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The Cat and Fiddle, and other fading LA landmarks

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Alison Martino from Vintage LA chronicles how famed spots in Los Angeles are now fading away.

Some of the stars in Los Angeles aren't people, but places. However many of those are fading away.

Alison Martino runs the Facebook page Vintage LA, which chronicles the city then and now. 

Recently, she's been mourning the impending loss of the Cat and Fiddle, a landmark pub in Hollywood with a courtyard for al fresco dining. Part of Casablanca was filmed there, too.

But the Cat and Fiddle will be closing later this year because the landlord decided not to renew its lease.

Alison joins Take Two to talk about what the location will become, as well as other famed spots like Power House in Hollywood and Palm Restaurant in West Hollywood, which are now a part of the city's past.

As for what all these big changes mean for the soul of Hollywood, Martino said she thinks it's "too much."

It's literally at the corner of every major block. Driving down even to Sunset and La Brea I don't know where I am anymore."



What's the story on this landmark closing?

It was a big music industry hangout, entertainment hangout. It was a pub but was also a hangout for some of the locals—huge, big fountain in front. It goes back to the 1920s.

I've been speaking with the current managers and their family opened the original Cat and Fiddle in Laurel Canyon in '82. And a few years later they took the space over on Sunset and have been renting it ever since. So they didn’t see it coming because their business does really well and a couple of the articles said the landlord says they're not doing very well. That’s just not the case.

This is primo real estate right?

It’s a very big property. The developments coming into Sunset Strip now are so big and the value of the land is becoming so huge that pubs like the Power House and Cat and Fiddle can't survive. The landlords want the property and rent increase and they're sort of being driven out.

What's next?

They're looking for a new space. There's a Save the Cat and Fiddle facebook page that’s gone viral but it’s a done deal, it seems. The landlord has plans for somebody else. There's some homes behind the Cat and Fiddle from the 1920s that are planning on also being demolished. I am not sure if they're going to tear it down but there are plans to alter it. Very heartbreaking.


The Palm is another restaurant closing in Hollywood. Give us the latest and, for those who haven't been, describe it for us.

The original Palm in West Hollywood opened in 1974 and they're known for all the characters on the walls; all the artwork of every single celebrity and loyal customer that's been in there. The landlord wants to take the building down and destroy it and make it mixed use. They knew they had to go. I helped them, we got all the artwork off the wall and into the hands of everybody who's ever been up there. I got Shecky Greene down there, Mamie van Doren. They were all so excited to come down and get their characters. So there's a happy ending there that we got some preservation out of it. They found a property in Beverly Hills so it's not the end for them.


A newer Sunset Strip landmark, the House of Blues, is also closing.

That was another shocker. It's sad to see music venues close on the Sunset Strip. But they're putting a big huge hotel there. They are looking for new space as well. I don’t think it will be the same without Sunset Strip. I wish them well and hope they find a new venue but I don’t know where they're going.


What about the 'diviest of dive bars' the Power House?

Bukowski you probably would have seen him there back in the day. It's definitely the oldest watering hole. A place like that can't survive when the Hollywood and Highland is across the street. Very close to the Frolic Room sort of vibe. And those two are probably the last pubs of that era. They are reopening in the same space more of a chi chi version. We'll see how that works out.


I want to clear up one rumor. The Whisky a Go-Go is not closing. There was an article that came out a few weeks ago with the misleading headline "The Whisky a Gone-Gone" and it was about the House of Blues. And everyone sort of thought the Whisky was closing. They just celebrated their 50th year in January.

The Doors sort of put the Whisky on the map. Then into the 70s Van Halen and into the 80s all the hair bands and then they became a pay to play joint. It's a landmark to me. I called the owners the second I read this article and asked if they're closing and they said, "Over my dead body are we closing. We're going to be the last venue on Sunset Strip to see music."

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