Coffee Dan’s at corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave, circa 1940s

Coffee Dan's at Hollywood and HighlandI wasn’t even around when this photo of Coffee Dan’s at the corner of Hollywood and Highland was taken (late 40s, maybe?) and yet somehow I long for the days when that Bank of America wasn’t a Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Coffee Dan’s wasn’t a McDonalds, the Hollywood Theater wasn’t a Guinness World Records Museum, and the Hotel Drake wasn’t some Scientology Building. That Coffee Dan’s was open 24 hours a day—I’d say the waitresses there sure saw some interesting characters.

Coffee Dan's menuA similar shot taken in the 1950s:

Color view of Hollywood Boulevard at night, 1950s

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4 Responses to Coffee Dan’s at corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave, circa 1940s

  1. Dan Everly says:

    There was a Coffee Dans on Hollywood in the late ’60’s. I used to go there off and on from 1969 to about 1972. Are there any pictures of that?

    • Hi Dan, and thanks for your question. My focus on LA/Hollywood history is centered on the years that the Garden of Allah Hotel on Sunset Blvd was open, which was 1927 to 1959. So I don’t go looking for photos after the early 60s. But I’m sure there must be photos of Coffee Dan’s from around that period to be found somewhere on the internet. It was a very popular chain so surely someone thought to take photos of it!

  2. Martin Pal says:

    >>> “I’d say the waitresses there sure saw some interesting characters. <<<

    Martin, the writer John Gilmore used to have a website, but it seems to be defunct. He had a lot of blog articles written on it. In one titled, Loose Nights, that I quoted from once on another site (NLA), he writes:

    "One afternoon that spring, I found myself talking with Montgomery Clift in East Hampton. Clift, I supposed, had been drinking since the previous day or earlier, but I reminded him that I'd met him in Coffee Dan's on Hollywood Boulevard years before. It'd been the middle of the night and he'd been sitting there with Burt Lancaster and James Jones, who was decked out in Indian jewelry, and all three were pretty pie-eyed. Clift was nipping from a flask and acting out the scene from From Here to Eternity in which he plays the reenlistment blues on a bugle."

    So, there's one example of what "those waitresses saw!"

    At another time a new acquaintance had told me that he used to work in the Bank of America back in the 50's next to the Coffee Dan's.

    (He said when the Dodgers baseball team came to town they were all set up with accounts at that bank branch to begin with. When I was reading a site about the Hollywood Theatre next to Coffee Dan's sometime later, a commenter posted that he worked at the theatre and that the Dodgers sometimes had group outings to see the movies there, too. Another blogger, Bruce Kimmel, wrote a reminiscence about walking around Hollywood Blvd. when he was 13. He says, "When I'd get to Vine, I'd cross over to the south side of the boulevard and walk back to Highland. That had many wonders, too, including the Iris Theater, Larry Edmunds bookshop, Bert Wheeler's House of Magic, the New View Theater, the Las Palmas newsstand, the Las Palmas Theater, Coffee Dan's – one of the greatest coffee shops in the history of LA – and the first place I ever had what has become completely trendy again – an iceberg lettuce wedge in Roquefort dressing – along with their amazing 'DODGER' burger.")

    My acquaintance mentioned that when he went to work at the bank in the mornings you could often see Montgomery Clift sobering up in Coffee Dan's from his doings the night before. He talked about one time when Clift was in the bank he gave him his phone number and wanted him to call about going out on a date! For several reasons, shyness and appendicitis being two of them, he never did call him. Though I suppose seeing someone like Clift always in a state of intoxication or the like, might also be a turn off. But interesting nevertheless!

  3. Mat says:

    I just found an empty matchbook from this restaurant as we were ripping out old cabinets during our remodel of a house built in 1929 in Windsor Hills. It is in very good condition.