That's Entertainment!

That's Entertainment!

Few communities compare with Greater Pasadena when it comes to theater, live music, nightclubs, film and radio

By Justin Chapman 10/23/2013

Like it? Tweet it! SHARE IT!

Pasadena has long been a little sister to Hollywood, growing in its own right but also in the shadow of the world’s entertainment capital. Far enough away to enjoy some respite from the spotlight but close enough to bask in Hollywood’s glow, Pasadena has served as an ideal location for celebrities, movie stars and entertainers to work, live, play and recover for nearly a century.

It hasn’t been a one-way street, either. Indeed, Hollywood and Pasadena have influenced each other. Just look at the Pasadena Playhouse, which produced some of the greatest actors of a generation in Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman, as well as a slew of others. Just about every great comedian has performed at the legendary Ice House Comedy Club. And several celebrities call themselves Pasadena residents — from John C. Reilly to Sally Field and Tim Roth. Who can forget Kevin Costner’s former restaurant, Twin Palms?

The city of Pasadena itself, the Paris of the Pacific, as it is known in certain circles, has served as the location for countless films, television shows and commercials over the years, going all the way back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. The old Busch Gardens, which no longer exists as it once did, has appeared in several films, including 1931’s “Frankenstein” and 1938’s “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” where Errol Flynn as Robin Hood was arrested during an archery tournament.

Parts of the classics “Gone With the Wind” and “Citizen Kane” were also filmed in Pasadena, including the site of the infamous Xanadu, which was inspired by Hearst Castle in San Simeon. And Bruce Wayne’s Manor in the 1966 Adam West “Batman” movie and television show is located on San Rafael Avenue.

Today, the city has just about everything you can think of in the way of entertainment; from massive music concerts and flowery parades (silly and serious) to nightlife that’s second to none. Sports, music, art and all things fun are just a day in the life of this cultured burg.
Of course, once you’ve partied too hard, you can always join a long list of celebrities for a rehabilitation stint at Impact or a number of other rehab centers.

So kick back and listen to relaxing live jazz every night of the week at redwhite+bluezz, enjoy a riveting theatrical performance at the Pasadena Playhouse, shoot some pool at Jake’s Burgers and Billiards, dance the night away at Ix Tapa, or see the stars in action at ArcLight Cinemas while sipping a cocktail. If you’re bored in this town, you’re just not paying attention.

BEST BAR
Lucky Baldwin’s Pub
17 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
(626) 795-0652 | luckybaldwins.com
Lucky Baldwin’s Trappiste
1770 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 844-0447
Lucky Baldwin’s Delirium Café
21 Kersting Court, Sierra Madre
(626) 355-1440
This venerable Pasadena institution has been serving locals and tourists alike for nearly 20 years. English owners David Farnworth and Peggy Simonian opened the first Baldwin’s in 1996 in the heart of Old Pasadena. With 63 global beers on tap, it specializes in Belgian beers and celebrates European drinking festivals throughout the year, including the Belgian Beer Festival, IPA festivals and Octoberfest. Farnworth and Simonian eventually expanded Lucky Baldwin’s to East Pasadena and Sierra Madre.

Reader Recommended
Dog Haus Biergarten
93 E. Green St., Pasadena
(626) 683-0808 | doghausdogs.com

T. Boyle’s Tavern
37 N. Catalina Ave., Pasadena 
(626) 578-0957 | tboylestavern.com
 
BEST BARTENDER
Joyce Roque 
Dog Haus Biergarten
93 E. Green St., Pasadena
(626) 683-0808 | doghausdogs.com
Winning this year’s Best Bartender category is a nice sendoff to Joyce Roque, who left Dog Haus last week to attend nursing school, according to manager Raz Nahrouk. “We’re sad that she’s not here anymore, because we were hoping to capitalize on her Best Bartender win,” he joked. It’s no surprise to Nahrouk that she won, because “she’s got a great personality and understands what people want. She’s very friendly, has a great smile and treats everyone equally. That goes a long way for customers looking for a good time or to be appreciated.”

Reader Recommended
Mike Anderson
Plate 38
2361 E. Colorado Blvd.  Pasadena
(626) 793-7100 | plate38.com

Phil Wills
Dog Haus Biergarten
93 E. Green St., Pasadena
(626) 683-0808 | doghausdogs.com

BEST BEER SELECTION 
Yard House
330 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 
(626) 577-9273 | yardhouse.com
Draft beer reigns supreme at the Yard House: ales, lagers, hybrids, ciders, bottled, blends and floats. With more than 100 different beers from all over the world, it’s an understatement to say there’s something for everyone. After first opening in Long Beach in the early 1990s, the popular restaurant and bar quickly spread across the country. You can find the one in Pasadena at Paseo Colorado.

Reader Recommended
Congregation Ale House
300 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
(626) 578-0166 | congregationalehouse.com 

Lucky Baldwin’s Pub
17 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
(626) 795-0652 | luckybaldwins.com
Lucky Baldwin’s Trappiste
1770 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 844-0447
Lucky Baldwin’s Delirium Café
21 Kersting Court, Sierra Madre
(626) 355-1440

BEST COCKTAILS
1886 Bar at the Raymond 
The Raymond Restaurant
1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena
(626) 441-3136 | theraymond.com 
The Raymond Restaurant’s resident bar has won Best Cocktails as long as we can remember, and it probably didn’t help that the bar’s spring line of cocktails included bottled cocktail sodas. What makes 1886 so special is that it rolls out a new cocktail menu each season. It’s hard to beat a beverage maker that puts real craftsmanship into the process.

Reader Recommended
Blind Donkey
53 E. Union St., Pasadena
(626) 792-1833 | theblinddonkey.com

Trattoria Neapolis
336 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena
(626) 792-3000 | trattorianeapolis.com

Vertical Wine Bistro
70 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
(626) 795-3999 | verticalwinebistro.com

BEST COMEDY CLUB
Ice House
24 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena
(626) 577-1894 | icehousecomedy.com
Gelotologists say that laughter evolved between 2 and 4 million years ago, before the development of language, and was used to signal safety and facilitate group interaction. The Ice House has exemplified that spirit of social play and fun since 1960. It’s hard to name a major comedian who hasn’t performed at the legendary comedy club. The Ice House’s tradition of quality comedy at an affordable price is still going strong today.

BEST DIVE BAR
The Colorado Bar
2640 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 449-3485
Sometimes you just want to hide from the world in a dimly lit, no nonsense neighborhood bar with pool tables, darts and an old jukebox. The Colorado has come a long way since smoking was allowed indoors, but you can still count on it to deliver that dive vibe. It’s a great place for a relaxing rendezvous with a friend and a beer.

Reader Recommended
Freddie’s 35er Bar
12 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 356-9315 | 35erbar.com

Old Towne Pub
66 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena 
(626) 577-6583 | theoldtownepub.com

BEST GENTLEMAN’S CLUB
Knockout’s Gentleman’s Club
1580 Clark St., Arcadia 
(626) 303-3003 | knockoutsla.com
Knockout’s combines a topless strip club with a sports bar, complete with a late night menu, premiere bottle service and giant plasma televisions. Its Web site claims it is changing the Los Angeles strip club game. With two Best Gentleman’s Club wins in a row, they just may be right.

BEST HAPPY HOUR
Kabuki Japanese Restaurant
88 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 568-9310 | kabukirestaurants.com 
3539 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 351-8963 
Kabuki has tons of great deals during Happy Hour, with regular prices next to Happy Hour prices so you can see what you’re saving. Get a mug of Sapporo on tap for just $1.95, a glass of Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon for $3.50 or a serving of hot house sake for $1.95. Kabuki’s celebrated Happy Hour also includes great deals on appetizers, salads and their delicious sushi rolls.

Reader Recommended
Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine
641 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 356-4066 | roysrestaurant.com 

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
369 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 583-8122 | ruthchris.com 

BEST LIVE MUSIC/BAR/CLUB
redwhite+bluezz
37 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena
(626) 792-4441 | redwhitebluezz.com
This respected jazz club is now located at the historic Pasadena Playhouse after seven fun years in Old Pasadena. It now boasts a larger stage and a 40-seat bar area. That comes in handy with live jazz music every night. Can’t get enough jazz? Join redwhite+bluezz for their award-winning jazz brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Sunday.

Reader Recommended
Kings Row Gastropub
20 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 
(626) 793-3010 | kingsrowpub.com 

Old Towne Pub
66 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena
(626) 577-6583 | theoldtownepub.com

BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE
Levitt Pavilion 
85 E. Holly St., Pasadena
(626) 683-3230 | levittpavilionpasadena.org 
Ever since the Mortimer Levitt Foundation funded the transformation of the Memorial Park band shell in 2002, Pasadena has reveled in its free eclectic annual summer concert series. The venue saw its golden years in the 1930s and 40s, coinciding with the Golden Age of Old Hollywood, but was out of commission as a professional venue since the 1970s. This summer marked the Levitt Pavilion’s 11th anniversary season. 

Reader Recommended
The Rose Bowl
1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena
(626) 577-3100 | rosebowlstadium.com

Santa Anita Park
285 W. Huntington Drive, Arcadia
(626) 574-7223 | santaanita.com

BEST LIVE THEATER VENUE
Pasadena Playhouse
39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena
(626) 792-8672 | pasadenaplayhouse.org
Dubbed California’s State Theater in 1937, the Pasadena Playhouse has delighted audiences with world-class performances since 1924. Known for performing Shakespeare’s entire canon as well as experimental work, such as theater-in-the-round, the Playhouse produced such notable actors as Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Raymond Burr and Sally Struthers. It also premiered the works by playwrights such as Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill and Noel Coward.

Reader Recommended
A Noise Within
3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena 
(626) 356-3100 | anoisewithin.org 
Boston Court Performing Arts Center
70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena
(626) 683-6883 | bostoncourt.org

BEST LOCAL MUSICIAN
Victor Vener
California Philharmonic
1120 Huntington Dr., San Marino
(626) 300-8200 | calphil.org
As Maestro Victor Vener begins his 15th season as music director for California Philharmonic, it is clear to anyone who attends a performance that his knowledge and passion for classical music makes the genre instantly accessible and enjoyable to both first-timers and aficionado alike. His inspired concerts attract and captivate large audiences of all ages, cultures and personalities.


BEST MARGARITAS
Mijares Mexican Restaurant
145 Palmetto Drive, Pasadena 
(626) 792-2763 | mijaresrestaurant.com
1806 e. washington blvd., Pasadena 
(626) 794-6674 | mijaresrestaurant.com
“Inexpensive, generous proportions and good quality tequila” is what makes Mijares’ margaritas the best in Pasadena, wrote David G. Hallstrom Sr. of ArticleTime in 2005. And his assessment remains true today. Known for its authentic Mexican food and festive atmosphere, Mijares’ main draw continues to be its delicious and buzz-inducing margaritas.

Reader Recommended
Amigo’s
1076 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 577-1307

El Cholo Café
260 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 
(626) 795-5800 | elcholopasadena.com

El Portal
695 E. Green St., Pasadena
(626) 795-8553 | elportalrestaurant.com 


BEST MOVIE THEATER
ArcLight Cinemas
336 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 568-8888 | arclightcinemas.com
ArcLight has been transforming the cinema-going experience for years. Along with a café, bar and retail space inside the lobby, the theater features reserved seating and unique programming, including a mix of newly released blockbusters as well as specialty and retrospective films. ArcLight Pasadena also features 21-plus screenings, where moviegoers can sip on their favorite alcoholic drink as they enjoy the show.

Reader Recommended
iPic Theaters
42 Miller Alley, Pasadena
One Colorado
(626) 639-2260 | ipictheaters.com 

Laemmle Playhouse 7
673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 844-6500 | laemmle.com

BEST PLACE TO DANCE
Ix Tapa
119 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 304-1000 | cantinaixtapa.com
With a different theme every night — from salsa, merengue, bachata and cha cha on Tuesdays to Free Fun Fridays with resident disc jockey DJ Juice — there’s plenty to shake your booty to at Ix Tapa. Check out their special birthday deals and bottle service. If you’re trying to stretch your dollar but still have a good time, swing by for Filthy Broke Wednesdays for $3 beers and $5 shots.

Reader Recommended
Club 54
54 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 793-0608 | clubmenage.net

Live Mixx
115 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 793-6544 | livemixxlounge.com

BEST PLACE TO PLAY BILLIARDS
Jake’s of Pasadena
38 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 
(626) 568-1602 | jakespasadena.com
Tucked away beneath the bustling street life of Old Pasadena, where McCormick Alley meets Mills Place, you’ll find the underground sports bar and billiards club section of Jake’s. The popular downstairs hangout features a full bar, 12 flat screen televisions and 14 professional Gold Crown Billiards tables. The high energy vibe makes it a great place to meet friends, grab a beer and shoot some pool.

Reader Recommended
Q’s Billiard Club
99 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 
(626) 405-9777 | barneysbeanery.com

BEST PUB GRUB
Kings Row Gastropub
20 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 
(626) 793-3010 | kingsrowpub.com
Old Pasadena’s first gastropub offers the best pub nosh in town, from Highland Park Pulled Pork to Tandoori Chicken Pizza to Proper Fish N’ Chips. Nearly all their food comes right from California, adding to their mission of being an integral part of the local community. Don’t miss their monthly pig roasts this fall!

Reader Recommended
Congregation Ale House
300 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
(626) 578-0166 | congregationalehouse.com

Lucky Baldwin’s Pub
17 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
(626) 795-0652 | luckybaldwins.com
Lucky Baldwins Trappiste
1770 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 844-0447 
Lucky Baldwins Delirium Café
17 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena 
(626) 795-0652 

BEST RADIO STATION
89.3 KPCC
474 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
(626) 583-5100 | scpr.org
KPCC has engaged regional audiences for decades with insightful news discussions, cultural reflections, enlightening interviews and much more. By putting events into context, exploring daily issues in our society and engaging in an ongoing dialogue with its audience, KPCC leaves its listeners better informed and intellectually stimulated on a level unmatched by anyone else.

Reader Recommended
KROQ
5901 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles
(323) 930-1067 | kroq.radio.com

BEST SPORTS BAR
Barney’s Beanery
99 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
(626) 405-9777 | barneysbeanery.com
This popular Old Pasadena watering hole has plenty to keep you occupied while you drink: pool tables, arcade games, two floors, two outdoor patio areas, two full bars, a restaurant and more. But the big draw here is its countless big screen televisions playing sports games 24/7. So if you’re a sports fan, this is the place to be on game day.

Reader Recommended
Slater’s 50/50
61 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
(626) 765-9700 | slaters5050.com

T. Boyle’s Tavern
37 N. Catalina Ave., Pasadena
(626) 578-0957 | tboylestavern.com

BEST THEATER PRODUCTION
“The Tavern Keeper’s 
Daughter”
Pasadena Musical Theater Program
3579 E. Foothill Blvd., #464, Pasadena
(323) 250-3150 | pasadenamusicaltheater.org
This original musical by Brett Ryback was produced in July by the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program, a community funded venture. The play is a tale of self-discovery and romance following World War II. A young Polish Marine coming home to Milwaukee from the war finds himself arranged to marry the tavern keeper’s daughter from the bar across the street. Wanting more, he flees to New York City, where he meets a young woman trying to make her way in the big city. Almost every performance was sold out this summer.

Reader Recommended
“Legally Blonde”
Theatre 360
75 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena
(626) 577-5922 | theatre360.org

“One Night with Janis Joplin”
Pasadena Playhouse
39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena
(626) 356-7529 | pasadenaplayhouse.org 

BEST WEDDING/BANQUET HALL
Noor
260 E. Colorado Blvd., A209, Pasadena
(626) 793-4518 | noorevents.com
Noor has won this category three years in a row, and for good reason. Situated in historic downtown Pasadena, it features two beautiful ballrooms and two outdoor areas. The art nouveau-inspired Sofia Ballroom has great views of the city, with a backdrop of iconic City Hall. The art deco Ella Ballroom recalls the elegance and glamour of Old Hollywood. It is the perfect spot for any classy event.

Reader Recommended
The Langham Huntington
1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena
(626) 568-3900 | pasadena.langhamhotels.com

Castle Green
99 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena 
(626) 793-0359 | castlegreen.com

BEST WINE SELECTION
Vertical Wine Bistro
70 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
(626) 795-3999 | verticalwinebistro.com
Along with a full service bar, this Old Pasadena upstairs lounge’s obvious specialty is wine. It offers more than 300 different wines from around the world, with 70 of those available by the glass. Couple that with a wide selection of cheeses, entrées and a relaxing lounge area, that makes Vertical Wine Bistro the perfect choice for a romantic first date or a memorable rendezvous with wine savvy friends.

Reader Recommended
Bodega Wine Bar
260 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 
(626) 793-4300 | bodegawinebar.com 

Everson Royce
155 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena
(626) 765-9334 | eversonroyce.com  n

DIGG | del.icio.us | REDDIT

Like it? Tweet it!

Other Stories by Justin Chapman

Related Articles

Post A Comment

Requires free registration.

(Forgotten your password?")