established in 1941
Idle Hour was reintroduced to North Hollywood as a throwback to the dawning of L.A’s car culture and the Programmatic architecture that flourished in response. The building achieved landmark status as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #977 in 2010 due to the work of Chris Nichols, a writer for Los Angeles magazine.
Programmatic architecture bloomed alongside the automobile in the early 1940s as California’s residents and visitors began driving down the boulevards instead of walking. Business owners, recognizing a hasty need to attract the now quickly passing motorists, opted for instantly recognizable buildings to do the duty previously filled by window signage and adverts. Idle Hour resembled a whiskey barrel to lure thirsty workers on their “idle hour,” while other quick-serve locations formed in shapes of tea kettles, doughnuts, and wildly oversized objects to represent their operations. This style of architecture survives as a relic of Hollywood’s past, an unexpected yet instantly iconic result of the city’s historic car culture.
Another example of Programmatic architecture sits on the patio of Idle Hour, a testament to 1933 Group’s devotion to crafty preservation. The pipe-smoking bulldog, known as Bulldog Café from 1928 until the mid-1960s, is actually a reproduction of the original eatery rescued from L.A.’s world-renowned Petersen Museum. Whether sipping brews in the barrel or under the watchful eye of the friendly pooch, patrons are poised for a whimsical rendezvous with pals and Los Angeles nostalgia.