“Back in the day”, let’s say the early 80’s (not that I’m old enough to know of such things) The Castaway was the place to go for happy hour and late night drinks with one of the most glittery views of Downtown LA and blazing fire pits. NOT so much any more. The view hasn’t changed, but there’s really nothing else redeeming about it. After a recent visit to recapture the magic, we were so disappointed. It started with the valet chasing us screaming “You can’t do that”, as we sped past him to our old “secret” lower parking lot, that I guess doesn’t exist anymore. There’s no self parking. (who knew?) Next, the hostess wouldn’t even seat us because she said the “kitchen was backed up”. The best thing was that it was “Wine Wednesday” and we got an inexpensive glass of wine with a great view.
BUT, here is what we really want to share with you. It’s a top secret place in the Burbank hills. The DeBell Clubhouse. The perfect place for a relaxing late afternoon beer and snack. The views are beautiful, the beer is cold and if you like the famous “Smoke House” garlic bread, you’re in luck. Right now, every time we’ve been there, we sadly have our pick of seats, because it’s been empty. Hopefully you won’t be alone for long, because I’m telling you, it’s so beautiful up there. Hey, I’ve got an idea. Start with a hike at Stough Canyon just up the hill and then reward yourself with a cold beverage at the club house. It’s a great hike minutes from downtown Burbank. Panoramic views at the top. You won’t believe you’re in the city. No cement. Not very many people.
Side note. On my first visit to LA , (a long, long time ago) my husband took me up to the golf course at night to see the view. He pledged his love and planned our future on the then 17th fairway. So romantic, right? True, until the sprinklers came on. We had no idea then that we would leave LA and come back years later, returning to “our spot”. Full circle.
Sadly, I’m with Kelli on the whole Castaway debacle. Incredibly because of the location, the place still gets decent business. My boyfriend and I went up on Valentine’s Day of last year, which was a BIG mistake. Yes, I realize it’s the busiest restaurant day of the year, but back in that day Kelli referred to, you could sit outside on the back patio, have a drink and stay warm by the fire pits, without having to eat or even have a reservation. Not so today. Today the militants at the front hostess area, will track you down and guide you out. And not in a nice way. It’s also really unorganized, just to add to the annoyance of going there. Can you sit at the bar? Can you get a drink and carry it outside? Who knows? I have not eaten there in forever, so I have no idea what the food is like. Either way, the food was never the draw, it was again…the view.
So, that Valentine’s night, we skulked out of the
over-rated fancy Castaway and made our way to the little golf club house down the street. The views are not A+, more like A-, so who cares? When we walked in, it was practically empty. We thought we were going to be hustled out again, but no….a seriously nice server greeted us, took our drink order and away we went! I have been to the clubhouse on numerous occasions. It’s a great way to wind up a day of golf or after a nice robust hike in the hills above the golf course. The food is fresh, delicious and relatively cheap. Plus, there is a full bar, outdoor seating and TV’s to kick back and watch games. The night Kelli and I and our men went couldn’t have been more lovely.
Sadly, the De Bell Club house has been seeped in controversy because of the cost to build it out, maintain the course and the bad economy. We read in our local paper that new owners are taking over the entire operation. I wish them lots of success and good luck and would like to suggest a couple of things.
1. Keep the garlic bread…no matter how much the recipe costs you.
2. Do something; anything about The Castaway
3. Keep everything the same, but work the social media aspect a little better.
Okay, I’m done with my impression of Gordon Ramsey, without the F-bombs. Now get up to the the DeBell Golf Club House before it changes hands! Just take our advice and save the Castaway until the real Gordon Ramsey actually gets involved.