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The Tam O’Shanter Inn from “Glee”

Jul 14th, 2010 | By | Category: Glee Filming Locations

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A couple of weeks ago I dragged my fiancé out to stalk the Tam O’Shanter Inn which appeared in the Season 1 episode of Glee titled “Dream On”.  I found this location thanks to an eagle-eyed stalker who recognized the restaurant immediately while watching the episode back in May.  And even though I no longer consider myself a “Gleek” (gasp!), I just could not resist stalking the place.  And yes, you read that right – I am no longer a huge fan of Glee.  In fact, I can’t even really say that I like the series at all anymore, let alone love it like I used to.  In my never-to-be-humble opinion, the show has gone WAY downhill ever since it returned from its four month hiatus this past April.  I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that it became such a humongous hit in such a short period of time or if the writers just simply got lazy, but somewhere along the way the show lost its heart.  It’s become more about the music and less about the characters that I grew to love so deeply in the first part of the season.  While the series used to be over-the-top and fun, in recent months it’s become ridiculous and largely unbelievable – Kurt and Mercedes joining the cheerios, Olivia Newton-John asking Sue Sylvester to star in a re-make of her “Physical” video, and Shelby Corcoran – the coach of Vocal Adrenaline – adopting Quinn and Puck’s baby????  Like, huh???  I could go on and on and on.  Not to mention the fact that Mr. Shue, who was in my eyes the real heart of the show, has become a complete and total jerk – i.e. cheating on Emma, pretending to be in love with Sue Sylvester (I don’t even know what to say about that one!), and hooking up with his arch-enemy and head of the rival Glee club, Shelby Corcoran.  Sigh.  The whole thing makes my head hurt.  Although I did love it when all of the kids were calling him “Man Whore” in the “Bad Reputation” episode.  Anyway, despite all of that, because I loved part one of the series’ first season SO much, I still find it fun stalking locations featured on the show.  Which is how my fiancé and I ended up at the Tam O’Shanter Inn two weekends ago.

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Tam O’Shanter Inn actually has a long and celebrated Hollywood history.  It was first opened in June of 1922 by Lawry’s restaurant chain founders Lawrence Frank and Walter Van de Kamp and has the distinction of being Los Angeles’ oldest restaurant that is still operating in the same location and by the same family.  Art director/humorist Harry Oliver, designer of the Spadena House in Beverly Hills (aka the Witch’s House from Clueless), was commissioned to design the original building in what is called the “storybook-style” of architecture.  In fact, the restaurant’s original interior closely resembled that of a ride at Disneyland.  The property was extensively remodeled and expanded in 1968 at which time it was renamed the “Great Scot”.  In 1982, in honor of the restaurant’s 60th anniversary, the original name, which refers to a style of hat worn in Scotland, was restored and it has remained to this day. 

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In the “Dream On” episode of Glee, Will Schuester (aka cutie Matthew Morrison) takes frenemie and former Glee-club-rival Bryan Ryan (aka guest star Neil Patrick Harris) to the Tam O’Shanter Inn for a drink to convince him to not shut down the Glee club.  Will finally gets Brian to concede and the two wind up singing a rousing rendition of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”.

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When we first walked into the Tam O’Shanter Inn, I asked the hostess who greeted us at the door where exactly the “Dream On” episode had been filmed.  Well, let me tell you, she could NOT HAVE BEEN NICER!  She immediately sat us in the bar area in the exact spot where Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris were sitting in the episode.  She also told us the direction the cameras were facing during filming, what areas of the restaurant could be see in the background, and asked if we wanted to reenact the “Piano Man” scene while she took photographs of us.  LOVE IT!  I was SO down with reenacting the scene, by the way, but the Grim Cheaper was having none of that!  ;)   

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Filming for the yet-to-be-released Larry Crowne movie, which stars Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks, also took place at the Tam O’Shanter Inn earlier this year.   According to the bartender we spoke with, producers had the above-pictured green rug made especially for the filming and then gifted it to the restaurant after shooting wrapped.  SO DARN COOL!

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Besides being a filming location, the restaurant is also a long time celebrity hangout.  Just a few of the luminaries who have been spotted there over the years include Mary Pickford, John Wayne, Fatty Arbuckle, and Tom Mix.  Walt Disney loved the place so much that he frequented it on an almost daily basis and on one visit gifted the owners with the above-pictured cartoon, which he personally drew of Lawrence Frank.  According to the restaurant’s website, Disney executives dined at Tam O’Shanter’s so often that the place became known as “Disney’s studio commissary”.  Apparently Walt’s favorite table was #31, while John Wayne preferred #15.

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I honestly cannot say enough good things about the Tam O’Shanter Inn.  I absolutely LOVED the place!  Especially their fried calamari appetizer! 

On a Glee side note – For those of you who have not yet seen Heather Morris, who plays Brittany on Glee, performing “Single Ladies” live with Beyonce at the 2009 American Music Awards, you can do so now by clicking above.  Apparently, Heather was not originally being considered as a cast-member for Glee, but was first called in by series creator Ryan Murphy to teach series regulars Chris Colfer and Jenna Ushkowitz the “Single Ladies” dance for the Season 1 episode titled “Preggers”.  Fate stepped in, though, and Murphy ended up liking the actress/professional dancer so much that he immediately cast her in the role of ditzy cheerleader Brittany.  And the rest, as they say, is history! 

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: Tam O’Shanter Inn from Glee is located at 2980 Los Feliz Boulevard in the Atwater Village section of Los Angeles.  You can visit the restaurant’s official website here.

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16 comments

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  1. Troy S. says:

    One of the fun parts about stalking this site is to see places I used to hang out at a decade ago before I moved to Las Vegas from Burbank. So fun.

  2. Melanie Jennings says:

    We celebrated our Mom and Dad’s Fiftieth Anniversary at the Tam – it was sooo good – the chocolate souffle` is to die for….

  3. Raul Moreno says:

    Walt did not draw that picture…a few of his talented staff members did!This became a hang out for Walt for a few reasons.First,he lived in Los Feliz just a short drive there.Second was when he started Walt Disney Studios it was also on that area on Hyperian Ave.When they moved to Burbank,he still made his visits there and was one of the few places in LA that could be a called a favorites of his.He loved the style and above all the food…and so do I!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Honored by your write up. Thank you for stopping by, and we look forward to serving you again!

  5. Rebecca says:

    I so agree with you re: GLEE. I got DVD’s of the first half and enjoyed it while DVR’ing the 2nd and when watching the 2nd half, something just seemed off.

    BUUUUT, in one episode in the 2nd half, don’t remember the title, the episode where Artie is dancing out of his chair in the mall, they totally filmed that at the Eagle Rock Plaza!

    • Lindsay says:

      So glad to hear you agree with me about Glee. Thought I might be getting some hate mail over today’s post, so I’m glad to have you in my corner. ;)

  6. Lavonna says:

    Good post! I’ve just started watching the Glee dvd and re-runs. I enjoy the show especially Kurt and Sue. Save some of the Office sites for our October visit. :)

  7. Davidete says:

    Oh my god, just for the Disney note, I would died for visiting that place when I was there in LA! Do you really think that was Walt Disney himself who drew the cartoon? The legend says that, in reality, Disney was not very good with the pencil, and the rare screen images of him drawing Mickey or Donald, show not very good drawings! :p By the way, I have to tell you two very good locations about Walt Disney ;)

    It’s just me or that place looks like being at Solvang? XDD!

    Thanks for the post, Lindsay :D

    • Lavonna says:

      Davidete,

      Share the Disney locations:) We are going back out in October, so looking for some new sites to stalk.

      Thanks

    • Lindsay says:

      That’s so funny you mention that because the cartoon was signed “Walt Disney and Staff”. So maybe he didn’t draw most of it. Next time I’m in there I’ll see if anyone knows. David, you would LOVE the restaurant, there is Disney stuff EVERYWHERE! And you’re right – it does look like Solvang! :)

      • Lavonna says:

        There is Disney stuff there? Like what? Beth is a BIG Disney fan! She’s been to park in Florida probably 10 plus times…

    • Lindsay says:

      And yes, please tell me those locations. :)

      • Davidete says:

        Oks, I’ll send you a short mail with them, and maybe you could share with your “audience” (Lavonna first!). And if you can’t make it before Lavonna’s visit in October, you can tell her directly, ok?

        Patience, Lavonna! :p

        • Lavonna says:

          OK..I will try to be patient :) I’ll wait for Lindsay to pass them on.
          Thanks so much.

          • Davidete says:

            Oks! I prefer you view those places with pictures (and with Lindsay in them :p) than just sending the directions. Besides, I don’t have your mail Lavonna, so if Lindsay has no time for stalking it until October (she’s gonna be very busy in August… :p), I’m sure she’s sending you those address, ok?


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