Restaurant Swingers, Santa Monica (Googie-Architecture)

Restaurant Swingers, Santa Monica, 1993

Whenever you visit Los Angeles, you have to check out a Diner restaurant. These American Coffee-Snack-shacks are the hub of life by day and night. They personify the American way of life.
Quentin Tarantino, a well-known director, shot many sequences in such locations as for him the whole social life revolves around Restaurants.

Johnie’s Coffee Shop Restaurant on Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, famous for being used as a location for many movies.
Date: 21 January 2007
Author: Michael Mooney

Primarily these Diners were developed from discarded railroad dining cars which were transformed into a takeaway or rather into a gas station. The Diner restaurants are an essential element of the
city of LA, like the freeways. L.A. is known for its culture of permanent movement. Therefore the Megalopolis is also nicknamed Autopolis. To catch motorists‘ attention, gas stations and coffee shops turned to eye-catching shapes and neon signs – an aesthetic style we now know as Googie, typical of Californian post-war culture. In this era, the coffee shop evolved into a popular building type in Los Angeles. John Lautner is considered as the founder of a new architectural language adopted to that development. In 1949, Lautner designed an iconic coffee shop which he named Googie in honour of the owner’s wife’s nickname. The mid-century architectural movement was heavily influenced by the nation’s Space Age infatuation with industrial progress, and so sweeping rooflines and hard, geometric shapes worked their way into buildings alongside neon signs with playful starbursts.

Patio tables at the Bob’s Big Boy restaurant in Burbank, California.
Date: 14 February 2013, 15:15:44
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Author: Junkyardsparkle

Today most of these Googie buildings don`t exist anymore, but a few you can still visit, for example right at your arrival at LA, stumbling into the Theme Building at LAX. However there exist a lot of retro-style Diners in Los Angeles where you can run across the Googie style.

Corky’s restaurant on Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, viewed from the southeast. It was designed by Armet & Davis and built in 1958.
Date: 2 March 2014, 10:34:17
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Author: Junkyardsparkle

On our trip, we are going to have dinner at the Swingers Diners in Santa Monica. It is a Googie-style Restaurant which opened in 1993. On the official website of Santa Monica this restaurant is described as a retro-cool coffee shop with colourful cow murals, catering to a hip crowd with classic menu of American diner fare, open until 2am. For more information about the Swingers you can attend their website.


Jahnke, Wolf: Los Angeles. Mit Hollywood durch LA, Marburg 2011.
Juliano, Michael: A guide to Googie architecture in Los Angeles, URL: (08.03.2017).
Gössel, Peter (ed.): Modernism rediscovered, Hong Kong 2009.
Vaughan, James: The world of Googie, URL: (08.03.2017).
Juliano, Michael: A guide to Googie architecture in Los Angeles, URL: (08.03.2017).

Author: Yannick Bemtgen

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