STOP 1 : Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Passing under the arches of the Forever Cemetery instantly transports you to an underworld of beauty far removed from the Hollywood hustle and bustle of moments ago. The seemingly endless rows of fallen loved ones looks almost impossible to navigate. Eventually you find the honeypot, the Garden of Legends. Johnny Ramones statue catches your eye first before you see the new resident Chris Cornell right next to him. Walking down to the lake you’re greeted with the happiest statue of them all, Mama Irene. Rounding the lake is a serene walk complete with swans and other grave searchers. Almost opposite Johnny Ramones grandiose set up lays his bandmate Dee Dee, a more humble low key site adorned with fans drinks they shared with their icon. After you’ve soaked in your share of the dead make a B line out the back gate to enjoy a neighborhood local food legend.
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This legendary cemetery houses icons of the golden age of cinema and music. However, one of the most interesting story lines I read about has to do with the corrupt owners throughout the years. From Mobsters to Ponzi scheme failures the dead have been taken for a ride.
The rock icons of the cemetery are mainly living in the Garden of Legends. It's in the far East corner of the cemetery. You cant miss Johnny Ramone...Dee Dee however is opposite the lake of him. Have a wander, watch out for stepping on the graves. Other stand outs are Chris Cornell (right next to Johnny), Mama Irene (founder of Insomniac’s mother, next to Chris Cornell), Bianca Halstead from Betty Blowtorch (just past Dee Dee), and definitely check Toto, shes next to Mickey Rooney across the street from Chris Cornell.
The cemetery closes its gates at 5pm. Make sure you get in there before they close...you can stay in there afterwards and guards will let you out. I highly suggest leaving out the southeast gate if you are walking, this way it will be a short walk to stop 2 (Osteria La Buca).
STOP 2: Osteria La Buca
Entering Osteria La Buca you’re happily greeted by the hosts making you realize why you’ve driven by here so many times and never stopped. Posting up at the bar you soak in the comfortable atmosphere before delighting at the Italian menu presented by your friendly bartender. Ricotta appetizers, classic pizzas and homemade pastas adorn a treat list for the ages. After ordering you immediately become intertwined with the friendly vibes of the waitresses and feel like home. Just then your cacio pepe arrives smelling of that sweet cheesy delight you’ve been waiting for. Bite after bite the buzz increases around you as the neighborhood begins to stir for it’s night out. When you’ve had your last nibble, you’ll be ready to get a buzz of your own.
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This classic italian tavern is lead by core values making it a go to spot for anyone. Everything you touch is made with the utmost love and thoughtfulness. All the produce is made from their own farm, the pasta is all handmade, even the soap in the bathroom is sustainable
If you want the romantic vibe definitely request to sit upstairs near the fireplace.
If you’re deciding between the pasta or pizza…I would stick to the pastas. Just sayin.
STOP 3: Gold Diggers
Pulling up to this particular corner of Santa Monica Blvd. you see a Hollywood of old that’s still holding on. Confused if you’re in the right place you bravely walk into the newly revamped Gold Diggers. Once inside you’re relived to see it’s not peddling smut but also got the best vibes in town. Vinyl jams are played from behind the bar as musicians and industry folks alike post up drinking PBRs and hand crafted cocktails. Pull up a seat and chat up the barman about his daily grind before he makes you a delicious concoction. As you meld into a new Rock n Roll palace the stage becomes set for a band or DJ to take you into another realm. Time to rock the night away…
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Drenching in uncorroborated history this old bikini bar has been revitalized into a new haven for musicians and fans alike by the co-owner of Short Stop and La Cita.
Apparently Guns n’ Roses had a practice room here during their previous project Hollywood Rose and Ed Wood's production studio was in the back, soon to be a recording studio.
They've got a great cocktail menu, I highly suggest the Duke of Earl. If you make it for happy hour its Monday-Friday 5-8pm, $3 PBR cans, $5 well cocktails/bloodys.
The venue generally starts getting busy around 9pm on weekend nights. Although it shouldn’t be an issue on this date keep it in mind.