John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy was born in late May, and as such we would have been celebrating his birthday this month. He would have been 92, which is a weird way of thinking about a man that died so young. You know what’s not a weird way of thinking about JFK? Having a birthday party.
Kennedy had the kind of parties that would leave those spoiled teenagers on MTV hanging their heads in outclassed shame. Bottom line, I’ve never seen Marilyn Monroe on My Super Sweet 16, and I have every season on DVD.
How would the late president have spent his birthday in Los Angeles? He was the youngest ever elected to the presidency, so does that lend itself to Chuck E. Cheese’s or Disneyland? He also liked a good flexing of military might, so he may have considered one of those paintball places. There really are a lot of choices.
But of course: a bar! Kennedy used to hang with some of Hollywood’s biggest names, and he did it in some of the best bars in the area. That’s where he’d be celebrating.
Here are a few likely candidates (well, two likely and one that I like):
1657 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Chez Jay provides famous peanuts, tasty cocktails and good, affordable food (most notably, steak and seafood). It is walking distance from the Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade. It is a noted celebrity favorite and has actually been graced by Kennedy (rumor has it he was in the company of one birthday-wishing Hollywood scarlet). Chez Jay was a dive before dives were cool (before my time), and unlike the world outside it, “nothing much changes at Chez Jay.”
Howl at the Moon
1000 Universal Studios Blvd
Universal City, CA 91608
Of course when Kennedy was knocking back warm liquor and one-liners he didn’t have access to such birthday hotspots as Howl at the Moon in Universal CityWalk. It’s too bad. They have a 3-for-1 drink special, people! And dueling pianos! And karaoke! And they encourage crude behavior. Also, they will sit on your lap and shove sugar-filled cocktails down your throat. Kennedy would have loved that.
Redwood House Bar and Grill
316 W 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Back in the day the Redwood House 2nd Street Saloon was a popular hangout for news makers and newspaper writers. It is said that both Nixon and Kennedy have spent time in the lounge — not together, but it is nice to know that they could agree on something. The original Redwood House 2nd Street Saloon was closed, but the newer version retains the feel and popularity of its predecessor, where feel and popularity equal newspaper writers and drinking. Now with a pirate theme!
If you find yourself in one of these fine establishments on May 29, drink one for the birthday president (not if you’re driving!) and tell them Whit sent you — they’ll have no idea who you’re talking about.
Whit Honea was once elected president of his high school ski club. He blogs at Honea Express.