Dine Like It's '59 - Page 10

12 California restaurants that savor dishing up the mid-century experience
Retro Dine
Retro Dine

9 I The Purple Room Restaurant & Stage

Palm Springs

Surprisingly enough, for the sybaritic paradise that it has become, the mid-century modern-bedecked town of Palm Springs doesn't have much in the way of nightlife. Maybe folks prefer sitting around the backyard pool.

But for the past three years it has had a revivified Purple Room, thanks to a pair of restaurateurs who brought the venue back to life—though not quite to its full degree of purple-ness. The club is located at Club Trinidad, a motel-timeshare resort with a period flair all its own.

The Purple Room, which opened in 1960, originally had deep purple walls, "creating that dark, blend-in-with-the-crowd look that made the place so attractive as a hangout for stars trying to escape the Hollywood glare, like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. in the 1960s," Jim Powers wrote for the magazine Desert Life.

Current owners Tony Marchese and Mark Van Laanen toned it down a bit, reserving purple as an accent color. But they do play up the Rat Pack connection, suggesting that the Purple Room is one of only two remaining locales in the desert where Dino and Frank actually did hang out.

Be that as it may, when there's a show on stage and the purple lights swirl through the room, all is purple enough. The food is good—rich, but good—rack of lamb braised in red wine, rib eye with Bourbon blue cheese sauce. But the dancing is better.

• 1900 East Palm Canyon Dr. purpleroompalmsprings.com