Phil’s Bar from “Little Black Book”Sep 12th, 2013 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
A couple of weeks ago, I got on a kick of tracking down locations from fave movie Little Black Book. Now I should mention here, before I go any further, that the 2004 romantic comedy really isn’t all that good. I can’t explain why I love it as much as I do, but I think my adoration stems from the fabulous soundtrack and the lead character, Stacy’s (Brittany Murphy), propensity to break out in song. For whatever reason, I find myself watching and re-watching the flick on a fairly regular basis – I just cannot get enough of it! So I was floored when I learned that, while set in New York, the vast majority of the movie was lensed right here in Southern California. One of the locales that I was most interested in finding was the fictional Phil’s Bar, which, as luck would have it, turned out to be a Starbucks – one that I had visited countless times in the past. It just took me a while to realize it.
In Little Black Book (the storyline of which focuses on how past relationships can come back to haunt you), Stacy is shown walking with her new friend Joyce (Julianne Nicholson) by a place called Phil’s Bar, where they see Stacy’s current boyfriend, Derek (Ron Livingston), through the window. Derek also just so happens to be Joyce’s ex-boyfriend and he is at Phil’s to meet Joyce, not Stacy, for a drink. (Like I said, it’s really not that great of a movie. ) While the two women are observing Derek, they walk by a large building that looked to me like it might be a bank. I sent some screen captures of said building to Mike, from MovieShotsLA, and he recognized the place immediately as The Crocker Club in downtown L.A.
How in the heck Mike managed to recognize a building from a screen capture in which very little was visible is beyond me! My hat is definitely off to him!
Several things were added to the site for the filming, including some foliage, a fake street sign with what I believe says “Washington St” and a building sign that reads “Hoboken Savings and Loan.” Otherwise though, The Crocker Club looks exactly the same in person as it did onscreen. Even the yellow fire hydrant and electrical box flanking the sides of the building are there in real life! Love it!
And here’s where things start to get weird. In Little Black Book, Phil’s Bar is shown to be located in a fairly ornate building directly across the street from where Stacy and Joyce are standing. But I could find no such building across the street from The Crocker Club.
I was at a complete loss, until I looked more closely at the scene and spotted the back of a logo on the window behind Derek – a logo that looked a lot like that of Tully’s Coffee. (What can I say? This stalker knows her coffee!) Once the logo resemblance dawned on me, a light switch went off in my head and I realized that I had been to Phil’s Bar before – many, many times.
As it turns out, Phil’s Bar is the Starbucks located at West 6th Street and South Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. (It occupies the corner space of an oft-filmed at building that I will be blogging about soon.) That particular Starbucks happens to be just steps away from the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, where the Grim Cheaper and I have stayed on many occasions, so, I, of course, have patronized it often. The storefront looks quite a bit different today than it did when Little Black Book was filmed, though, which is why I failed to recognize it.
What I did not realize until later (and what most-definitely added to my failure to recognize the location) was the fact that the image of the building that appeared onscreen was, for whatever reason, flipped. (Yes, producers will sometimes flip their film in post-production to achieve a certain orientation. Only one half of the Titanic was built for the filming of Titanic for instance. For the scenes involving the portion of the ship that had not been constructed, James Cameron simply flipped the film during the editing process and, voila, it appeared to be a full vessel. He even went so far as to print any sort of signage seen in those particular scenes backwards, so that when the image was flipped, the signs would appear in their correct orientation.) As you can see below, when I tried to photograph the angle of Phil’s Bar that was shown in Little Black Book, things did not quite match up. The lower portion of the bar exterior in the movie had a carved lip reaching from the sidewalk up to the bottom of the window, while the front of Starbucks did not. The front doors of Phil’s Bar were also on the opposite side of the building from where Starbuck’s front doors are located.
When I ventured around to the other side of Starbucks, though, things did match up. (And darn that scaffolding that ruined all of my photographs!)
Thanks to a little Pic Monkey magic, I was able to flip one of my photographs (check out the backwards watermark! ) and, as you can see below, the result matches perfectly to what appeared onscreen.
The location pops up again in one of the final scenes of Little Black Book, in which Stacy is shown driving through what is supposedly downtown New York. In an odd twist, the space was a Grand Central Coffee store during the time of that shoot, as you can see below. When I first spotted the Grand Central Coffee sign, I thought that my initial identification of the Tully’s logo had been wrong, but then I came across this online listing for a Tully’s Coffee at that location. I also came across a listing for a Grand Central Coffee at the same location, though. So what I believe happened is this – either the driving-through-New-York scene or the Phil’s-Bar scene were pick-up shots, filmed months after Little Black Book had wrapped. In the interim, either Grand Central or Tully’s (whichever was there first) closed down and the other café opened in its place. That is just a guess, though.
The very same storefront was also visible in the background of the 1999 hit Fight Club, in the scene in which The Narrator (Edward Norton) and Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) blew up a computer store. And while the café looks to have had a name beginning with a “G” at that time, I was unable to make out any of the other letters on the sign in the front window.
The Starbucks also popped up in the Season 1 episode of Touch titled “Safety in Numbers,” in the scene in which Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland) tried to talk to a homeless man named Walter King (Robert Patrick Benedict).
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Big THANK YOU to Mike, from MovieShotsLA, for helping me find this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Phil’s Bar from Little Black Book is actually the Starbucks located at 523 West 6th Street in downtown Los Angeles. The building that Stacy and Joyce walked by in the scene, which is supposedly located across the street from Phil’s Bar, is The Crocker Club, which can be found five blocks away at 453 South Spring Street. You can visit The Crocker Club’s official website here.