Forget Disneyland, go straight to Walt Disney’s source of inspiration at Atwater’s Tam O’Shanter.
Driving along Los Feliz Boulevard in Atwater, you may be inclined to do a double-take as you come across the swayback roof and crooked structure of the Tam O’Shanter. And that’s exactly what the owner’s intentions were when it went up a century ago.
Atwater is two square miles nestled between Glendale, Los Feliz, and Eagle Rock where you’ll find anything from top-tier eateries and trendy boutiques to quirky dive bars. However, in spite of the ever-changing scene it finds itself in, “the Tam” hasn’t been touched since its charred timbered doors swung open in 1922. It’s L.A.’s oldest restaurant with the very same management and location. After a few rebrands over the years, it eventually returned to the Robert Burns poem it was originally named after.
While Atwater is now a thriving hub of discerning business owners, it didn’t have all that much going on in the 20s. To draw attention to passersby, owners Lawrence Frank and his brother-in-law Walter Van de Kamp decided they need to do give drivers a reason to slam on breaks. Moving to something more concrete than a flickering neon road sign, the founders called upon Hollywood set designer Henry Oliver to make the property stand out. The result was a stunning example of storybook architecture that borrows from medieval times.
Once you step inside you’ll be transported to another century (and country) with Scottish medieval weapons, crests, kilts, wrought-iron chandeliers, tartans, and Coat of Arms filling every in of its interiors.
Throw back a proper pint of Scottish Ale or enjoy good times with your mates with a large collection of rare, hand-picked whiskeys from the illuminated Great Wall O’ Scotch. To accompany the house libations, you’ll be able to feast on traditional British food like Toad In The Hole or fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. Although, you’ll also find modern classics like fried chicken with sweet waffles on the menu.
Amongst its high-profile patrons was Walt Disney and his team of Imagineers. In some ways, the Tam O’Shanter was a taste of Disneyland before there was a Disneyland. There’s a plaque to prove it and you can even ask to be seated at the “Disney table” where you can see “sketches” left behind by the creatives on the tabletops.
Or, you could head out to the patio where Walt Disney’sloved to spend hours drafting ideas on napkins.
Location: 2980 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039, United StatesFind out more here.