Issue: Fall 2017
Ye Olde Public House
The Cat & Fiddle first opened in Laurel Canyon in 1982 by musician, Londoner Kim Gardner and his wife, Paula, from New Orleans. Kim was a bassist and integral part of the British Rock invasion of the 1960s and 70s. He recorded over 27 albums and played in bands such as Quiet Melon (with Rod Stewart), Ashton, Gardner & Dyke, The Creation and The Birds (with Ron Wood). When his work brought Kim to Hollywood, he decided to open a British pub in the neighborhood because there wasn't one. The pub became the favorite watering hole for the entertainment community from both near and far. Paula's roots were in fashion and she owned "Lily Bleu" a successful shoe store on Santa Monica Boulevard. After the Cat & Fiddle launched and was an instant success, Paula closed her store to help at the pub. By 1985, The Cat had outgrown the small nook in the Canyon and moved to a larger location on Sunset Boulevard in a historic Spanish revival building with a delightful outdoor patio. For a magical 32 years, The Pub poured many pints, served delicious homemade food, created lasting memories and was a community favorite before local development forced them out.
The Cat & Fiddle is very much family run. Sadly, in 2001, Kim passed away but Paula and their three daughters, Eva, Ashlee and Camille, have carried on the torch. They continue to work alongside their mum, keeping the Cat & Fiddle legacy alive. Eva, a bassist who followed her father's footsteps, has her own signature bass with Fender and has played for artists such as P!nk, Cher, Gwen Stefani, Tegan & Sara and Moby. Ashlee, a graduate of USC's Marshall School of Business and author of Entrepreneur Magazine's Great Book of Business Lists, has helped run the Cat & Fiddle full-time since 2005. She and her husband, producer/ writer, Justin Raisen also run Paulie Music, a music management company. Recently, after several years working for hospitality firms such as Patina Restaurant Group and David Burke Group in New York, Camille is excited to return to LA to help her family at the pub. Together they run the Cat & Fiddle and keep the community's spirit very much alive.
Over the last two years, Paula and her daughters searched LA looking for the perfect place to write the next chapter of The Cat & Fiddle. In early 2017, they announced a new location opening on Highland near Melrose Avenue. It is a more intimate setting, complete with a lovely garden patio.
Previously home to the famous Highland Grounds, a popular music café, it feels just right and their landlord is more interested in finding the perfect tenant than squeezing his tenants. The new location is surrounded by many of their long-time patrons who work and live nearby. “We are so grateful and excited to be back in Hollywood. We are blessed,” enthused Paula.
The Cat & Fiddle serves British staples such as fish and chips, bangers and mash and homemade savoury pies, as well as delicious burgers and salads. It offers a versatile selection of craft, imported and domestic beers, wines and fresh signature cocktails with ingredients often from the Gardners' garden. Patrons have long enjoyed their 11:30-5pm lunch and both Saturday and Sunday brunch. But it’s the ambiance, good food and camaraderie that keeps them coming back—especially The Cat’s Hour weekdays from 5-7pm that features $6 drafts and well drinks, and $6-8 appetizer menu.
As they celebrate their 35th year, the Gardners look forward to continuing the Cat & Fiddle legacy. As 30-year patrons, all we can say is “welcome back...we missed you.” DH