Have you ever had an inkling to indulge like Don Draper, Roger Sterling and others at Sterling Cooper & Partners advertising agency? With a bit of imagination (and a handy guide such as this one), you can walk in the shadows of Mad Men. The AMC TV hit show, which premieres its 7th and final season on April 13, might be set in New York City, but it’s actually filmed in Los Angeles. Hit these filming locations around the city to eat, drink and play like your favorite ad execs.
Before it took the spotlight in Mad Men, Hollywood’s elite would flock to this 95-year-old restaurant’s mahogany bar for drinks and make deals on its pay phone — the first one in Hollywood. Picture corner booths being filled with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford in its early days, and Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and Elizabeth Taylor just a few years before Draper would have hit the scene. In “The New Girl” episode (season 2, episode 1), The Musso & Frank Grill plays the role of Sardi’s, where Draper spends an evening mingling with Bobbie Barrett in one of the restaurant’s worn leather booths over Old Fashioneds and dirty martinis. These two drinks can still be ordered today, expertly crafted by any of the restaurant’s tuxedoed bartenders.
On any given night, this dynamic Downtown watering hole pulls endless pints of Guinness and Irish coffees to the tune of jukebox music or the sounds of local bands performing in the back room. Carousers settle into wooden booths and indulge in menu favorites such as Irish pub fries, fish and chips, and corned beef and cabbage. In short, this means the real Casey’s isn’t all that different from the role it plays in “The Hobo Code” (season 1, episode 8) as P.J. Clarke’s, the midtown pub where the (then) Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce gang celebrates its successful campaign and Peggy Olson breaks out into The Twist.
A regular destination for the Academy Awards between 1969 and 1999, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is the current home of the L.A. Opera and Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center. A ticket to any of these award-winning performances will entitle you to an evening spent among its crystal chandeliers and sweeping staircases. In “Souvenir” (season 3, episode 8), the location isn’t typecast as an arts venue at all, but moonlights, instead, as the site of the Hilton hotel in Rome. Don and his wife Betty travel there to meet Draper’s client, Conrad Hilton, and experience the property. One evening a freshly coiffed Betty sits on the plaza staged to be an outdoor café and casually smokes a cigarette with Draper in the midst of the Music Center’s iconic fountain.
This stunner of an eatery combines Art Deco design with Northern Italian fare on the ground floor and mezzanine level of the historic James Oviatt Building in Downtown Los Angeles. On Sundays (and some Fridays) the restaurant turns into the Cicada Club, where partygoers can fete the ’20s and embark on an evening of live music and dancing. The expansive 15,000-square-foot space is ideal for any event, which is what made it the perfect location for the Clio Awards banquet in the aforementioned “Waldorf Stories” (season 4, episode 6). As the SCDP partners are buzzing at their table about who will take the award, you can see the space’s signature chandeliers and zigzag-patterned wall accents behind them.
Dark wood and a sturdy bar are the first things you notice when you walk into this storied Downtown spot that has been serving its signature French Dip sandwiches since 1908. The restaurant claims it is the originator of the meaty dish, a distinction that neighboring sandwich shop, Philippe the Original, disputes to this day. Cole’s had its moment in the Mad Men sun during a flashback in “Waldorf Stories,” when a young Draper takes Sterling out for a three-martini lunch in hopes of persuading him to give him his break in the advertising world.
Photos Courtesy of Frank Ockenfels3-AMC, Carin Baer-AMC and Michael Yarish-AMC