This photo is a bit of a mystery. Sardi’s Restaurant opened at 6315 Hollywood Blvd by the Montmartre’s Eddie Brandstatter in 1932. It was open until 1936, when it was destroyed by fire. Here we have a photo that we know was taken in 1942 because the Tracy/Hepburn picture, “Keeper of the Flame” was playing next door at the Admiral Theater. So I guess the façade just stayed like that until the place eventually reopened as Chi-Chi. With those WWII-era cars parked on the street and the Knickerbocker Hotel in the background, it’s a wonderful shot of life being lived in Hollywood in the 1940s.
Susan says: “Sardi’s Hollywood was open through the War years. It only closed for a short time after the fire in the mid 30s. The fire damaged areas were re-built and it continued to operate, I think, even with Eddie still running it until around ’38. But it never was the Hollywood high-life kind of place his place he had in the 20s was that I used to hear so much about. I don’t recall who bought it and operated it by the later 30s, but it still was a popular place to go, just not filled with stars however. It was often busy, and sometimes even closed for private parties. I went to a young teen birthday party there in ’39 and went there off/on throughout the War years. It was kind of popular during the War with soldiers and Navy as there was a USO center not too far away. I used to think some of the WWII military thought the Hollywood Sardi’s was ‘the’ Sardi’s they had heard about, which was of course in NYC.
The open door to our left of Sardi’s was the lounge that was kind of a hot spot for meeting up with folks to go do the town in the evening during the later 30s-middle 40s. It always had a lot of military in there during the War years and friends of mine, used to say the barkeeps were lenient on serving booze to minors. I was scared to death of getting in dutch with my mom, so I never tested those waters at the Sardi lounge!”