Closin’ Time, Ugly Lights – Mel’s Diner

mel's diner, west hollywood, ca

Mel’s Drive In
8585 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069

When the clock strikes 3 am, after two hours of swilling nothing but straight sake and Citron/sodas, followed by four hours of bounce-shimmy at a giant Ball, what do you do? Eat at Mel’s Diner to sober up, Cinderella.

But not when you’re *cough* thirty *cough* something. In the club where it’s dark, you might be Forever 21, but at closin’ time, Mel’s fluorescent and neon lights shine brighter than the ugly lights. Trust me, up there on Sunset Boulevard, everyone’s inspected, and since that half-inch of movie studio makeup has now faded, your true, pale gray colors are exposed. You’ll look just like the sorry, so-long-past-her-prime club girl, who thinks it’s still okay to wear a mini skirt and knee-high stiletto boots.

I swear, that’s not me. But, uh, I saw some of them at Mel’s the other night. ;)

Way back in the day (but let’s not think about how waaay back that is), Mel’s was less a place to sober up with a greasy diner food and more a place to continue the crawl. For what other reason would there be valet parking at a diner to park shiny Benzes and Bimmers that were “gifts” from Daddy? Why else would there be a bouncer at the door, outfitted in all black a la Matrix? And how many times does a gaggle of giggling girls have to prance down one aisle to “go to the bathroom,” re-apply lipgloss, then shimmy and shake their way back up the other aisle? Only enough times to score a “Hey, wanna sit down?” by Abercrombie and Fitch in the third booth. I saw it. I felt like I was watching Animal Planet – an amazingly choreographed combination of Best in Show and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom (the Baboon Troop mating episode).

In LA, 24 hour options are limited, so places like Mel’s can get away with mediocrity when it comes to the kitchen. The girls order, but god forbid they actually eat something and bulge like a mini muffin-top over their ultra low-rise jeans. And the guys? Well, if they’ve donned their beer goggles, then they most certainly have their beer…bellies, as well. Burgers, fries, onion rings, maybe a shake. I stick with simple chicken noodle soup, about as close as I’ll get to ggori gom-tahng at 3 am without driving in the other direction to K-town.

I am still in a state of mild wonderment. Baboon Troop. LOL!

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  • djjewelz

    I’m more of a BCD tofu house kind of guy after long nights at Spundae…

  • sarah


    but i live on the westside…i am guessing you live east?

    if k-town were on my way home, trust me, i’d be at either HODORI or JINJU GOMTANG for some fiery yook gae-jahng – my chaser of choice ;)

  • Anonymous

    Nice job with Prince :)

    But I will very respectfully say that you have absolutely NO BUSINESS going to Mel’s Diner. That place is crap. If you need 24 hours, why don’t you at least try Canter’s on Fairfax? And Pink’s is open late (but not 24 hours).

  • Kirk

    Sarah – If you think 24hr options are limited in LA, you should try San Diego – it’s mostly either Denny’s or Taco’s…..

  • sarah

    anonymous: yes, i have yet to try canter’s. but i have been to pink’s (first time just a few months ago) and, well, i didn’t LOVE pink’s. it was okay. and i hate waiting in lines, LOL!

    kirk: awww…denny’s isn’t all that bad. there was a time when all i ever ordered was moons over my hammy. it wasn’t that great, but i just loved saying it out loud to order it. :)

  • Rachael

    If you do go to Canters, wear a sweater, they keep it sub-zero at night to discourage loitering.

    Me, if Im on the Westside and need to sober up before I head home, its all about Titos…mmm…Titos..

    Toi is also pretty good if you are (ahem) over thirty (whereas Swingers, is not) and the pumpkin-eggplant dish rocks.

  • sarah


    tito’s is open 24 hours?!?! now that is good to know! i’ve been a benito’s fan for a while now…absolutely ridiculously horrible stuff, but it seems the worse it is, the better it tastes at 3 am. LOL!

  • hermz

    Tito’s is open late enough for some to visit on their way home… but not late enough for others. ;)

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