Pompadour hairstyles, cigarette smoke trailing, and bell-bottom jeans take you back to the Rat Pack era, an idyllic time in the 1960s where the parties were big, the pools were cool, and Palm Springs was the celebrity playground. This mid-century style has shaped the city of Palm Springs into the desert oasis it is today and we have some of America’s heartthrobs to thank for this image.
So who is it that makes up the Rat Pack in Palm Springs, and how can you embrace this to channel your inner rockstar in 21st century Palm Springs?
Meet the Rat Pack Members
In the 1960s, the Rat Pack reigned over Las Vegas and Palm Springs. Comprised of American legends including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., these party people knew how to have a good time. The gang was often seen performing at Sands, a Las Vegas staple, and would take the party back to Palm Springs for poolside lounging and ever-flowing cocktails.
Fast forward more than 50 years and Palm Springs continues to embrace this mid-century lifestyle through world-class dining, iconic bars, and some of the country’s most luxurious accommodations. Live a Rat Pack weekend by checking out some classics below:
Where to Eat
Palm Springs continues to pay homage to the Rat Pack era by keeping iconic restaurants around and encouraging new establishments to embrace this 1960s culture. Some of our favorites include:
Melvyn’s – Melvyn’s is the restaurant located inside the famous Ingleside Inn and remains virtually unchanged since the Rat Pack era. In fact, some of the wait staff has been there for more than 40 years and the man behind the kitchen, Chef Juan Castaneda has been there for 38! This iconic spot focuses on doing the classics, and doing them well. Steak Diane, which includes a tableside meal preparation by the chef, is one of their specialties. In addition to the great food, all the classic staff members have countless, great stories up their sleeves!
Purple Room – Like Melvyn’s, Purple Room was one of the Rat Pack’s old hangout spots and continues to remain a Palm Springs classic. The performers featured at this lively jazz bar are reminiscent of Rat Pack music, accompanied by your meal of classics like lobster and steak, you can expect to be fully entertained. Finish your meal off with a classic Espresso Martini, just like the ol’ Rat Pack would do!
Frank’s Place – It’s all in the name at Frank’s place, a “‘Sinatra flavored’ restaurant and lobby lounge offering a retro atmosphere reminiscent of the swanky Rat Pack days of the 60’s.” The lounge features a full-service bar and nightly shows during the peak visiting season. As Frank’s Place themselves claim, “be transported back to the days of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and many other musical legacies.”
Johnny Costa’s Ristorante – Celebrities and locals alike adore Johnny Costa, a down-home Italian restaurant that used to serve the Rat Pack members themselves. In fact, Frank Sinatra celebrated his birthdays at this classic stop and today, there is still the Steak Sinatra on the menu. Johnny Costa is the chef and restaurant owner who has been there since 1976 and his son, Vince, continues on with the family’s legacy.
Where to Sleep
Deemed Hollywood’s Playground, Palm Springs was, and continues to be, a desert escape from the bustling Los Angeles scene. Treat yourself to rest and relaxation at these hot spots:
The Riviera – The Riviera is a Palm Springs staple due to its roster of celebrity guests. A “stylish, eclectic, cool, Palm Springs resort getaway,” Riviera holds its own as a luxury escape for all.
Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs – At the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, we channel both the classic feel of the Rat Pack era and the high-energy fun of today’s rockers. Located right by the famous Palm Canyon Drive, dancing, eating, and relaxing are just steps away from this exciting and unique hotel. Or, if you don’t want to leave the comfort of your room, you can party like a rockstar right within our resort itself. A stay at Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs is a great addition to a Rat Pack weekend.
What to Do
Massages, craft cocktails, hiking, and art are all at your fingertips in Palm Springs. This mecca of entertainment is the perfect mix of pampering and partying, and there are countless things to do during your own Rat Pack weekend:
Spas – Even rockstars have to relax! Palm Springs is the perfect getaway from the buzz of LA, Orange County, and Las Vegas and the countless spas in the area are the perfect way to unwind. Our favorites are The Well Spa, Rock Spa, and The Spring.
Golfing – Frank Sinatra and other Rat Pack members were known to play a round or two at the many golf courses in Palm Springs, and in fact, the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational is still one of the most popular events of the year. With its year-round sunshine and beautiful landscapes, Palm Springs is a golfer’s paradise.
Partying – As mentioned above, the Rat Pack made Purple Room and Melvyn’s their home, but there are countless other clubs to claim as your own around Palm Springs. Bernie’s is a new lounge and supper club, but it is made to look like the classic 1960s hangouts of the Rat Pack era. There is also Toucan’s Tiki Lounge, Zeldas Nightclub, and Copa Palm Springs to name a few!
Experiencing your own Rat Pack weekend in Palm Springs is as easy as dining, lounging, and partying like a true Rat Pack member! Grab your classic white tee, fedora and, bow tie and hit the scene just like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. themselves!