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Happy Hour at French 75

By Aldo Panzieri
Laguna Beach is still an artist colony. It is also a major international resort and the home of a lot of ultra rich international jet setters. Movie stars share parking lots with artists who's pick up trucks full of paintings and sculptures sit side by side with $400.00 sports cars. Trendy shops and restaurants come and go with lightening speed, or they become fixtures in what is called, "The village.", which it actually was seventy five years ago.

Olamandi's Mexican restaurant has been in Laguna at two locations for fifty years. French seventy five, a bar and restaurant that was named after the artillery piece that helped end the first world war was well on it's way to being a fixture in town. Located in a turn of the century mansion surrounded by shops built on the grounds of the old home features a first class menu, a long bar with bartenders who knew the locals by sight, and had their favorite drink mixed and on the counter before the thirsty patron sat down.

The ceiling had a mural of naked cherubs frolicking with monkeys. Locals always ate at the bar, movie stars ate in secluded booths in a separate room only locals knew about. It had a separate entrance, and celebrities could count on the discreet service at the restaurant.

While sitting at the end of the bar, I saw a waiter with a tray of exotic drinks enter this hidden room, and got a brief glimpse of a well known actress, better known for her acting in the bedroom, than on film. It was said that she had seen more ceilings than Michelangelo. Her drunken voice bellowed out through the door to the bar where we could hear her describe in excruciating detail, the genital descriptions of ninety percent of the mail stars in Hollywood, as well as their sometime strange bedroom preferences.

Sadly, French Seventy five is gone, the mural scraped off he ceiling, replaced by some other décor. Locals shun the new place which now caters to rich tourist's. Here is a composition shot from my favorite bar stool during happy hour which started at two in the afternoon, and often ran until dawn the next day.

Tags: Landscape and travel French seventy five

Voters: AnnaBanana, silverbells, vickyf and 3 more

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vickyf 12 8 8 United Kingdom
9 Jan 2014 9:43AM
This looks like a film set - mysterious and moody. Love the write up too.

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