The HMS Bounty Bar and Restaurant from “Mad Men”Mar 22nd, 2011 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
Another stalking stop on the Grim Cheaper’s Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt around Los Angeles that we embarked upon this past February was the historic Koreatown eatery known as the HMS Bounty Bar and Restaurant. And while I had known about the watering hole’s vast history and longtime celebrity clientele before we dined there, up until this past Friday afternoon I had no idea whatsoever that the place was also a filming location. I first read about the bar, which was founded over six decades ago in 1948, in the book Peaceful Places: Los Angeles, 110 Tranquil Sites in the City of Angels and Neighboring Communities and, because the GC loves all things historic, I knew it would be right up his alley. And it was! But imagine my surprise when, while doing some research on the Quality Café last Friday afternoon, I came across a blurb on fave website LA Time Machines which stated that the nautically-themed restaurant had been used in the Season 1 episode of Mad Men titled “Indian Summer”. So incredibly cool!
The HMS Bounty was originally founded in 1948 on the bottom floor of the Gaylord Hotel and was known at the time as the “Gay Room”. Both the hotel and the restaurant were named in honor of legendary land developer and longtime socialist Henry Gaylord Wilshire, for whom Los Angeles’ famed Wilshire Boulevard was also named. The Gay Room became extremely popular with the Hollywood elite and the political luminaries of the day and just a few of the legends who were regulars there included British statesman Winston Churchill, actor Jack Webb, radio commentator Walter Winchell, and newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.
The watering hole even features plaques above many of its booths which cite the names of the legends who once sat there. The GC and I happened to dine at the favorite booth of Wilbur Clark, the restaurateur who founded the famed Wilbur Clark’s Desert Inn in Las Vegas (pictured above). Since its inception in 1948, the Gay Room has changed hands several times and has been known as the Gaylord Dining Room, the Secret Harbor, and the Golden Anchor. In 1962, it opened as the HMS Bounty Bar and Restaurant and it has remained so to this day. Amazingly enough, even with the numerous changes of ownership, the eatery’s interior remains largely the same as it was when it was first founded over six decades ago.
And, as you can see in the above photographs, the place is still going strong! It was absolutely jam-packed while we were there and the bar area was strictly standing-room-only. Thanks to the dimly lit interior, the restaurant still attracts stars to this day. In recent months, both Chloe Sevigny and The O.C.’s Adam Brody have been spotted there. And the “wake” for the famed Ambassador Hotel, which used to stand directly across the street from the Gaylord, was held at the Bounty on February 2, 2006 and was hosted by none other than actress Diane Keaton.
The bathrooms for the HMS Bounty are located in the lobby area of the historic Gaylord Hotel, which means that if you are dining at the restaurant, you can catch a glimpse of the former hotel’s beautiful interior. The 14-story building, which is now made up of apartment units, was designed by J.B. Lilly and P.B. Fletcher in 1924 and, at the time, was Los Angeles’ tallest structure.
There are several memorabilia items from the hotel’s heyday on display in the lobby area, including antique room keys, an old coffee shop menu, and the guest register (pictured above).
In the “Indian Summer” episode of Mad Men, the HMS Bounty stood in for the supposed Manhattan-area La Trombetta seafood restaurant where Peggy Olson (aka Elisabeth Moss) suffered through a horrible blind date with truck driver Carl Winter (aka Aaron Hill).
That scene was filmed in the HMS Bounty’s back room, which I unfortunately only took one photograph of.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The HMS Bounty Restaurant from the “Indian Summer” episode of Mad Men is located at 3357 Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown, just west of Downtown Los Angeles. You can visit the restaurant’s official website here.