A tribute To "Dino's Lodge" for Los Angeles Magazine
Remember the L.A.-based private eye series 77 Sunset Strip? The 1950s series was filmed entirely on the Warner Brothers lot, but the opening 30-second sequencewas filmed in front of Dino's Lodge, located at 8524 Sunset Boulevard. In the summer of 1958, Dean Martin and his business partner, Maury Samuels, bought a former restaurant called The Alpine Lodge. They hired Dean’s brother Bill to manage the place, and immediately renamed it “Dino’s Lodge.” Out front they placed an enormous neon sign featuring Dean Martin’s handsome face and it became one of Hollywood's campiest novelties. The “suit and tie” jazz joint was instantly hip, serving home-style Italian cuisine, steaks, and breakfast until 4 a.m. The interior included dark wood paneling and comfortable leather booths meant to replicate Martin’s personal den. Continuous entertainment was provided in a separate cocktail lounge that promoted female singers—perhaps ole Dino didn’t want any male competition—but by 1960, he had flown the coop for the Sands in Las Vegas and sold the restaurant to new owners who kept the name and neon sign for 27 additional years. Visitors flocked to the restaurant in hopes of getting a glimpse of Dino, but his neon face is as close as they got.
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