In the Town of Wannabes and Has-Beens, Everyone’s an A-Lister at Café Was

Text Natalie Shirinian & Michelle Peerali

A rare and chic dining experience has arrived in the town notorious for once-hot-and-now-nots. Ivan Kane, the man behind the burlesque hot spot, Forty Deuce, in LA and Las Vegas, has gone in a completely new direction. Café Was, in its prime location in Hollywood on Vine, is a restaurant and piano bar where diners can walk in and feel like they stepped into a tucked away bistro in the French quarter of New Orleans.

Alluring in design, yet not your average trendy “seen and be seen” hot spot in LA, this bistro surprises guests with little nooks and crannies such as hidden lounges with red velvet curtains, bohemian candle displays, lavish furniture, and a private mezzanine above serving that once tabooed choice, absinthe, on its bar menu.  The most remarkable discoveries are “the staircase to nowhere,” literally spiraling to oblivion, and a revolving 1924 Mason and Hamlin grand piano located in the center of the restaurant. Every seat in the house is a good one, with resident musicians and surprise guests performing classic hits of every musical genre.

“I am always compelled to experiment and push the limits of my imagination for visual references,” says Kane.  “With Café Was, the first bite taken will be with the eye. This restaurant is at the forefront of a new type of dining experience.” Executive Chef, Alex Reznik, takes great pride in serving a non-pretentious, fresh and light twist on French fare.

With the current economy’s downfall, Kane extends his hand with a new service to accommodate guests on a budget. His version of bottle service takes new bohemian form with “flask service,” in which guests can choose from well-known spirits like Bacardi, Cuervo, Dewar’s, Jack Daniels and Tanqueray. They arrive in signature Café Was brown paper bags, alongside mixers in half carafes. Glasses are optional for those willing to partake in a lush manner. With the service ranging from $58.00 to $72.00, there’s no denying this affordable “luxury.” 1521 North Vine Street, Hollywood,