Location #7:

Retro Dairy

Q.  Where is it supposed to be?

17:52: A drive-thru restaurant of some kind.  We see Sebastian make a left turn from the street into the drive-though, where is stops to sip a soft drink on the patio (next to a colorful mural of California oranges). while looking across the street in disgust at a "Tapas & Salsa" club.

The normal assumption might be that it's some sort of fast food drive-thru, except that the red sign on top of the building identifies it as "Retro Dairy"

So, did they make up that name?

Q.  Where was it really shot? 

This actually is a real place called "Retro Dairy Mart". You'll find it at
4420 W. Magnolia Blvd, in Burbank.  about a mile northwest of "Lipton's" and the Warner Bros studio.

Not that long ago, this was an actual drive-thru dairy, named Alta-Dena Dairy.
(You can see a 2011 photo of it below as it used to look.)

It seems to have changed names in early 2015, becoming Retro Dairy Mart.

It is now a small market which still sells dairy products, but also sells groceries, snacks, sandwiches. fruit & vegetables. coffee, lotto tickets... you name it.

Sort of like a hybrid dairy/7-11 that you can drive through.  Sounds convenient.

( And if you're looking for "retro", you can also buy old-time candy here, such as
 'Big Hunk', 'Look!', 'U-No', 'Abba Zabba', 'Sugar Babies', and 'Bit O' Honey''. )

They have their own website at retrodairymart.com

When we first see Sebastian driving, he's heading west on Magnolia Blvd (just before Clybourn Ave.) and he then turns left (south) into the drive-thru.

(That could get you a ticket in real life, since it means crossing a double yellow line to make the turn.)

There is indeed a tiny patio out front with a few tables & chairs, surrounded by a small white picket fence.  (The patio was added after its switch from Alta-Dena to Retro Dairy.)   But for some reason, the producers replaced the tables & chairs with their own models, and completely removed the picket fence (see the photo below).

But that cool Californian mural in the background?  Sorry, it's not real.

In the movie, that mural is on the 
west side wall of an Asian restaurant next door.

But in real life, that side wall has always been blank, and the producers simply
added that classic postcard view of a Southern California orange grove.

Here is a Google StreetView of Retro-Dairy:

Drive-thru dairies used to be a common sight in Southern California, becoming popular with the advent of L.A. car culture in the '50s & '60s helped put traditional milkmen (who delivered milk directly to your doorstep) out of business.

But while there are still a small handful of drive-in dairies left (e.g. in Pasadena and Torrance) most of them disappeared over the last two or three decades, often replaced by convenience stores like 7-11.

This old Burbank Alta-Dena drive-thru managed to hang on until 2014.  And in fact, I suppose new Retro-Dairy itself could still qualify as a drive-thru dairy, although selling milk and other dairy products is no longer its main focus.

So, out of all the drive-thrus around L.A. why did they pick this one?

Because it really is right across the street from that "Tapas & Samba" place that Sebastian loathed.  And the main purpose of this scene is to introduce you to that club across the street and Seb's hostility towards it.

( Of course, that building across the street isn't really a restaurant or club.  It's something far more interesting.  You'll read all about it on the next page. )


Move on to the next movie location seen in "La La Land".


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