Long-Gone Celebrity Haunt Villa Nova Is Hiding in Plain Sight
January 29, 2015 - accent chair
Villa Nova isn’t indeed gone. Well, not really.
The space itself is still there. There’s a appearance roof, a little-used second floor, a parking lot usually off to a right. Inside, lots of sum remain, and some even bear a strange Villa Nova name.
In lots of ways, a name is usually about a usually thing that’s changed. Since 1972, Villa Nova has been a Rainbow Bar Grill, a Sunset Strip idol all a own. It’s still there now, tucked between The Roxy and that boxy Bank of America on a dilemma of Wetherly Drive. In a early 80’s, big-haired rockers flocked in droves to a Rainbow, looking to massage leather jackets together in hopes of creation a bit of record tag sorcery happen. Lemmy from Motörhead apparently has a designated chair in a back, and John Belushi ate his final dish there before creation it behind to a Chateau Marmont.
John Belushi ate his final dish there before creation it behind to a Chateau Marmont
In 1935, though, there was Villa Nova, a elementary Italian grill started by Allen Dale and his mother Charlotte. Dale was innate Allen DiLisio, and had enjoyed a well-worn career during a wordless film era, before talkies became renouned and DiLisio couldn’t seem to shake his accent for a china screen. Allegedly regulating some seed income from longtime crony and wordless film star Charlie Chaplin, DiLisio initial put down Villa Nova’s roots on Vine, closer to a heart of Hollywood’s action. After a few moves to circuitously spaces, a Dale’s staid on their longtime Sunset Strip home in a 1940’s.
Very quickly, a Dales began creation a place their own. “Villa Nova had a nautical thesis during a time,” says longtime L.A. archivist and owners of a popular Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page Alison Martino. There were other touches, too. “People don’t realize, though even currently when we travel into a Rainbow, if we demeanour adult right during a entrance, there’s a skylight that still says Villa Nova on it.” Other touches sojourn as well, like a second building picture in what was once a restaurant’s private behind room. It reads Villa Up, a name of a semi-hidden bar that Allen and Charlotte Dale ran during a 1940’s and 50’s.
Because of a Dale’s contacts inside a party universe and a hidden-in-plain steer inlet of a artless small Sunset Strip building, Villa Nova emerged as a renouned end for stars looking to tell after a day on a soundstage. Bing Crosby, John Wayne and Henry Fonda were regulars. Judy Garland used to come in after late night gigs and serenade a bar. Years later, in 1945, Vincent Minelli would introduce to Garland during one of a tables.
“Don Knotts used to come in with a many pleasing women that Charlotte had ever seen,” says Martino, who interviewed a nonagenarian final year for Vintage Los Angeles. “Every night, a new starlet. Just since he was so funny.” Decades later, during a Rainbow Bar Grill era, Don’s chair (table 11) would pass down to The Who drummer/legendary partier Keith Moon.
Marilyn showed adult with Mickey Rooney though left with Joe DiMaggio
Even a gangsters had their heyday during Villa Nova. Inside Villa Up, that second building speakeasy-style celebration room, Mickey Cohen and Bugsy Siegel would play cards while a LAPD had cooking downstairs. True to his word as an owners who kept still and upheld his regulars, Allen Dale never pronounced a word.
But Villa Nova’s many famous claim? It’s where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio met for a initial time. “Marilyn showed adult with Mickey Rooney,” Charlotte told Martino final year, “but left with Joe DiMaggio. we theory she favourite a approach he looked. Well, as we can imagine, Rooney was furious.”
Eventually, as a Dales aged out of a grill business, a awaiting of running Villa Nova perpetually on a Sunset Strip became too much. In 1968, Villa Nova changed down to Newport Beach to improved fit a couples’ lifestyle, holding many of a restaurant’s china shade heirlooms with them (that Newport Beach plcae would stoop to glow in 1995).
Still, a stories remain, as does many of a strange detailing of a place. A few videos constraint a extraneous of a aging Villa Nova in a mid-sixties, and there’s during slightest one menu still in dissemination from 1946. And while there’s not many left of a nautical thesis creatively commissioned by Allen Dale, a stained potion windows and that second building picture are alive and well. Of course, so is Charlotte Dale, whose stories are still being collected by Alison Martino of Vintage Los Angeles, with a hopes of ensuring Villa Nova’s destiny is brighter than a scarcely lost past.