Rosita’s, since 1954.
Rosita’s, since 1954.
Despite a bit of unfortunate renovation (see below after our main pictures), the Courtesy Coffee Shop remains a time capsule that will make you feel you’re back in 1962 (when it originally opened).
We’d dreamed of getting there for a long time and were finally able to make a special trip to Blythe in order to check it out. (If this coffee shop were in Palm Springs, Los Angeles, or San Francisco it would probably be world-famous.)
The classical coffee shop out front is marvelous enough, but push open the tufted red door to go into the cocktail lounge — or “dining room” as they now prefer to call it — and you enter a wonderland. Apart from a couple of flat-screen TVs (which could easily be binned), there’s little to betray you’re in the 21st century.
A padded bar rail, knee padding, soft booths, martinis — the Courtesy Coffee Shop has it all. Good food, too. Our friendly bartender, A—-, had been working there for thirty years.
Until just a few years ago, the Courtesy Coffee Shop not only had several palm trees immediately in front of the building — now cut down — but also had palms growing through the roof. You can still see proof on Google Street View.
Apart from that there was ’60s “pop” wallpaper and original door handles for the bathrooms, a “Cocktail Lunge” sign, plus carpet and red tablecloths in the dining room. Unfortunately, the bathrooms have been newly tiled, and these other details have gone.
But, what’s management to do when idiotic Yelp reviewers ding classical architecture as “dated” and “dirty”? The owners deserve praise for keeping the business going and preserving it as well as they have.
Meantime, word is that the Courtesy Coffee Shop might be for sale again. If we could, we’d buy it!
With some more digging, I found this postcard image of what the Courtesy Coffee Shop looked like when it first opened. And below that, a picture of the wallpaper that was in the men’s room.
At the Alibi you can eat breakfast — even a classic Hangtown Fry — at the padded bar. The establishment was recently remodeled to add an extra room, but without spoiling the bar’s character.
This very special Mexican (or “Spanish,” as the vintage sign would have it) restaurant has been in Guadalupe since 1944, but had to close down for a few years due to seismic retrofitting and rewiring. Much to our pleasant surprise, it re-opened at the end of 2015.
The Quiroga family has lovingly maintained the original menu and pretty much everything else about the place, including the diner-style counter, the historic range, the napkin holders, and — best of all — “Pancho’s Hideaway” in back.
No doubt, La Simpatia will again be popular as a location for filming movies and TV commercials, as it has in the past. Here’s a scene from the 2001 movie Cowboy Up with Molly Ringwald and Kiefer Sutherland sitting at the counter.
More placeholder images of an incredible cocktail lounge that opened in 1962. (But we’ll visit there before long, for sure.)
The Sip ‘n’ Dip seems to have it all: padding galore, Tiki drinks, “Piano Pat,” and even mermaids. If this isn’t heaven, heaven can wait.
You can see Piano Pat play and watch the mermaids swim on the Sip ‘n’ Dip Facebook page.