The 1996 film Swingers featured a brief cameo appearance by L.A.s own Swingers diner, and although Vince Vaughns infamous catchphrase may not have been a reference to the restaurant, "money" is still the best way to describe it.
Swingers, located in West Hollywood at the remodeled Beverly Laurel Motor Hotel, is a popular haunt for scenesters, celebrities and even a few normal folk in search of comfort food for late-night munchies or post late-night hangover munchies and a laid-back hangout.
Swingers screams style, its theme being an eclectic mix of retro culture. Sean Macpherson, mastermind of Bar Marmont and El Carmen, transformed the formerly lackluster coffee shop into a gleaming (if dimly lit) amalgam of the rockabilly 50s, swinging 60s and a slice of kitschy 80s (note the picture of Mr. T on your menu). Crimson tartan booths, Andy Warhol-print wallpaper (his technicolor cows, to be exact), and the ubiquitous red, white and blue official Swingers colors embellish the quirky diner. Also, in the tradition of all quality diners, Swingers has a classic jukebox with well-selected records, ranging from Prince to the Postal Service.
Patrons tend to be on the younger side, and the clientele are just as hip as the decor. Rumored celebrity sightings include Vincent Gallo, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kelly Osbourne and Patrick Fugit, but the un-famous are just as fun to people watch from the mohawked guy in the booth next to you to the bohemian at the bar.
The amiable wait staff blends right in with the cool patrons. You wont be able to find a waitress who isnt in a short skirt, fishnets and knee-high boots, and youll be equally hard-pressed to find a waiter without tattoos and piercings.
Regulars are just as likely to schlep to Swingers after a long night of concerts or clubbing as they are to venture out for its (reasonably priced and surprisingly awesome) grub alone. Swingers boasts a menu of diner favorites (classic mac & cheese, tuna melts and meatloaf) along with the trendier and more sophisticated (tofu saute and ostrich burgers). But even the most expensive items on the menu wont break the bank of the average 20-something. Far from standard diner practice, Swingers offers many vegan dishes and is 100 percent organic.
Convenience is key at Swingers, and its always open from 6:30 a.m. to 4 a.m., though the biggest crowds come out in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morn. However, the regulars pile in for Sunday breakfast. (Yes, they serve breakfast all day, for the hipsters who like to sleep in late, too.) Theres also another location in Santa Monica (located at 802 Broadway) for any Westsiders who need a quick Swingers fix.
Pretty money, all in all.
For more information, visit www.swingersdiner.com.