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Joe Jost’s from “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton”

Jan 14th, 2010 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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As I’ve mentioned countless times before, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton is one of my all time favorite movies.  And I have long been dying to stalk the restaurant which stood in for Lil’ Dickens, the Frazier’s Bottom bar where Rosalie (aka Kate Bosworth), Pete (aka Topher Grace), Cathy (aka Ginnifer Goodwin), and Tad (aka Josh Duhamel – sigh!) hung out in the flick.  In real life, that bar is named Joe Jost’s and it is actually located in Long Beach, California, a good 2,300 miles west of the real Frazier’s Bottom.  So, since we were in the area this past weekend, I just had to drag my fiancé right out to stalk the place.

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Joe Jost’s was founded in 1924 by a man named, you guessed it, Joe Jost, who was born in a small town in Yugoslavia.  At only 16 years of age, after a four year apprenticeship in a barbershop, Joe left Yugoslavia and immigrated to the U.S.  He first settled in New York City where he continued his work as a barber for a few years before moving to the West Coast and setting up a home in Upland, California.  In 1920, Joe opened up the first Joe Jost’s, a combination barber shop/pool hall/bar/restaurant, in Newport Beach where he sold such goods as candy, cigarettes, and because prohibition was in effect, a non-alcoholic drink known as “near beer”.  In 1924, Joe moved his unique shop to its current location on Anaheim Street in Long Beach.  It wasn’t long, though, before the Barbering Commission closed down the barber shop portion of the establishment, claiming that cutting hair in close proximity to alcohol being served was not “safe”.  LOL  So, Joe abruptly removed his barbershop chairs and installed booths – the very same booths where Joe’s customers still sit today!  So cool!  :)  Joe’s enjoyed immediate success as a restaurant and even managed to sustain itself throughout the depression years.  To date, the place has served over 5,000,000 Joe’s Special Sandwiches, over 7,000,000 pickled eggs, over 15,000,000 glasses of beer, and over 1,800,000 pounds of Marmion’s peanuts!  Joe’s is such an institution in Long Beach, in fact, that a term known as “josting” has been coined.  Josting refers to the act of taking a photograph of oneself in different locations all around the world while wearing a Joe Jost’s T-Shirt.  And, let me tell you, the T-shirts have been EVERYWHERE!  Joe’s walls are literally COVERED in such photographs and I can’t tell you how incredible it was to be looking at the hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of said patrons – always with their backs to the camera so that the Joe’s logo can be clearly seen – in such far off places as the Pyramids in Egypt, Heidelberg Castle in Germany, Namoto Island in Fiji, and the Arctic Circle (not kidding!).   Most amazing of all, though, were the numerous photographs of soldiers currently stationed in Iraq wearing Joe’s T-shirts. Incredible!  What an unbelievably cool tradition!!!  

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Because my fiancé and I were first-timers, we had to try one of everything on the menu.  And I have to say that even though I am a horribly picky eater, I LOVED it all!   The pickled egg (pictured above) – which sounds disgusting, I know – was incredible, the Marmion’s peanuts were de-lish!, and the Special . . . oh my god, the Special!  What can I even say about it except that it was simply A-MA-ZING!  Joe’s Special consists of a homemade Polish sausage (made from their own secret recipe), a pickle, a slice of Swiss Cheese, and mustard smacked in between two slices of rye bread.  And, oh my lord, is it good! 

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Because Lil’ Dickens is the regular hangout of Rosalie, Pete, and Cathy, Joe Jost’s shows up quite a few times in Win a Date.  The areas used include the main bar;

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and the billiards room, which was decked out with tables and chairs for the filming.

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Sadly, though, Pete and Rosie’s dart board was just a prop that was brought in for the filming and is not there in real life.  :(

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Oddly enough, the area of the restaurant that I was most interested in stalking was the men’s bathroom, not so much because I wanted to see it in person, but because I wanted to verify if it was really there.  As I had suspected, though, the Lil’ Dickens bathroom, in which Pete confronts Tad telling him that if he breaks Rosalie’s heart he’ll tear him to pieces with his “bare hands or vicious rhetoric” LOL, is not the real Joe Jost’s bathroom.  Joe’s men’s room actually consists of one single room with a toilet and a sink (yes, I actually sent my fiancé in there to report back to me!), and because the scene called for a considerably larger restroom with actual stalls, a set had to be built.  Interestingly enough, though, according to Dan, one of the SUPER nice Joe’s crew members that I spoke with, the Lil’ Dickens bathroom set was actually built right there on the Joe Jost’s property, in the back area of the restaurant. 

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The crew even ended up using the real Joe’s men’s room door, after making some small modifications, as the door of the Lil’ Dickens men’s room set.  So cool!!!! 

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The crew also modified the real life Joe Jost sign, which is located in the pool hall area of the restaurant, into a Lil’ Dickens sign for the shoot.  Love it!  :)

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Win a Date  is hardly the only production to film at Joe’s, though.  The restaurant is also where Kevin Costner took Whitney Houston on a date in 1992’s The Bodyguard.

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And where they danced to John Doe’s version of the song “I Will Always Love You”, which Whitney calls “depressing” in the scene.  LOL  

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The interior of Joe’s also stood in for the bar where Angelina Jolie worked in Gone in 60 Seconds.

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The exterior of that bar (pictured above), however, was a different location altogether.

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Joe’s showed up twice in the 2007 movie License to Wed, first as the site of Mandy Moore and John Krasinski’s pre-marriage group counseling . . .

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. . . and second as the spot where John and his friend, DeRay Davis, grab a drink towards the end of the movie.

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Producers definitely took some liberties when filming the exterior scenes for License to Wed, though.  In the flick, it is made to appear as if Joe’s is part of a tall building located underneath the L Train somewhere in Chicago.  In real life, though, Joe’s is a simple, small, one-story structure located on a busy Long Beach street corner.  I SO love how they incorporated the real life Joe’s storefront into the digitally altered Chicago-area establishing shots, though, rather than using a real Chicago location for the exterior.  So cool!  Joe’s has also been featured in the movies Madison, The Vanishing, and True Confessions and in episodes of Chance of a Lifetime, The ‘60s, Roswell, Boomtown, Clubhouse, and Classmates.  You can see a full list of Joe’s Hollywood credits here.

Joe Jost’s is a VERY cool place and I honestly can’t recommend stalking it – or ordering up one of its Specials – enough! 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: Joe Jost’s is located at 2803 East Anaheim Street in Long Beach.  You can visit their website here.

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3 comments

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  1. Jeff says:

    And the True Blood bar, Alex’s, literally a few doors down the street.

  2. LuckaS says:

    Win a Date with Ted Hamilton was on TV today afternoon, but I missed it! :-(

  3. Dave says:

    I’ve never been there (since I’m a drinker) but you can’t swing a cat in Long Beach without hitting someone wearing a Joe Jost’s shirt. It’s a local legend!


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