NEWSLETTER NO. 6 - POLITICIANS, MOVERS, and SHAKERS
I take daily walks to clear my mind and help me remove writer's block. On my walks this week, two things kept running through my mind; first, the death of Melvyn “Mel” Haber, internationally acclaimed Palm Springs restaurateur, who in October 1975 opened Melvyn’s Restaurant, and second, next Tuesday’s presidential election.
I have enjoyed the bar at Melvyn’s Restaurant on a number of occasions and suspect it will not be the same without Mel. It was a hangout for the world’s elite, and in particular, the Hollywood movie crowd. It’s been indicated in the Desert Sun newspaper that because of Mel’s ability as a promoter, “Melvyn’s received media coverage from every major national and international television, magazine and newspaper outlet including The London Times, The New York Times, 60 Minutes, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and countless others.” He wrote a book titled “The Colorful World of the Caviar Crowd at Their Favorite Desert Hideaway,” co-written by author Marshall Terrill.
I understand Melvyn’s is in the process of being purchased by a group headed by Gavin Newsom, who I remember from my San Francisco days. He’s a fourth-generation San Franciscan and comes from a politically well-connected family. His family was close friends with the Getty family, who helped him fund PlumpJack Associates which opened the PlumpJack Café in San Francisco. He also created several other businesses that include the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn with a PlumpJack Café, a Napa Valley winery, the Balboa Café Bar and Grill and several other projects in Northern California. Melvyn’s will be his first venture in the southern part of the state.
As respects the presidential election, I’m just glad it will be over next Tuesday. At least I think it will be, though I understand there is the possibility neither will get the required electoral votes. As I walked, the wheels in my mind got me wondering what the politicians, movers, and shakers will be talking about in some of my favorite bars following the election.
Several years ago I had the idea to write a book that listed a unique type of bar/restaurant that you can find in every town or city. The listing was to include the power restaurants where the local politicians, movers, and shakers gather. The restaurant doesn’t necessarily have the best food, but they do have interesting bar conversations, which often affect what’s happening in the political and business world. Rather than writing the book, I’ll update this newsletter periodically to maintain such a list.
AND, DEAR READERS, I’m going to ask your help in expanding and refining the list. Please let me know of places that fit the power restaurant criteria. You may also want to check out the places listed to add your comments, suggestions, or indicate a place no longer exists or meets the power restaurant criteria.
I have visited the places listed below, or I have researched them for one of my novels.
Here's the initial list, which is in alphabetical order by city -
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA
176 North Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Telephone - 310-385-0880
Website - www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3635
Comments – In walking distance of our Beverly Hills pad, Spago’s is a place I have frequented for many years. It is Wolfgang Puck’s legendary flagship restaurant and a great place in the LA area for power dining and celebrity sightings. Love sitting at the bar and meeting people.
35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7LB
Telephone - +44 (0)20 7836 5314
Website – www.rules.co.uk
Comments – I always go to Rules when I’m in London. It’s the oldest restaurant in London and one of the most celebrated in the world. The Brits prefer to take you to one of the chic modern places, but I also need to go to Rules at least once during a visit. You will find FBI Special Agent Hartmann taking his squad to Rules in my novel “Death on the High Seas.”
From their website - In the year Napoleon opened his campaign in Egypt, Thomas Rule promised his despairing family that he would say goodbye to his wayward past and settle down. No sooner said than he opened an oyster bar in Convent Garden. To the surprise and disbelief of his family, his enterprise proved to be not only successful but lasting.
Contemporary writers were soon singing the praises of Rules’ “porter, pies and oysters”, and remarking on the “rakes, dandies and superior intelligence’s who comprise its clientele”.
Throughout its long history, the tables of Rules have been crowded with writers, artists, lawyers, journalists, and actors, as well as being frequented by great literary talents – including Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, John Galsworthy and H G Wells. Rules has also appeared in novels by Rosamond Lehmann, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, John Le Carré, Dick Francis, Penelope Lively and Claire Rayner.
The actors and actresses who’ve passed through Rules are legion. Down the decades Rules has been an unofficial “green room” for the world of entertainment from Henry Irving to Laurence Olivier. The history of the English stage adorns the walls of this establishment. . . the cinema has contributed its own distinguished list of names including Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel, Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin and John Barrymore. I’m sure many of my readers will not remember many of these names, but they are remembered by me.
1007 Bardstown Rd
Louisville, KY 40204
Telephone – 502-452-9244
Website – www.jackfrys.com
Comments – I found this place on a business trip and will never forget it. I was sitting at the bar when the four guys next to me began discussing the French Laundry Restaurant in Napa. Having dined there when we were living in San Francisco, the place was well known to me. It served as a great intro into their conversation. One of the four was the current Louisville mayor.
From their website - JACK FRY'S was established in 1933 by Jack Fry and his wife, Flossie. Fry was known as a rambling, gambling kind of guy who loved amateur boxing and the ponies. As a result, Jack Fry's became a sportsman’s hangout, as evidenced by the numerous historic photographs that fill the walls. He was also known to conduct his bookmaking and bootlegging affairs discreetly from "the back room." He was a much loved character who often gave a free meal to a needy friend.”
ROYAL BOMBAY YACHT CLUB
Opposite Gateway of India, Near Taj Mahal Hotel
Mumbai - 400001. India
Telephone - 0091-22-2202 1880
Website – www.rbyc.co.in
Comments – I want to go to this club someday. I researched it for my second novel “Death on the High Seas” where the Club’s Dolphin Bar is the scene for a lot of action. I was fascinated by what I learned about this club.
According to its website, the Club is the oldest and most majestic Yacht Club in Asia. It was founded in 1846 as the Bombay Yacht Club when the then resident British community took to sailing as a sport. The Club has an elite membership registry with member consisting of captains of industry, legal luminaries, medical specialists, professors of education, defense personnel and experts in the fields of accountancy, art, culture, and heritage.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
1221 Avenue of the Americas
At 48th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues
New York, NY 10020
Telephone – 212-554-4848
Website – www.48nyc.com/contact-48-lounge-in-manhattan
Comments – As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I’d planned to use Hurley’s Restaurant near Rockefeller Center, but Hurley’s is closed, so, I had to research nearby places to replace it. I found the 48 Lounge, which I use in my novel “Death & Taxes.”
From an Internet Review - Absolute chic and hip after-work hangout place! – 2 of my girlfriends and I decided to try this place out a couple of weeks ago after reading great reviews about it and I must say this place was amazing. Great drinks, very chic and sexy atmosphere with a great touch of class and great hospitality. The evening that we were there, we ended up sitting at the table next to the owner, his wife and their friends and they were very friendly, nice people. Definitely, a place everyone should check out - the crowd is very classy, the place is happening, and the drinks are great! I am going back again very soon with friends!
PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA
200 West Ramon Road
Palm Springs, CA 92264
Telephone – 760-325-2323
Website – www.inglesideinn.com
Comment – A restaurant bar that I frequent in Palm Springs, and that FBI Special Agent Hartmann goes to when in visits his Uncle in Palm Desert. Check it out in my novel “Death at Sunnyland.”
It was a hangout for the world’s elite, and particularly the Hollywood movie industry. It is indicated, in the Desert Sun newspaper that because of the former owner’s ability as a promoter, “Melvyn’s received media coverage from every major national and international television, magazine and newspaper outlet including The London Times, The New York Times, 60 Minutes, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and countless others.” Mel Haber the former owner wrote a book titled “The Colorful World of the Caviar Crowd at Their Favorite Desert Hideaway,” co-written by author Marshall Terrill.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
453 Bush Street, San Francisco CA 94108
Telephone - 415.391.2233
Website – www.lecentralbistro.com
Comments – My regular San Francisco Friday afternoon watering hole for many years. Friday’s were always interesting with regulars including da Mayor Willie Brown and haute couture haberdasher Wilkes Bashford (who recently passed away) holding court in Banquette No. 1 by the window. There was a continuous revolving cast that included such dashing diners from Harry de Wildt, Robert Mailer Anderson and Matthew Kelly, to a possible guest appearance by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. My name is included on a plaque on the back wall of the bar for the Mis-Trustees aka The Regular Irregulars.
Le Central is the second office for my protagonist FBI Special Agent Hartmann.
Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated.
Richard V. Rupp
P.S. I have found it is easier to read my newsletters on my website than in an email. Suggest you go to www.richardvrupp.com