Cocoanut Grove Cocktails, Ambassador Hotel Los Angeles 1930s/40s
The Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles threw open its doors on the stroke of midnight on January 1, 1921 and was described by the Jazz age novelist F Scott Fitzgerald – author of The Great Gatsby– as the “greatest, gaudiest spree in American history.” There were 1,000 guest rooms and bungalows, restaurants, shops, a cinema, a “beach” and a mini golf course on the 27-acre site. The hotel’s famous nightclub The Cocoanut Grove opened four months later, decorated in Moorish style and with a ceiling painted to resemble a starry sky. There were soaring coconut palms made of papier mache and swinging from the branches were stuffed monkeys with electric amber eyes. The nightspot became an instant hit and the Hollywood elite that included Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino and Greta Garbo used it as their playground. Minnie and Mickey Mouse were guest of honor in 1930 as Walt Disney celebrated the second birthdays of his famous and beloved cartoon characters. The actor John Barrymore, a resident like F Scott Fitzgerald, often set his pet monkey Clementine loose among the coconut palms. Freddy Martin, an American bandleader and tenor saxophonist, provided the music along with his orchestra. Several academy Awards ceremonies were held in the magnificent nightclub and an MGM film Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove featured a galaxy of Hollywood stars singing and dancing in Technicolor. The decline of the Ambassador probably started in 1968 when Robert F Kennedy was assassinated by gunman Sirhan Sirhan in the kitchen of the hotel after he had addressed a crowd of supporters. Attempts were made to modernize both the hotel and the Cocoanut Grove nightclub but the once glorious building began to fall into disrepair. Despite the efforts of the Los Angeles Conservancy and other supporters to save it, the property was demolished in 2005 to make way for a school complex. This menu, which we believe is from the late 1930s or early 1940s, celebrates the famous monkeys that “roamed” The Cocoanut Grove. As was the fashion, the cocktail list included recipes for each drink. Note the prices of drinks which were 63, 73 or 88 cents. The uneven numbers seem strange and may have included tax. The Cocoanut Grove rum cocktail came in at a tidy $1.25.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks. Custom printed with border for matting and framing.
All printed in USA.
Each product is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu where available.