Zebra Room, Los Angeles 1947
>Built in 1929 at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Commonwealth, the Zebra Room was an exotically decorated bar within The Town House apartment-hotel developed by oil magnate Edward Doheny.
There were splashy jungle murals that showed zebras running across the savannah, and the banquettes and chairs were upholstered in striped material.
White-jacketed waiters served cocktails, including the famous Vesuvius cocktail – a mix of crème de menthe, grenadine, Cointreau and Southern Comfort in which a rum -soaked lemon rind was set alight, causing the liquid to foam to the top of the glass.
This was the cover of a Zebra Room souvenir photo folder. Long before we all had cellphones with cameras, the way to preserve memories of a memorable evening was to have your picture taken by commercial photographers who covered nightspots.
Happy couples or groups of friends paid on average $1.50 to have their pictures taken and the black-and-white photo was mailed to them in a souvenir cover the week after.
The Zebra Room was featured in Life magazine in the 1940s as one of LA’s ‘swankiest’ bars.
This vintage image is dated 1947 when Hollywood was in full swing and the top ten money making stars were Bing Crosby, Betty Grable, Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Gregory Peck, Claudette Colbert and Alan Ladd.
Courtesy Private Collection.