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Clifton's Pacific Seas, Los Angeles, CA (restaurant)

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Chub posted on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 3:49 PM

Name:Clifton's Pacific Seas
Street:618 S. Olive
City:Los Angeles

In the late 1920s, Clifford Clinton opened L.A.'s first cafeteria, The Cafeteria of the Golden Rule, on Olive St. He added another "Golden Rule" on Broadway which would later become the Clifton's Brookdale. In 1939, the Olive St. Golden Rule was remodeled into the Pacific Seas. It closed in 1960 and there is a parking lot on the site today.

Chub posted on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 3:55 PM

Dated 1940

Dated 1945

[ Edited by: Chub 2009-11-30 16:05 ]

Clifton's to return to tiki status? Even though it's a couple of blocks away from the South Seas outpost and decades later, according to la.eater.com, it might...

"Andrew Meiran (The Edison) is a busy man these days. Not only is he gearing up to open a branch of The Edison in New York, but Eater just got word that Meiran has purchased Clifton's Cafeteria on 7th and Broadway, a venue that has been around since 1931. Known for preserving historic locations and retaining original artifacts and décor as he did with The Edison, word on the street is that Meiran is planing to do such with the Clifton’s space and possibly convert it into a tiki concept with two separate bars in the upper part of the building. On the subject of this takeover, Meiran says, "We are excited about the prospect of being involved in the revitalization of Broadway and the one of the nation's most historic eating establishments. We hope to continue Clifton's incredible legacy as the cultural, social and architectural landmark in Los Angeles.” [EaterWire] — Yolanda Evans

As much as I love tiki, truly sad to see this Clifton's go. Unless they turn it into the Mai Kai west, I gotta give a thumbs down on this one.

Wow! You're right, that might be bad, but being that in such cases as the Broadway Clifton's one already constantly worries "How is it possible that such a time warp has survived this long?", this sounds better as closure and removal, and leaves room for hope.

If he could make Clifton's have just a portion of the incredible popularity enjoyed by the Edison, he will have succeeded. However, to add Tiki - that is so hopeful!

TikiG posted on Sun, Oct 17, 2010 2:38 PM

I got to dine at Clifton's yesterday and see the third level "before renovation".

Best of luck to the new visionary. Hopefully his tiki-idea remains true to the original Clifton's Pacific Seas Cafeteria vision...only the finest of pre-tiki grandeur and those beautiful neon palm trees, huh?

JOHN-O posted on Tue, Sep 6, 2011 3:30 PM

In anticipation of the upcoming "Tiki bar" on Clifton's 3rd floor, here's some vintage Clifton's eye candy for you. Because most of it is from the long-gone Clifton's Pacific Seas, I'll post it in this thread.

Mahalos to HB Tiki for the source of this content. :) It's his booklet...

John O,

Thanks for posting HB Tiki's brochure, what great collection of photos. That also helped me solve a mystery on a postcard that I have had for a long time.

Here is a photo from the brochure showing the lei and flower shop.

And here is my mystery postcard, the location now confirmed as Cliftons Pacific Seas.

There is no location ID on the back.



Swanky posted on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 6:26 AM

Bring back Mrs. Von! Great stuff. And seeing that kneeling Jesus, on the other side of town in the Holy Land tour with BigBro makes it a nice weird trip...

Yes, that Jesus now resides in my neighborhood, at the home of the original Lost Ark explorer! :)

Swanky, had I mentioned that the guy who did the faux stone work at Clifton's supposedly was the same artiste who did the Police Academy Cafeteria grounds?

Man, what an amazing booklet! Thanks HB, and John-O for all the work uploading it!


What this country needs is a good "completely balanced, nutritionally adequate five-cent meal"

Swanky posted on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 8:41 AM

BigBro, actaually, you did. And just last night I was wondering just how one makes those rocks and further, where on earth I could go to practice the craft before I put them in my back yard! My yard is missing a water feature. I want to go big!


On 2011-09-07 06:26, Swanky wrote:

Bring back Mrs. Von!...

Actually I think the Bigbro should hold court in the Tiki-Ti and offer up Tiki advice and settle Tiki issues on a weekly basis.

Kind of like how Lucy did in the 1960's...


Only if I get paid how I get paid for my Tiki help most of the time: in cocktails.

And while I am away in Europe, I will use Rasta-Jim as my medium: He will channel me and speak with a German accent.


Here are a couple of vintage Clifton's Pacific Seas postcards I have...

circa 1930s

circa 1940s


Nice cards Tom. Here are a few more from my collection showing the the Lagoon room that featured a great mural and a very early use of the hanging fish net floats.

Looking forward to the opening of the new Tiki bar at the Brookdale Clifton's.


Does anyone have an update to the new Tiki upgrade of Clifton's ?


Good question. Wrong Clifton's thread !!

Let's keep "Locating Tiki" organized. :)

UPDATE - here you go Chuckles...


[ Edited by: JOHN-O 2011-09-12 08:49 ]

Smack! "Hitting self in forehead" sound.


On 2011-09-06 16:59, Dustycajun wrote:
John O,

Thanks for posting HB Tiki's brochure, what great collection of photos. That also helped me solve a mystery on a postcard that I have had for a long time.

And here is my mystery postcard, the location now confirmed as Cliftons Pacific Seas.

And I just noticed this on a recent visit to the Brookdale location. That plaque in the left of your postcard, it's on display on the Brookdale's 3rd-floor...



On 2011-09-07 14:42, bigbrotiki wrote:
Only if I get paid how I get paid for my Tiki help most of the time: in cocktails.

And while I am away in Europe, I will use Rasta-Jim as my medium: He will channel me and speak with a German accent.

I'll be your Medium Large Sven! Love and RASpect!

Clifton's is now closed for remodeling.
However,their website includes a hint of the promise of a Tiki bar:

In addition, guests will encounter an entirely new world of wonder within the same walls. A historic soda fountain, specialty grocery, five distinct lounges and bars, a butcher shop and world class bakery-- along with several surprises-- will complement the existing Cafeteria in serving our diverse community.



Nice update.

Wrong Clifton's (thread). :)

Spotted this nice souvenir photo holder from both Clifton's.


While visiting my parents in Florida a few years ago, I found a pristine colored postcard of the outside of Clifton's "Pacific Seas." When I find these kinds of things I like to think I'm bringin' them on home, back to LA ;)

Wrong Clifton's, that's the Brookdale location.

The Clifton's Pacific Seas cafeteria was shown on "Things that Aren't There Anymore" on KCET this afternoon. Included a 3 to 4 minute story with an interview of Esther York, the Lei Shop lady.


Another postcard.

Found 4 postcards today, I only saw one posted on here...



If you like the Clifton's postcards, there are at least 40 or more out there, so happy hunting!

Here is a souvenir photo folder from the Pacific Seas and Brookdale I got a little while back.

No photo inside, but you can see the shots of both locations.

Back of the folder.

Now this is really amazing.

Obviously before food stamps.



Anyone heard any updates/timing on the "rebirth" of Clifton's Pacific Seas lately?

It's the Clifton's Brookdale (only) location that is undergoing refurbishment.
It's supposed to reopen later this year.


Interesting article about the owner of Clifton's Cafeteria and his mistress.



Thanks, TikiLongBeach. "The Pacific Seas, a Polynesian themed Tiki bar will open in honor of the original Clifton's Pacific Seas that originally stood on Olive Street." Sounds like a cool addition to the place they are refurbing. Don't know why I was thinking they were re-opening a whole new, separate restaurant.

I remember reading that article the other week. Somebody on here (maybe you?) had posted it. Pretty interesting.

When is Clifton's scheduled to reopen? I see a bunch of conflicting info online and there website isn't very helpful

The info I have (from the folks working on it) is
there will be a new cafeteria, Tiki Bar, shops & upscale restaurant
as part of the renovation, the funding of the project took a while to get in place
so actual work on the project just started a few months ago & it will take a year or more to finish.


A year or more?!? Yikes!!!

Oh well...

Actually, the most unsettling think about this new info is the word "upscale"... that sounds diametrically opposed to the entire spirit of Clifton's, and their humanitarian history of lending a helping hand to those in need.

I guess we'll have to wait and see!

New one today

Ralph talks about Clifton's Pacific Sea at 5:40

Things That Arent Here Anymore with Ralph Story (KCET - PBS)

kiara posted on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 10:47 PM

Exterior side view of Clifton's Pacific Seas.


Nice slide photo. I have seen all of the postcards but very few actual photos from Clifton's Pacific Seas, so I did a little web research.

Some color shots of the exterior.

And a few black and white shots.

Quite a sight.



ATP or anyone else who may have "connections"- have you heard any updates on how the renovations are progressing (if at all)? Been about 6 months since the last time we heard it'd be a year or more. Which means only 6 months or more. now, right! Er...probably not.

Mahalo for any tidbits anyone has.


Here's a Clifton's Pacific Seas sign specially commissioned and made for The Below Decks from the brilliant artist and carver, and friend to all things tiki, Lake Tiki!

All I have heard it's on schedule & alot of people are working on it
to get it done in time, I will see if anyone wants to volunteer more info.

Just to keep the record straight, the renovations are at the Brookdale location, not the Pacific Seas. So post over on that thread. It's not that confusing.

A cool postcard showing Danny Van Allen, the band leader at the Clifton's Pacific Seas.


Thanks Dusty, I should have clarified that too, I thought everyone was up on the same page.

Clifton's Pacific Seas and Clifton's Brookdale are 2 different locations. The Pacific Seas is long gone. The Brookdale location in downtown LA is what is being very slowly renovated.

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