Melrose Avenue (at Robertson)
West Hollywood, CA.
/ (310) 276-1253
one of the leading hangouts for Hollywood agents, producers, and
other such players. For a change, here's a place where agents rarely
do "power lunches"... they do power dinners
addition to Oscar night, the hot night at Morton's is Monday, when the restaurant becomes a major scene.
restaurant is owned by Peter Morton, the guy who gave us the
worldwide chain of Hard
Rock Cafes (including one at the nearby Beverly Center).
It's a beautiful room, in tropical surroundings, at rather high
prices (expect to pay about $85 for dinner for two, or about $45 for
few people come for the food or the decor. They come for the scene,
to make deals, and to spot celebrities. That can be difficult at
dinnertime, when the lighting at Morton's is dim; lunch is brighter
and star-gazing is easier.
It's difficult to imagine a more star-studded
crowd than you'll find at Morton's on Oscar Night.
1994, when Spago closed
on Oscar night of that year, in memory of the late Swifty Lazar,
Morton's made a successful bid to replace Spago
as the place to be on Academy Awards night. and the annual
post-Oscar party moved to Morton's. It was a major success, and just
about every star in town showed up, from Tom Cruise
to Whitney Houston.
Vanity Fair party at
now considered the hottest
post-Oscar private party in town (although there are at least a
dozen other such parties at various restaurants around Hollywood).
on hand for the 2001
Morton's included Best Actress winner Julia Roberts, Russell Crowe,
Angelina Jolie & Billy Bob Thorton, Kevin Spacey, Tom
Cruise, Ashley Judd, Warren Beatty & Annette Bening,
Calista Flockhart, Jennifer Lopez, Puff Daddy, Elizabeth Hurley,
Lara Flynn Boyle, Samuel L. Jackson, Rob Lowe, Pamela Anderson,
David Geffen and so many
more that there is talk now that Vanity Fair may actually try to cut
back on the number of stars who are allowed inside.
who showed up at Morton's for the 2000 Oscar party
many of the above, as well as Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon,
Winona Ryder, Arnold Schwarzenegger & Maria Shriver,
Michael Caine, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt,
Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Elle Macpherson, Cher,
James Woods, Minnie Driver, Courtney Love, Edward Norton,
Jane Fonda, Phil Collins, Ron Howard, Regis Philbin, Joan
Rivers, Angie Dickinson and director Sam Mendes.
pre-Oscar party starts at 5 PM
the restaurant gets its second, main wave of star arrivals after the
Oscars show is over (at around 10 or 11 p.m.)
rest of the year, getting in can be a problem, especially on Monday,
unless you're famous - so be sure to make a reservation. (Be
warned: they don't care for tourists here.) The preferred
seats for those "in the know " are in the front room, just
past the desk, and against the back wall.
is open for dinner Monday through Saturday, from 6:30 to 11 PM, and
for lunch Monday through Friday. (Closed Sundays.) A jacket is
required, and naturally it offers valet parking.
From Rodeo Drive, turn
east on Santa Monica Boulevard and follow it northeast (a little
over a mile) to Melrose Avenue. Bear right (east) on Melrose, and go
three blocks east to Robertson. The restaurant will be on your right
Beverly Hills, California
In 1998, Sir Elton John moved his star-studded post-Oscar party from Maple
Spago, Beverly Hills.
spot was Nancy Reagan's
favorite restaurant, back when it was the Bistro
Garden. But then celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck purchased the
property. For a while, there were rumors that Puck was going to move
his fabled Spago from its longtime home above the Sunset
Strip to his new posh digs. But in the end, he decided to have it
both ways. He kept his original Spago open in West Hollywood
(re-naming it Spago Hollywood),
and opened Spago Beverly Hills
in this beautiful space in April of 1997, investing some $4 million
in the process.
you might expect, the new Spago was an immediate sensation, jammed
with Hollywood stars from day one. Reservations were being taken a
month in advance. In November of '97, the President of the United
States, Bill Clinton showed up at the new Spago to host a benefit
for the "Rock the Vote" effort. The celebs in attendance
included Tom Hanks, Kevin Spacey, Lou Diamond
Phillips, Graham Nash, Don Henley, Michael Bolton, and
several studio leaders.
is an invitation-only event (dinner guests pay $1,000 each), and the
only charity event on Oscar Night to raise money for an organization
that is seeking a cure for AIDS.
year's guests included "Titanic"
director James Cameron and
Linda Hamilton, Michael Douglas,
Arnold Schwarzenegger & Maria Shriver, Sharon Stone, Jon Bon
Jovi, Faye Dunaway, Matt Damon, Minnie Driver ("Good
Will Hunting"), Robin
Williams, Kim Basinger & Alec Baldwin, Sandra Bullock, Pam
Grier, Fran Drescher, Natalie Cole, Jay Leno, and many more,
including Elton himself (who gets there at 4 p.m., and doesn't leave
until 2 p.m.).
1998, they shut down two lanes of Canon Drive for the big night, and
erected a giant tent on the street, as Spago hosted the arriving
stars. (But since then, Elton has moved his affair to other spots.)
Oscar Night of 2000,
took over Spago Beverly Hills to celebrate their Best Picture
winner, "American Beauty."
The place was decked out with more roses than you'd find in
Pasadena, and party guests included Kevin
Spacey, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari, Peter Gallagher,
Kevin Pollack, Roberto Benigni, Val Kilmer
and (from "The Sixth
Sense") Haley Joel
Osment. Plus the DreamWorks trio of Spielberg, Geffen and
Katzenberg, of course.
Cruise & Penelope Cruz had their first date at this Beverly
same year, DreamWorks decided to have it's party at Spago the day before
the Oscars, since so many of their actors were up competing each
other for the awards (e.g. both Russell Crowe and Tom Hanks
were up for the Best Actor award.)
location has always housed a big, beautiful restaurant, but Puck and
his wife have managed to improve things. At the center of the
sophisticated restaurant is the old Bistro Garden's romantic patio,
shaded by tall pepper trees. A fountain inscribed with the word
various languages) bubbles next to a pair of 100-year-old olive
trees imported just for Spago. The restaurant's striking interior
shows none of Barbara Lazaroff's usual excess. But it does
feature an open kitchen, like the original Spago Hollywood.
March of 2001, Puck finally bowed to the inevitable and closed the
older, original Spago restaurant on Sunset Blvd. But this new
Beverly Hills branch remains open and thriving.
Beverly Hills is open daily for dinner, and is open for lunch Monday
through Saturday. Reservations are essential (and almost impossible
to get during prime hours); preferably weeks in advance. But be
warned that the restaurant doesn't take reservations between 7 and 9 p.m.
(unless you're a celeb, of course). You can expect to pay between
$70 and $110 for two.
take Wilshire Boulevard six blocks east to Maple Drive. Turn left
(north) on Maple Drive and go four blocks north to 3rd Street. The
restaurant is located one block north of 3rd, on the left (west)
PARTIES AROUND THE COUNTRY
the OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR THE OSCARS, OSCAR.COM FOR OFFICIAL
SPONSORED PARTIES AROUND THE COUNTRY.
THE BEST OF
THE BEST PARTY
question about it, the Best of the Best parties are the ones held by
you guys out there. Thereās
nothing like getting together with great friends, great food,
dressed up for the night at someone's home, or at your local
pub·and speculating, and oooahhhhhing, and cheering and sharing.
Donāt be left out this year, join the one billion others