The Polo Lounge’s steak tartare is among the restaurant’s most-ordered dishes
In its early days, The Polo Lounge at the nearly century-old Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows was the watering hole of choice for Hollywood’s sporty set. Stars including Will Rogers, Darryl Zanuck, and Tommy Hitchcock would come to drink after polo matches—hence the source of its name, which was bestowed in 1941. Later, The Polo Lounge drew droves of starlets, such as Marlene Dietrich and Elizabeth Taylor, and was the Rat Pack’s stalwart drinking den.
The celebrity factor is equally high these days—part of the thrill of dining inside the pink hotel is never knowing whom you’ll see at the next table. The lounge itself practically deserves its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, having appeared in several films. “The Polo Lounge is a fun and vibrant venue,” says food and beverage manager Timothy Gustie, “where nostalgia combines with modern-day appeal to offer visitors and locals alike a dining experience that can only be found in glamorous LA.”
The Polo Lounge gets so much high-wattage traffic, it might as well be a studio commissary. Steve Martin and Lorne Michaels have been spied reminiscing on the patio, and Colin Farrell and Janet Jackson mystified paparazzi during an intimate meal together. Over the summer, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston enjoyed an A-list ladies’ lunch out. But the lounge has also been the setting of equally fraught reconciliations (or at least détentes) between power players including Tom Cruise and Sumner Redstone; Nicole Kidman and a post-rehab Keith Urban; mother-daughter feuders Candy and Tori Spelling; Leonardo DiCaprio and on-again, off-again girlfriend Bar Refaeli; and exes Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz. Bringing the drama levels back to normal have been leading men Johnny Depp, Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, and Jack Black, each seen on separate occasions, as have their lovely female counterparts such as Sandra Bullock and Diane Keaton.
You Are When You Eat
Each meal at The Polo Lounge attracts its own distinct crowd. Here’s whom you’ll find dining alongside you during any given meal:
Breakfast is where you’ll see big Hollywood business in the making, as everyone from studio heads to super agents chow down on frittatas while conducting multimillion-dollar deals. Author Garson Kanin summed it up best in his book Hollywood, saying, “From seven to 11 [AM], millions of dollars are committed and are risked. Deals are made, schemes are hatched, plans are laid.” Simply put, this is the spot for the original power breakfast.
Lunch on the outdoor patio attracts the local Beverly Hills crowd and out-of-towners hoping for a leisurely meal and the chance to spot a favorite celebrity.
Guests and locals with something to celebrate, such as a wedding shower or a special birthday, come for the dainty delicacies and old-school service at afternoon tea.
The lounge’s dinner and late-night services are more casual and laid-back, as diners drift in and out for bites from the menu, accompanied by live music. And Sunday brunch here is an institution, with visitors and LA residents settling in at tables for the afternoon as they enjoy mimosas and PLFs.