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Madeline Garden Bistro & Venue from “Mad Men”

Apr 3rd, 2017 | By | Category: TV Locations

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I have had many different stalking notebooks over the years.  My latest is a gorgeous white Moleskin that I picked up during my Switzerland vacation back in June 2013.  One locale that has been listed in it since I started using it almost four years ago (it’s one of the very first entries), but had never been checked off until recently is Madeline Garden Bistro & Venue, which was featured in a Season 4 episode of Mad Men.  I had seen photos of the darling Pasadena restaurant/tea room on several websites, walked by it dozens of times over the years, and knew of its onscreen appearance thanks to my buddy E.J.’s The Movieland Directory website.  Due to the place’s formerly spotty hours, though, I had never been able to stalk it.  The opportunity finally arose two weeks ago when the Grim Cheaper and I found ourselves wandering Green Street just as Madeline was opening, so we headed on in.

While the exterior of Madeline Garden Bistro is incredibly idyllic . . .

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– I mean, even the signage looks like something from a movie set –

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. . . what awaited us as we stepped through the front doors was nothing short of breathtaking.

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Madeline Garden Bistro is easily one of the prettiest places I have ever laid eyes on . . .

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. . . which I guess should come as no surprise being that it is located inside of the Cheesewright Studios Building, or the Cheesewright Building, one of Pasadena’s most historic and prominent sites.

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Per The Architecture of Entertainment by Robert Winter, the French Quarter-style property was designed in 1927 by Louis du Puget Millar as a studio/office/workshop for renown interior decorator Edgar J. Cheesewright.

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At the time of its inception, the 2-story, 42-room, 35,000-square-foot complex boasted 3 street-level boutiques, 8 sales rooms, several workshops and offices, a reception hall with a curved staircase, an entrance courtyard with a fountain, a rear garden, leaded glass windows, wrought iron balconies, and a 2-story atrium .  You can see photos of the building during its early days here and here.

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Cheesewright’s business suffered financially during the Great Depression and he eventually sold the property.  During World War II, the complex was acquired by the U.S. Naval Research Bureau and was utilized to conduct secret military testing.  A basement lab was constructed for Albert Einstein during that time, complete with a tunnel that linked it to the California Institute of Technology located about a half a mile away, so that the scientist could venture there and back unseen.  In 1983, the Navy relinquished the building and it was transformed into retail/office space once again.  Today, the second floor houses apartments known as the Pasadena Green Plaza Apartments.  Miraculously, despite its different incarnations over the years, much of the site’s original detailing and beauty has been retained.

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I was able to chronicle the history of the ground level space that now houses Madeline Garden Bistro back to 2001, at which time it was opened as an upscale eatery named Restaurant Halie.

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Halie was shuttered in 2006 and shortly thereafter Madeleine’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro moved in.

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Though I lived in Pasadena at the time and heard great things about the place (especially its décor), on every single occasion that the GC and I attempted to eat there or grab a cocktail, we would invariably walk up only to find it closed.

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I guess other people had a hard time getting in, as well, because Madeleine’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro closed in 2010.  The space remained vacant for a few years before re-opening as the similarly named Madeline Garden Bistro & Venue in 2013.

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Though closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, the eatery has a much better operating schedule than its predecessor.

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Madeline Garden Bistro has been called “a maze of a restaurant” by several websites and that is the perfect description of the place.

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The massive site is comprised of a seemingly endless array of rooms, hallways and tucked-away spaces, each one more beautiful than the next.

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The bistro features a lovely main dining room replete with jewel tones;

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a towering fireplace;

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poufy couches;

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arched windows and crystal chandeliers.  (And yes, I’m fully aware that I got a little picture happy while stalking Madeline!)

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The back bar is just as gorgeous.

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Decorated in deep greens and dark purples . . .

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. . . the space has the feel of a Parisian watering hole of yesteryear.

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There’s a gorgeous brick and flagstone courtyard . . .

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. . . perfect for whiling away a sunny afternoon.

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Just off the courtyard is the High Tea Room, a grand space marked by French doors, teal walls and an elaborate fireplace.

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It was in the High Tea Room that Mad Men was filmed.

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In the Season 4 episode titled “Public Relations,” which aired in 2010, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) took an opera supernumerary named Bethany Van Nuys (Anna Camp) on a first date there.

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Though the site was operating as Madeleine’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro at the time of the filming, as you can see that room still looks very much the same today.

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The Cheesewright Studios Buildings was also featured in a 2015 “The Season of Audi Sales Event” commercial, which you can watch here.

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On a side-note – my Google Photo app “stylized” one of the pictures I took of Madeline Garden Bistro and I absolutely love how it turned out.  I’m honestly thinking of framing it and had to include it here.

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For more stalking fun, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Los Angeles magazine and Discover Los Angeles.

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Madeline Garden Bistro & Venue, from the “Public Relations” episode of Mad Men, is located at 1030 East Green Street in Pasadena.  The eatery is only open Wednesday through Sunday, so plan accordingly.  You can visit the tea room’s official website here.

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