Shooters Bar & Grill from “Melrose Place”Apr 16th, 2012 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
One location that had been on my “To Stalk” list pretty much ever since I first moved to Southern California over twelve years ago was Fellini’s “Old Country” Italian restaurant – the Hollywood-area eatery that stood in for Shooters Bar & Grill on the 1992 Beverly Hills, 90210-spinoff Melrose Place. And while I was never a huge fan of the series (I think I was a bit too young for it as most of the storylines went right over my head), I did watch the entire first season and the pool hall/bar where the characters regularly hung out was a place that I had always wanted to see in person. For whatever reason, though, I had just never made it out there. So, while Mike, from MovieShotsLA, and I were out doing some stalking in the Hollywood area two weeks ago, I suggested that we stop by. Sadly, this was a bit of a disappointing stalk for both of us, though, as the site has changed drastically since filming took place and is virtually unrecognizable from its weekly onscreen appearances as Shooters on Melrose Place.
Unfortunately, I could not find much information online about the history of Fellini’s, which is surprising being that the establishment seemed to be something of a Hollywood landmark and was around for almost two full decades. According to this December 1987 Los Angeles Times article, Fellini’s, which was named in honor of the legendary Italian film director Federico Fellini, was founded in 1976 by a man named Gary Michael Gilson. The portion of the building that stood in for Shooters was not actually a part of the original restaurant, but was added in 1982 when Gilson decided to expand into a vacant former antique shop located next door. During its heyday, such stars as Bonnie Raitt and Dennis Quaid were said to not only have hung out there, but were even known to jump up on the eatery’s tiny stage and sing a few tunes from time to time. Fellini’s ended up shutting its doors sometime in the late ‘80s, at which point it was transformed into a short-lived nightclub named Trinity that closed after less than a year. The establishment was then purchased by new owners and was reopened once again as Fellini’s, but not until 1993, so it seems that at the time Melrose Place was first filmed, the site was vacant. I am not sure when Fellini’s officially closed for the second time, but in mid-2010 the place housed a furniture store, as you can see in these photographs on the Daveland blog here. The storefront, which has since been painted a drab blue-grey color, currently houses MUSE Atelier hair salon.
The exterior of Fellini’s showed up weekly on Melrose Place throughout the series’ seven-season run. You can check out some pictures of what Fellini’s used to look like when it was still in business here and a close-up of its doors here. As you can see in the photographs, not much was changed for the filming of Melrose Place. Sadly, that is not the case today. Gone are the familiar black awning, peach-colored paint, and arched double windows. Today, the storefront is a bleak reminder of its former self. As Mike said to me while we there, “This place looks like a morgue!” LOL Why the new owners would take a formerly very cute façade – not to mention a historic filming location – and turn it into something dismal is beyond me.
While we were there, Mike did notice that some markings from the former arched double windows were still visible on the exterior of the building. I SO love when there is some remnant, no matter how small, still in existence on filming locations that have been drastically altered. So incredibly cool!
While scanning through episodes of Melrose Place to make screen captures for today’s post, I noticed that something was not quite right about the close-up shots of Shooters’ front doors, and I came to the conclusion that a set of the entrance area had been created for all of the close-up filming.
As you can see in the above screen captures, the wall just to the left of the Shooters’ awning is popped out in the close-up view, but not in the faraway shot.
And in the close-up shot, the window to the left of the awning has no ornamentation surrounding it, but in the faraway shot it does.
Being that, in real life, the façade of the building is flat and does have ornamentation surrounding its side window, the only explanation is that a replica of the entrance was created on a soundstage at Santa Clarita Studios in Valencia where the series was lensed for all of the close-up shots. (You can see a pretty cool picture of the original Melrose Place apartment set on the Santa Clarita Studios website here.)
The interior of Shooters was also just a set and, from what I read online, it did not at all resemble the dark wood-paneled, Old World-style of the real life Fellini’s. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have been able to have seen that place in person!
And while Fellini’s was used almost entirely for establishing shots on Melrose Place, some actual filming did take place there. In the pilot episode of the series, Jake Hanson (Grant Show) takes Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) on a date at Shooters and the two are shown pulling up to the front of the restaurant on Jake’s motorcycle.
Big THANK YOU to Mike, from MovieShotsLA, for taking me to this location.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The former Fellini’s restaurant (now MUSE Atelier salon), aka Shooters Bar & Grill from the original Melrose Place, is located at 6808/6810 Melrose Avenue, just west of North Highland Avenue, in Hollywood.