Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Entourage Guide to L.A.

The allure of HBO's hit series Entourage is that it offers an authoritative peek into the life of a handsome young movie star with Hollywood at his feet and his hometown buds along for the ride--after all, it is inspired by exec producer Mark Wahlberg's own Tinseltown experiences. To that end, the show shoots in actual L.A. locations as much as possible. "We've tried, since the beginning, to use the places that are current and hot, and that we actually go to in our real lives," says creator Doug Ellin. "We try to avoid sets at all costs...The first year was extremely difficult because no one knew who we were and we didn't really have any money. But the second year we started getting calls like, 'Please use us!'"

By Andre Chautard


1. FRED SEGAL 7661 Melrose Ave. The start of the first episode has the Entourage foursome--ascending young movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), his less-successful actor brother Johnny "Drama" (Kevin Dillon), loyal hanger-on Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Vince's childhood friend-turned-manager Eric (Kevin Connolly)--lunching at the ultra-hip cafe inside this quintessentially L.A. clothing mecca frequented by the fashionable likes of Scarlett Johansson and Cameron Diaz. "I personally eat there like twice a week," says Ellin. "I love the food there. It's a great L.A. lunch spot where you see lots of people, so I fought very hard for it when we started the pilot even though it was an expensive location for us."

2. KOI 730 N. La Cienega Blvd. This scene-y sushi place is the site of choice for Eric's verbal sparring with Vince's agent, Ari (Jeremy Piven) (see episodes 1, 9 and 22). So many hot young actresses (Lindsay Lohan, Mischa Barton, Paris Hilton among them) regularly pack the joint that exec producer Larry Charles dubs it "flesh and fish" on the season one DVD commentary. In fact, Amanda Peet drops by Eric's table in episode 9 saying she wants to do a movie with Vince.

3. URTH CAFFE 8565 Melrose Ave. This uber-trendy organic coffeehouse is where Jessica Alba runs into the guys in episode 2 and invites them to a party at her Malibu house. On another day, they might have run into other Young Hollywooders like Amanda Bynes, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel Bilson--or perhaps a producer or two. "That's a place [producer] Steve Levinson and I live for," says Ellin. "We go there all the time."

4. PREY 643 N. La Cienega Blvd. Connolly himself is a regular at this Moroccan-themed nightclub where, in episode 4, Vince makes out with a virginal pop singer (she tells him she wants him to be her first) and Ari ditches his wife to celebrate with the gang the $18.6 million opening weekend of Vince's movie Head On (costarring Jessica Alba).

5. CHATEAU MARMONT 8221 W. Sunset Blvd. Vince and indie director Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro) decide to make Queens Boulevard together after sharing a beer on the balcony of Walsh's penthouse suite in episode 7. This legendary hotel has hosted everyone from Greta Garbo to Jim Morrison to Britney Spears and Colin Farrell; one of Walsh's pals even remarks, "Howard Hughes used to stay in this room back in the day."

6. COFFEE BEAN & TEA LEAF 8793 Beverly Blvd. The guys meet up here with Ari (who's mistakenly waiting at the Starbucks across the street) in episode 7, but this celeb-frequented coffeehouse is most notable for becoming Ari's makeshift office after he's drummed out of the agency at the end of season 2. He meets with client Richard Schiff at one of the indoor tables; trusty assistant Lloyd offers up tokens for the restroom.

7. JERRY'S FAMOUS DELI 8701 Beverly Blvd. A regular hang for the Entourage quartet, who make room in their booth for Mandy Moore (who plays herself throughout the second half of season 2) in episode 19, even though Vince and Mandy are supposed to be avoiding PDAs after an item about their rekindled romance appears in Page Six. In real-life, you might run into Johnny Knoxville, Evangeline Lilly or Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake at this delicatessen decorated with theater posters and boasting a menu of over 600 items.

8. PACIFIC DESIGN CENTER 8687 Melrose Ave. Stars like Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Rock regularly stroll through the stylish design room showcases collected in this mammoth complex. In episode 12, Vince and the guys browse for furniture at Menzie International (Suite B-275) and Ari talks on his cell while walking through The Lounge@Astra restaurant downstairs.

9. NAKED 181 N. Martel Ave. Vince's publicist Shauna (Debi Mazar) helps him pick out a suit for his episode 3 Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance at this tucked-away boutique that features ultra-stylish (and costly) duds from mostly foreign designers.

10. PINK'S 709 N. La Brea Ave. Iconic L.A. hot dog stand which invariably has a line of patrons down the block. Queued up with the guys, Eric gets a call on his cell here from Ari here in episode 6. Nicole Kidman and Tom Hanks are among those who love the famed chili dogs; it's even said that Bruce Willis proposed to Demi Moore here.

11. REAL FOOD DAILY 414 N. La Cienega Blvd. Popular organic vegan restaurant--Alicia Silverstone and Tobey Maguire are fans--to which Vince's health-conscious fling Fiona drags him and his buds in episode 5, plus a predictably irritated Ari: "I'm on Atkins. I need protein...real protein, like man protein, from the flesh of slaughtered animals."

12. THE IVY 113 N. Robertson Blvd. Well-known Industry power-lunch spot and paparazzi hotbed where stars like Tom Cruise and Jessica Simpson go when they want their photos taken. In Entourage's first episode, Ari is briefly shown talking on his cell phone in front of the restaurant. "We didn't have permission for that," Ellin says. "Literally, Jeremy and I were in the back of a car. He jumped out and ran across the street. There were no permits. Cars were honking. And Jeremy almost got run over, actually."

13. TOAST 8221 W. 3rd St. Over a cup of coffee outside this cozy bakery/cafe where you might spot Nicky Hilton or Jared Leto, the guys discuss decamping for NYC to shoot Queens Boulevard in episode 8. It's also where they try to tell Vince that Mandy Moore is cheating on him with her ex-fiance in episode 21, but he won't hear it.

14. TABLE 8 7661 Melrose Ave. Vince and Eric have a blowout argument in this restaurant at the end of season 1 when Eric insists on full compensation for being Vince's manager. The eatery--discreetly tucked underneath a tattoo parlor on Melrose--counts funnyman Jamie Kennedy among its investors, and Jennifer Aniston, Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart among its patrons.

15. PANE E VINO 8265 Beverly Blvd. At this celeb-favored Italian trattoria where the guys have lunch on the garden patio in episode 13, Drama runs into his bud Anthony Anderson, who hooked him up with a role in Barbershop (left on the cutting-room floor, of course), and Turtle's "sure thing" blind date scurries off after getting a cross-patio glimpse of him (awww).

16. LUCQUES 8474 Melrose Ave. Eric and Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui), daughter of the owner of Ari's agency, Terrence (Malcolm McDowell), share a romantic dinner in episode 19 at this restaurant renowned for its French-Mediterranean cuisine.

17. THE LITTLE DOOR 8164 W. 3rd St. Lunching in the courtyard of this enchanting, Industry-frequented eatery, Sloan offers to help Eric get a job with her father in episode 22.

18. HAMBURGER HAMLET 9201 W. Sunset Blvd. In episode 21, Ari, locked in a power struggle with his boss Terrence, activates his emergency secession plan at the agency with two code words--"tsetse fly"--that signal a secret meeting is being held at this casual dining chain. Why here? "Because nobody who works in this business would ever be caught dead eating there," says Ari.

19. BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO 270 S. Robertson Blvd. In episode 21, Drama and Turtle tail Mandy Moore--who's possibly cheating on Vince--and her ex-fiance to this video store, where Drama bribes the clerk to find out that they rented the film Brian's Song--"the ultimate guy-cry movie," he notes.

20. FLOYD'S BARBERSHOP 7300 Melrose Ave. Funky, internet-wired salon where Turtle promotes Saigon's concert in episode 22 because, he says, he knows a shampoo girl there who knows Dr. Dre's stylist.

21. KIEHL'S 100 N. Robertson Blvd. Skin, hair and body care emporium frequented by celebs like Demi Moore and Eric McCormack where Turtle says he got word to Damon Dash about Saigon's upcoming performance.

22. ALMOR WINE AND SPIRITS 7855 W. Sunset Blvd. The boys drop by this elegant, well-stocked liquor outpost on the edge of the Sunset Strip to pick up a bottle on the way to Jessica Alba's bash in episode 2.

23. LA BREA BOXING ACADEMY 726 S. La Brea Ave. Several top fighters train at this cavernous gym hidden behind a strip mall in the Miracle Mile district. In episode 12, it's where Drama gets a beat-down in the ring from Chris Penn (who passed away earlier this year) after they argue over some money Drama thinks he's owed from years ago for painting Chris's house.

24. NEXT MOTORSPORTS 5877 Rodeo Rd. Stars like Nick Cannon, Pharrell Williams and Mya get their rides customized at this top-notch auto detailer where Turtle tracks down aspiring rapper Saigon in episode 20. Saigon's mom snaps at Turtle, "South of Jefferson, it's called RO-de-o."

25. CAFE-CLUB FAIS DO DO 5257 W. Adams Blvd. You can hear blues, salsa, funk, indie--pretty much any type of music at this eclectic New Orleans-style club and eatery where budding manager Turtle stages Saigon's showcase concert in the last episode of season 2.


26. VAN CLEEF & ARPELS 300 N. Rodeo Dr. Eric, resolved to tell girlfriend Kristen (Monica Keena) that he cheated on her, buys a $1,400 piece of "guilt jewelry" here in episode 10 to soften the blow.

27. CARTIER 370 N. Rodeo Dr. and

28. GUCCI 347 N. Rodeo Dr. Drama and Turtle are buying watches at Cartier when they spot Mandy Moore exiting Gucci across the street with her ex-fiance in episode 21; the guys try to non-conspicuously tail her in their yellow Hummer to see if she's cheating on Vince.

29. GIORGIO ARMANI BOUTIQUE 436 N. Rodeo Dr. The guys get suited up here for Ari's daughter's bat mitzvah in episode 18; Eric splurges--with his own money, not Vince's--on a $3,000 suit because he wants to look good for Sloan.

30. BARNEYS NEW YORK 9750 Wilshire Blvd. The boys stop by this chic, upscale department store in episode 11 to pick up expensive new designer threads for a party at the Playboy Mansion (remember Turtle's $1,200 PJs?).

31. THE PENINSULA BEVERLY HILLS 9882 Santa Monica Blvd. Luxurious five-star hotel where Eric books an expensive room for a romantic night with girlfriend Kristen after being away in New York for three months; she feigns food poisoning to hook up with another guy, he ends up in the room with a Perfect 10 model he meets at Jaime Pressly's beach house bash. (The establishing shot was filmed here, but the room interior was created on a soundstage.)

32. THE BEVERLY HILTON 9876 Wilshire Blvd. World-famous hotel that has hosted the Golden Globe Awards for more than 30 years running. In episode 18, Ari holds his daughter's bat mitzvah here, where Vince causes quite the commotion.

33. MASTRO'S STEAKHOUSE 246 N. Canon Dr. Opulent (and pricey) eatery favored by old-school Industry players. It's where Vince charms the initially hesitant, middle-aged producer into casting him in Queens Boulevard by discussing L.A.'s "weed drought" over beluga caviar in episode 5.

34. MULBERRY STREET PIZZERIA 240 S. Beverly Dr. In episode 19, the group enjoys what's often called the best pizza in L.A. at this New York-style joint opened by Raging Bull star Cathy Moriarty.

35. THE PLAYBOY MANSION 10236 Charing Cross Rd. A Bunny-laden party at Hugh Hefner's legendary Holmby Hills manse is the focal point of episode 11: Drama, who says his "lifetime ban" is a misunderstanding, sneaks in near the monkey cages and gets into a scuffle with Ralph Macchio; Danny Masterson offers Vince some real estate advice; and Hef intervenes when it's revealed that the lifetime ban should have really gone to another partygoer--Pauly Shore.


36. IVAR 6356 Hollywood Blvd. This still-trendy nightspot--the site of the after-party for the premiere of Vince's Head On in episode 1--is a magnet for party-circuit celebs like Paris Hilton, Ashlee Simpson and Hugh Hefner.

37. GEISHA HOUSE 6633 Hollywood Blvd. Mandy Moore celebrates her birthday with Vince and his buds in episode 19 at this hip, bold, two-level Japanese restaurant/lounge whose backers include--dontcha know?--Ashton Kutcher, Wilmer Valderrama, Danny Masterson and Jamie Kennedy.

38. LUCKY STRIKE LANES 6801 Hollywood Blvd. This swank, state-of-the-art bowling alley-cum-lounge where DJs spin on Fridays and Saturdays is the perfect hipster date spot--as evidenced in episode 4, when Vince and the guys quadruple date here.

39. EL CAPITAN ENTERTAINMENT CENTER 6840 Hollywood Blvd. Where late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live tapes. As seen in episode 3, where Vince appears as a guest alongside Sara Foster (they hooked up once in the Hamptons, then again in her dressing room before the show), Kimmel's backstage green room has become an exclusive, invite-only hangout in and of itself; with a full bar, billiard table and plasma TVs, even celebs who aren't chatting with Kimmel on the air come by to socialize. It's so exclusive that Ari can't even get in--he was banned for, in his words, "a situation with Natalie Portman's father."

40. ARCLIGHT CINEMAS/CINERAMA DOME 6360 W. Sunset Blvd. L.A.'s premium moviegoing spot, with all-reserved stadium seating, 15 screens, a cafe/bar, a gift shop and, yes, ticket prices that hit $14. The recently refurbished geodesic Dome, built in 1963, plays host to the premiere of Vince's movie Head On in the first episode; it's also where the guys swing by in episode 4 to check out how long the lines are on opening weekend.

41. GOLD'S GYM 1016 N. Cole Ave. In episode 5, Vince takes a yoga class here with his latest flame, Fiona, who later prompts the boys to down wheatgrass shots (yum). The show filmed here in part because it's where Mark Wahlberg used to pump; Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Sean Hayes all have been spotted exercising here, and CSI's George Eads even used to work here.

42. CIRCUS DISCO 6655 Santa Monica Blvd. This spacious gay nightclub is often rented out for film shoots and special events, like the Fight Night video game tournament in episode 14 where Turtle gets aced out by a smart-aleck whiz kid.

43. 101 COFFEE SHOP 6145 Franklin Ave. Late-night Hollywood clubgoers flock to this funky, retro eatery just off the 101 freeway to sober up with delish diner fare. Entourage's foursome chows down here in episode 4.

44. CRAZY GIRLS 1433 N. La Brea Ave. Strip joint where the guys meet with Walsh in episode 7 to discuss the Queens Boulevard script--at noon. "Crazy Girls has got a great buffet," says Drama. ("I've been there a couple of times," Ellin admits.)

45. HOLLYWOOD PREMIERE MOTEL 5333 Hollywood Blvd. Bare-bones lodgings where Turtle finds Walsh holed up in episode 20 and pitches him Saigon's track for the end credits of Queens Boulevard.

46. EB GAMES 1000 Universal Studios Blvd. Turtle, in training for an Xbox tournament, pleads with Vince in episode 14 for a $250 controller at this enormous branch of the video game retailer at Universal CityWalk just outside the Universal Studios theme park. "I've got my EB card and I've been to that place many times," Ellin says.

47. 4100 BAR 4100 W. Sunset Blvd. This gay-and-straight-friendly neighborhood hang done up in plush Asian decor attracts lots of artsy Silverlake types--so naturally it's where Eric meets up with Walsh in episode 13 to try to convince him to screen Queens Boulevard for James Cameron before Sundance. Eric fails; Walsh leaves with a hooker.


48. STAPLES CENTER 1111 S. Figueroa St. Entourage has filmed at the downtown sports arena three times: the Vitali Kitschko-Corrie Sanders fight in episode 3, the U2 concert where Drama gets a birthday shout-out from Bono in episode 17, and the Lakers game where Ari and the foursome have floor seats in episode 10. (After the game, Vince and his posse horse around on the empty court and mingle in the arena's members-only Grand Reserve Club with Lamar Odom and Jaime Pressly, who invites them to a party at her beach house.) "We actually shot during the game," says Ellin. "The guys were all wirelessly miked, and we were shooting most of the dialogue during the game as it was going on from across the way. Most people didn't know we were shooting."

49. THE PALM 1100 S. Flower St. After the boxing match in episode 3, the guys kick back with Luke Wilson and Jimmy Kimmel (who invites Vince to be a guest on his show) at this downtown branch of the upscale steakhouse chain, known for its caricatures of celebs, politicians and loyal customers adorning the walls. Filming took place during a real post-fight party that night.


50. APPLE STORE 1248 Third Street Promenade Where Drama schemes to get new headshots done for free in episode 9 and where, in episode 11, Turtle tries to raise some cash by returning a corporate gift given to Vince (he only manages to get store credit). "I'm a die-hard Mac person and I put [the store] in with no product placement," Ellin says, laughing. "We should try to get them to give us some money."

51. I CUGINI 1501 Ocean Ave. Italian seafood restaurant where, in episode 11, Vince's lawyer breaks the news to the quartet over an alfresco lunch that, due to a dwindling bank account, the most Vince can spend on a new house is a paltry $1 million--unless, of course, he agrees to star in Aquaman.

52. VICEROY SANTA MONICA 1819 Ocean Ave. This Kelly Wearstler-decorated boutique beachside hotel is where, in episode 16, Ari presents Vince with his $2 million check for signing on to Aquaman, as well as a list of five hot actresses to choose from to play Aquagirl--including (uh-oh) Vince's ex, Mandy Moore.

53. URTH CAFFE 2327 Main St. In episode 20, a lovestruck Vince is late for breakfast with his buds at this recently opened branch of the WeHo organic coffeehouse--so late that Drama has scarfed down Vince's egg-white frittata.

54. DRAGO 2628 Wilshire Blvd. Mandy Moore meets with Vince in episode 16 to make sure working together won't be awkward for the former lovebirds in this resplendent Italian restaurant from noted chef Celestino Drago.