After spending all day looking at the fashions of the future, you might just find yourself wanting to wind down with cocktails and dinner in an atmosphere redolent of the familiar—as in things that are tried-and-true, nostalgic, classic and never go out of style. In short, you need a shot of vintage glamour served up with a funky chaser.
From coast to coast, L.A. to New York, here are some hot spots to take in during the trade shows, because what’s business without a dash of pleasure? You can also visit these vintage clothing shops prized by locals and sought out by visitors and find something suitable to wear to dinner at one of these eateries that span the range from retro diner to sumptuous speakeasy.
3198 W. 7th St.
Every trip to L.A. should include a dash of Old Hollywood, and you can find it—with a surprisingly modern twist—at a bar and restaurant known by the regal name The Prince.
The spot is considered a must-visit for cinephiles, having been featured in a huge number of shows and films, including “Mad Men,” “New Girl” and “Chinatown,” which is rather amusing considering The Prince’s location in what is now known as Koreatown.
Situated on the ground floor of a Tudor Revival–style building from the Art Deco era, the famed restaurant opened in the 1940s under the name The Windsor and quickly became a hot spot for Hollywood’s movers and shakers. Film fans love daydreaming about what deals and gossip took place in the nostalgic red booths surrounded by glamorously garish red-and-gold wallpaper and oil paintings.
Everything under the sun is always changing, and sunny L.A. embodies this principle to the extreme. The Prince’s menu has been updated to reflect its neighborhood and for the past three decades has offered Korean cuisine. That means you can down some octopus tentacles with your martini at the horseshoe-shaped bar before moving on to kimchi and fried chicken in the dining area.
1800 N. Vermont Ave.
In mid-century America you were either hip or square. But fashion is a cycle, and by the ’80s Huey Lewis and the News told us it was hip to be square. Who even knows where we are now, which is all the more reason to just wear what you want and don’t take the name Squaresville literally. This renowned L.A. vintage shop can make you look hip or square, chic or rock ’n’ roll, glam or grunge, because the biggest factor is the attitude you bring to what you wear.
Some shops are strictly curated, but Squaresville is a leading buy-sell-trade emporium, which means the influx of new stuff is constant and you’re sharing in the style of your peers in the local fashion community. That said, Squaresville prizes the unusual and funky, which means you’ve probably figured out its name is an ironic one.
Like other hot spots in L.A., Squaresville is a favorite haunt of stylists and influencers and maintains an Instagram account loaded with looks that reflect L.A.’s eclectic approach to style and wide range of influences. The 20-year-old shop is located in Los Feliz, the neighborhood that drove the vintage scene in the ’90s, and will probably make you want to watch “Swingers” again.
The Golden Steer Steakhouse
308 W. Sahara Ave.
Some restaurants have an old-school vibe while others truly are old school, having graduated from the ups and downs of business to earn a spot in the hall of fame. These are the living legends of mid-century Americana, the places that keep the flame alive. And in Las Vegas one such flame is grilling a prime cut of beef at The Golden Steer Steakhouse, which was founded in 1958.
What began as a small restaurant and bar gradually absorbed the neighboring buildings and grew into a spacious spot capable of becoming the Vegas institution it is. Legends such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Muhammad Ali all enjoyed libations in the clubby, Victorian-themed bar before sitting down in the dining room to choose from rib eye, filet mignon, porterhouse or prime rib, all grilled to perfection.
While so many restaurants in the city cater to tourists, Golden Steer is prized by locals and respected for the staff, many of whom have worked here for decades. And kudos to Golden Steer for enforcing a dress code that bans flip-flops, shorts, tank tops and other items the Rat Pack would disapprove of. Now that’s old school.
Red Kat Vintage
1300 S. Main St., Suite 110
Back in the day, Las Vegas is where legendary but aging performers went to wind down their careers, and so it’s fitting that Sin City is a vast repository of vintage Americana. There are so many shops in Vegas you can easily make a day of it, and no excursion would be complete without a stop at Red Kat Vintage. This sprawling emporium gets top marks from locals and draws every retro aficionado come to town to roll the dice and try their luck at finding that great old signature piece that will take their style in a whole new direction.
In keeping with the city where it’s located, Red Kat is more glam than glamour, with a strong rock ’n’ roll vibe and plenty of naughtiness. But there’s also an ethical angle, believe it or not, of which the store is proud. “Every year tons of mass-produced goods go into landfills,” Red Kat proclaims. “By joining the vintage and reused fashion movement, you help break that trend. It keeps those items in use and removes you from the cycle of poorly made, short-lived clothing. Join us in making ethical choices with style.” Perhaps Vegas’s moniker “Sin City” doesn’t tell the whole story.
3330 Belt Line Road
You’ve probably heard how most restaurants fail within five years, but not The Diner, whose roadside sign bills it as “a classic forever,” and after 25 years in business it has a good head start on eternity. The vibe inside is pure retro Americana, complete with antique jukebox, chrome and red-vinyl seating, neon signs, ’50s memorabilia and the signature checkerboard floor, all of which can make you wonder why they ever went out of style as you dine on comfort food with a contemporary twist.
Back in the day classic diners would offer what was called a “blue plate special,” which was an affordable main course ordered as a single item, typically changing each day. The Diner’s blue plates include Southern fare such as Country Fried Catfish, Grilled Chicken Atomic, Meat Loaf (“just like mom made it”) and Ham Hawaiian. All come with freshly baked cornbread and veggies and can be washed down with The Diner’s signature sweet tea.
The Diner opens for breakfast at 6 a.m., and make sure you’re wide awake as you’ll have to choose between tempting classics such as Eggs Benedict, Country Fried Steak, French Toast a la Mode and the Napoleon Omelette.
The Diner is hugely popular, a testament to the quality cooking, and yet the prices will feel like they too are a blast from the past.
1915-1916 N. Haskell Ave.
Sometimes you go shopping for another dress to add to your closet and then see something so strangely odd that only the word “curio” does it justice and you end up coming home with a new centerpiece for your apartment instead. Dolly Python is just the place where that might happen as it’s the kind of treasure trove that is part vintage-clothing store and part antiques emporium.
Founded in 2005 and the winner of multiple awards for best vintage store, Dolly Python encompasses a sprawling 3,800 square feet where you’re as lucky to find a flirty ’50s dress as you are a dinosaur fossil—stylishly displayed in glass, of course.
Clothing is for both men and women, with a focus on real vintage from the ’40s through the ’80s along with vintage boots (this is Texas, after all). Jewelry is also a specialty, and there are cases and cases of vintage pieces as well as the lines Beth’s Addiction and Savage Bones and Stones and special pieces consigned by Lush Life Antiques spanning everything from Native American turquoise to shimmering Art Deco.
Over 30 dealers make up the antiques offerings, all with different specialties. Budget some time and prepare for visual overload of the most pleasant kind.
The Vortex Bar & Grill
438 Moreland Ave. NE
Visiting the vintage shop next door, you won’t be able to unsee the eatery next door, and so The Vortex is the most logical place to dine. It’s entrance looks like something out of an amusement park designed by Tim Burton, with a touch of psychedelic voodoo. Routinely voted to have the city’s best burgers, The Vortex was founded in 1992 by three siblings from Los Angeles who dreaded the thought of a day job and decided to make a wacky skull-shaped burger joint instead.
The Vortex is much more than that, however, boasting a huge selection of beers and specialty cocktails, not to mention “ridiculously indulgent bar food.” In fact, according to The Vortex, “basically everything we offer is bad for you. It’s the kind of place your momma warned you about.”
Appetizers include Disco Taters (tater tots topped with white sausage gravy, shredded cheese and crumbled bacon) and Muthacluckin’ Chicken Rolls (shredded chicken, cheese, onions and seasoning stuffed in a tortilla and deep fried), while signature burgers include Hell’s Fury (pepper jack cheese, Atomic Death Sauce, habanero relish and roasted jalapeño), which finds its foil in Holy Guacamole, the establishment’s ode to “burger divinity.”
The Vortex boasts of its close community ties, all the way down to the décor. Devoted fans are encouraged to donate quirky items in an effort to secure their place in “Vortex History” with a spot on the wall or a shelf.
428 Moreland Ave. NE
If you have a sister who’s a little psycho, this legendary Atlanta shop can commiserate. Founded in 1991 under this unforgettable name, Psycho Sisters’ motto touts cool clothes and cool people, and isn’t that the whole point of vintage shopping?
The expansive store includes sections for outrageous costumes, corsetry and other seductive items and used clothing divided by “masculine” and “feminine” rather than men and women.
Upstairs is where the store’s legacy really shines through, as the vintage wares are organized by decade, starting with flapper and passing through groovy sixties, disco seventies and big-hair rocker eighties. This has helped make Psycho Sisters an invaluable resource for stylists and costume designers, and its blasts-from-the-past have been featured in countless movies, music videos and fashion shoots. Regulars become virtual addicts and praise the store’s near-daily influx of new arrivals, not to mention the friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Psycho Sisters is located in the hip and eclectic neighborhood known as Little Five Points, and perhaps nothing endorses the store’s prominence more than the fact that it is open 364 days per year from 10 to 10. That, and its huge and popular $4 earring section.
1410 Ocean Drive
Any trip to Miami should include a dash of Cuba, a stylish vacation spot celebrated in many old Hollywood movies (“Blue Skies” with Bing Crosby, for one example) before the Caribbean island closed its doors to the world. Right before the revolution is considered Cuba’s great golden age of style, and it’s given a rousing tribute at Havana 1957, which boasts no less than five locations, including a flagship spot on Ocean Drive.
There’s much more to Havana 1957 than just mambo, mojitos and décor that takes you back to the days of glory and glamour. For starters, it’s open for breakfast, which means you can pay a visit before work as well as after. Menu highlights include modern twists on Cuban staples such as roast chicken, shredded beef and seafood, with traditional sides such as white rice, black beans and sweet plantains.
Rum is Cuba’s signature spirit, and Havana 1957 makes use of light and dark, flavored and not in its assortment of mojitos for every taste. Fans of mixology will also enjoy staples such as the Cuba libre, daiquiri and piña colada, while those who take their liquor neat can partake in the expansive selection of fine aged rums from around the world, including Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad and Panama. After that, get ready to mambo.
6562 Bird Road
If you’re puzzled by the name of this revered vintage shop, it’ll come to you when you see its neon logo, which is straight from a popular ’80s TV show. A relatively nondescript exterior hides the treasures inside: vintage clothing, accessories and memorabilia spanning the entire 20th century, with a special focus on flapper dresses for your next fun night out. Many locals consider it the best vintage store in the city and especially prize the huge selection of luxury handbags.
Founded nearly four decades ago, Miami Twice is prized for its fun vibe and energetic staff. And while many vintage shops force you to scour through rack after rack of items rejected by fashion history, Miami Twice is what you might call curated as everything is carefully selected by owners Mary Kyle Holle and Diane Kyle with a focus on design, quality and wearability. The combination of vintage and luxury resale also makes the shop unique.
Consider yourself forewarned, though, as a trip to Miami Twice is hardly in the same category as hitting a funky thrift store. Demand for luxury resale is high, and coveted items are priced competitively well into the thousands of dollars. But that’s why credit cards were invented.
132 Ninth Ave.
Yes, they really did make bootleg gin in bathtubs during Prohibition, and it probably tasted pretty much as you’d imagine. That’s not the case, of course, with Bathtub Gin, a speakeasy-inspired bar and eaterie in Chelsea that celebrates its name with an antique copper tub in the center of the establishment.
The mixology is done strictly behind the bar, however, and includes such signature drinks as the S’Mores Old-Fashioned, whose ingredients include bourbon, walnut bitters, graham crackers, vanilla and cacao, and Flippin’ Good, whose recipe calls for rum and rye liqueur, cognac, orange bitters, ginger, vanilla and quail egg.
Food includes such specialties as The Dirty Burger (made with mushroom-onion conserva and raclette) and, for snacking, Gin Candy Spiced Hazelnuts.
Entertainment includes speakeasy-era throwbacks such as burlesque, plus a disco night and DJs on weekends. The décor is dark and sexy with luxurious damask fabrics to put you in the proper mood for a dose of escapism. “Each evening,” the establishment boasts, “is a chance to immerse yourself in another era, when life felt just a little more glamorous and the night was always young.” Careful, you may not want to come back.
Fine and Dandy
445 W. 49th St.
Curated is an overused cliché these days, but it truly applies to Fine and Dandy, which makes for a charming excursion just off Midtown Manhattan and is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir for the dapper man in your life back home. It began in 2008 as an online shop of natty accessories and quickly built a social-media following thanks to the ceaseless flow of vintage mood-board material gathered by founders Matt Fox and Enrique Crame III. Four years later they found the perfect tiny spot for a shop and opened to a rave review in The New York Times.
Fine and Dandy is filled floor to ceiling with menswear memorabilia and dapper items such as ties, scarves, hats, pocket squares, watchstraps and key chains and rare retro items such as sock garters, spats and neckerchiefs.
Its Archives division was created in partnership with costume designers and consists of rare pieces for discriminating collectors. Never ones to rest on their laurels—and they’re savvy enough to actually know what that means—Fox and Crame launched Fine and Dandy Throwback in 2020 in the space next door, which offers vintage-styled designer pieces from the ’70s to today.