R.I.P. Off Vine Restaurant—and My Stupid Sharon Stone Story
There have been numerous closures of Los Angeles restaurants since the start of the pandemic—many of them beloved institutions.
I get that nothing lasts forever...but I was saddened to hear of the abrupt closing (this weekend) of Off Vine.
When I lived in Hancock Park in the 2000s, my favorite “date night” was dinner at Off Vine and a movie at the Arclight.
This was a lovely, upscale restaurant built into (and out of) an old craftsman house. It was mere steps from the bustling, noisy and unappealing Vine Street, but you step through the hedge and suddenly you’re in this absolutely charming old house with great food and a soothing ambiance.
They had a fire at some point in the mid-’00s, and unfortunately, after they came back, some of the ambiance was lost. They had to rebuild to code standards, and the “new” old house wasn’t as creaky and intimate as it had been.
My life is so different now, with kids in the suburbs—and I don’t miss the old times of the Hollywood nightlife.
But I always thought maybe I’d bring the family to Off Vine...and now, that will never happen.
Oh, I have a minor celebrity story! The celebrity is major, but the story is minor.
I was there on my birthday, I’m pretty sure summer 2005, and I had had a glass of wine or two (I’m a lightweight) and was feeling like the world is my oyster.
At the next table from us: Sharon Stone, with a couple of men. She was talking to them about old film noir classics.
She was trying to explain what one of the old films was, and like a total dickhead, I just butted into their conversation: “You mean, The Big Heat?”
And she looks at me like an ice-cold Catherine Tramell: “No. White Heat. It’s a good movie. You should watch it.”
I was like, “Sorry!” and, from then on, kept my nose out of their business. I felt very stupid, as I should have.
The rest of the story is that when I went into the house to use the bathroom, the wait staff, to whom I had confessed my embarrassment, said, “Please be as rude to her as you want.”
I was like, “What? Why?”
They said she was a pain in the ass: it was always too cold, or too hot, or the food was too this or too that.
So, there you go.
Farewell, Off Vine, and my apologies to Sharon Stone!