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"Old Palm Springs"

I'm spending 4-5 nights in Palm Springs with my wife and looking for a taste of old supper clubs, continental dining, meat and martini destinations, mid century cocktail lounges, etc. Is there anything left of 1930s-1960s Palm Springs when it comes to food and drink?

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  1. Lyon's English Grille is classic Palm Springs, I remember it being old in the 80s.


    233 E Palm Canyon Dr
    Palm Springs, CA 92264
    (760) 327-1551

    EDIT: Just read that they're closed?! Noooo...... The website is still up, but some Yelpers are claiming it's closed for good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: moreplease

      Oh no!!! I actually knew about Lyons English Grille and am so sad that it's closed. I hope the rumors aren't true!!!

      EDIT: I don't think Lyons is actually closed. I just called and their voicemail recording is up-to-date and still accepting reservations. I only see two Yelp reviews making that claim but the website and Yelp page are still active. Perhaps they went on a Tuesday night or off-hours. Still seems to be in buisness, phew!

    2. Lord Fletcher's is awesome ! Fits the bill perfectly for what you are describing. The bartender (sadly I forget his name) is a treasure, he will have your drink up on the bar almost before you've finished ordering it, all the while telling you jokes. And the bar is ... well you just have to see it. Food is fine, exactly what you'd expect.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mikester

        This is perfect, thanks so much - it looks terrific!!!

        1. re: mikester

          I met the owners of Lord Fletcher's today while they were on vacation. Struck up a conversation sitting at the next table. The restaurant was started 48 years ago and in that time has only had three different bartenders. They seem to pride themselves on knowing their regulars' usual order. It was cool to hear about the Hollywood crowd that made it their hangout. Also that twenty-somethings have discovered the place, considering it "retro" and learning to drink Manhattans, Martinis, etc.


        2. at the top of your list should be Melvyn's at the Ingleside Inn.
          next: Le Vallauris, owned by Paul Bruggemans.
          then: Wally's Desert Turtle in Rancho Mirage
          fourth is a classic Italian joint on the right hand side as you drive into PS between the Tramway Gas Station and Chino Canyon. can't remember the dat-blatted name but they had an RIP sign up when Harold Robbins passed away. classic, but may be closed.

          2 Replies
          1. re: iOnLa

            Thanks so much,

            I knew of Melvyn's (who doesn't!) and had Le Vallarius on my radar, but had never heard of Desert Turtle. It looks to be a lot more "modern" than the others and was opened in the 1970's, so not really mid century Palm Springs, but I'll add it to the considerations.

            Is the Italian restaurant that you were thinking of called "Johnny Costa's Ristorante" by chance? I'd love to know the name of it, if not!

            Thanks again.

            Edit: There's also Nicolino's (is that the one?) but it looks more like cheap 1980's decor than swanky post-war Palm Springs Vacationland. I see numerous flat screen TVs surrounding the bar which is a definite deal-killer for me.

            1. re: OliverB

              yes, Johnny Costa's sounds right.

              and if you're seeking Continental, then you need to check out Wally's. less cool rat pack, more country club, but still swinging.

          2. I seem to recall a good restaurant at La Quinta Country Club.
            Morgan's, I think.

            1. Melvins. Nothing else touches it. Also, let me know if you want the opposite recommendation as well. Something so new School

              1. Thanks everyone.

                Does anyone have any casual lunch recommendations in old/historic/architecturally interesting settings? Any old Mexican cantinas? I have Sherman's Deli on my list for breakfast; are there any other pre/post-war lunch counters or places of interest?

                What about mid century bars and cocktail lounges?

                9 Replies
                1. re: OliverB

                  If only Sherman's original building was still standing.

                    1. re: OliverB

                      No, not by a long shot. That's a strip mall location. The original from 1963 was a free standing Googie building which was originally a Huddle's.



                      1. re: JAB

                        Oh wow, I'd never seen that Cody building... so sad!

                          1. re: JAB

                            RIP also Ken Kellogg's brilliantly original Chart House in Rancho Mirage, which burned down a couple of years ago.

                            I'll let PS'ers address your request for Mexican. All I can say is do not go to Las Casuelas—horrible. Blue Coyote much better even though it's not mc modern.

                            on a final note. Spencer's at the Tennis Club isn't bad, but the renovation of the classic Paul Williams/A. Quincy Jones building didn't leave much intact. don't recall if the oval swimming pool remains.

                            1. re: iOnLa

                              Yes, perhaps my favorite living Architect.

                  1. re: OliverB

                    Louise's Pantry is definitely old school but it has moved to a newer location.

                    1. re: OliverB

                      I like El Mirasol for a casual Mexican lunch. No significance to their building but, on a nice day, they have a nice big patio.

                    2. You may also want to review the California board, as that is the one that actually covers PS and its environs. Coincidentally, I was there this past weekend, but did not do any "old school" venue; I did love drinking options at the brand spanking new Ritz Carlton on the way into Rancho Mirage. Gorgeous setting.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Wayno

                        Thank you, I didn't realize there was a separate board for "the rest" of SoCal. I'll try that.

                      2. We recently did the Celebrity Homes Tour of Old Palm Springs and the tour guide gave some pretty candid tips for dining in the heart of the old town - can't remember their names, but the tour is well worth taking if you are spending time there.

                        They take you to the Windmill Market in Desert Hot Springs for the best date shake in the whole area, so this is a food recommendation as well as tour suggestion.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: glbtrtr


                          I have Shields Date Gardens in Indio on the list.

                          Here's the rundown so far:

                          - Melvyn's and Casablanca Bar at The Ingleside Inn
                          - Lyon's English Grille
                          - Lord Fletcher's
                          - Purple Palms Restaurant at The Colony Palms
                          - Le Vallaurius
                          - Wally's Desert Turtle (?)
                          - Nicolino's
                          - Sherman's Deli & Bakery
                          - Tyler's Burgers
                          - Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace
                          - Shields Date Gardens

                          And not exactly "authentic" but in relevant settings:

                          - Norma's at Le Parker Meridien
                          - Citron & Lemon Bar at The Viceroy


                          - Tonga Hut
                          - The Copa Room

                          1. re: OliverB

                            Take Shields off for their date shakes, but maybe interesting to see date cultivation. Far better off with Windmill Market - plus they have the rare dates for sale when in season.

                        2. Agree with Melvyn's and several others. Don't care for Sherman's Deli (either location). Suggest you check out "The Nest" in Indian Wells.

                          1. Vacation is officially booked!

                            5 nights in Palm Springs followed by 3 nights in Beverly Hills over the Christmas holidays. I can't wait!

                            I have a few quick questions for the board...

                            - Are reservations needed for a casual lunch at Norma's at Le Parker MĂ©ridien? Is it safe for walk-ins? we wouldn't be on a strict timeline and wouldn't mind hanging out by the pool and lemonade stand while awaiting a table but I just want to know if it's the kind of place (think B.H. Polo Lounge) where there's a fat chance you'll get a table w/o prior res?

                            - Same question applies for Citron at The Viceroy!

                            - Anyone know how far in advance The Purple Palm opens their calendar for booking?

                            - Same question for Le Vaullauris!

                            I'll be travelling through Japan from October-December and don't want to forget to make reservations, so the sooner the better! If anyone knows when I could book through OpenTable, it'd be a real help!

                            - Lastly, are reservations needed for Lord Fletcher's?

                            Annnnd... moving away from Old P.S. dining institutions for a moment, what's the absolute best authentic Mexican in the area that's far removed from anything found in NorCal?

                            Thanks fellas!