Villa Nova Italian restaurant
The Villa Nova operated here from 1939 through 1967. The Tudor-style building building was constructed in 1935 for an English-themed nightclub known as Queen. On March 5, 1936 Queen reopened as Club Esquire, managed by dancer “Dapper” Danny Dowling (1). Popular with the film crowd, by May 1937 Club Esquire was operated by Bugsy Siegel’s pal Al Smiley and cited for non-compliance with the 2 a.m. closing law. In July, as Smiley was booking new acts for the venue, Club Esquire was denied a liquor permit. By December 1937, 9115 Sunset had become Ray Haller’s club and as Ray Haller’s was again raided by the sheriff’s vice squad in January 1938 for violating the state liquor law (2). It was raided for the same offence in October, now operating as Irvine’s Mermaid Club, run by ex-policeman Frank Irvine. After a long period of stability as Villa Nova, it became the Windjammer. In April 1972 it opened as The Rainbow Bar & Grill.
(1) Dowling ran a previous Club Esquire on the Strip at 8266 Sunset, cited for gambling in January 1935.
(2) Haller was also affiliated with the Seven Seas Hawaiian-themed cocktail lounge on Hollywood Blvd.