’s a full bar for mom and dad,” we’d say it’s a delightful destination, although Megan Draper doesn’t have much fun there after turning down the orange sherbet and being ditched by Don in Season 5. There’s plenty of apple pie and Americana at Rod’s Grill, which opened on the iconic Route 66 back in 1946 and is situated not far from the Santa Anita Race Track.
Read more: 10 Hollywood hotspots for film fans
Don’s career is blossoming in Season 1 when he meets men from a rival ad agency in what we’re led to believe is the lobby of the Broadhurst Theatre, New York. These scenes were actually filmed in the Los Angeles Theatre, a historic cinema built in the 1930s in the heart of LA’s famous Broadway District. The venue is available for hire, and even if there’s nothing showing, you should still try and stick your head in to marvel at the extravagant crystal chandeliers and opulent gold-leaf detailing on almost every surface. You’ll never look at your local Odeon in the same way again.
8. The Ebell of Los Angeles
It’s the setting for Margaret Sterling’s Big Day in Season 3, which ends up being overshadowed by the assassination of John F. Kennedy the day before. Declared a historical monument in 1982, it is now officially an ‘American Treasure’ according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Check out their calendar of events for activities varying from classical theatre to cured meat workshops!
9. The Quality Cafe
Brotherly love isn’t exactly the dish of the day at the Quality Cafe in downtown Los Angeles; remodelled as the Deelite Diner for the show, it’s where Don meets his half-brother Adam in Season 1 to catch up on a few family truths. Despite having shut down in 2006, it’s still a popular spot for TV and film buffs; you might recognise it from other Hollywood blockbusters, such as _Catch Me If You Can _and Gone in Sixty Seconds.
When Don takes Betty on a business trip to Rome in Season 3, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is used as the body double for the Hilton hotel’s lobby and outdoor café in the Italian capital. In real life, it’s the home of the Los Angeles Opera, but you’ll find a range of performances put on here, from folk rock music to Russian ballet. A part of the Music Center complex, you’ll find it on North Grand Avenue, not far from Los Angeles Center Studios and the offices of Sterling Cooper & Partners.
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