Restaurants & Bars | December 27, 2020 6:00 am

Beverly Hills Restaurant La Scala Criticized for Planning Speakeasy-Themed New Year’s Dinner

"Please keep this discreet, but tell all your friends," reads the invitation

La Scala matchbooks
Matchbooks at La Scala.
La Scala

La Scala in Beverly Hills has a long and storied history, including an array of celebrities who have dined there. Unfortunately, what’s brought the restaurant into the spotlight as 2020 draws to a close isn’t anything having to do with well-known regulars or the quality of the food served there. Instead, the restaurant is taking heat on social media and from city officials over a planned speakeasy-style New Year’s Eve event.

At Deadline, Alexandra Del Rosario has more details about the planned event and the reaction to it. The controversy began when customers noticed handbills advertising a “discreet” New Year’s Eve event in their takeout orders.

Currently, indoor dining is prohibited in Los Angeles County; in other words, this event would be in clear violation of those regulations. Keith Sterling, Beverly Hills’s Public Information Officer, acknowledged in his comments that “this is an incredibly difficult time for all of our businesses.” That said, the availability in California’s intensive care units was 0% on Christmas Day.

Sterling is correct when he points out that restaurants are suffering right now; the lack of a serious bailout for the hospitality industry is infuriating. Plenty of people are having to make difficult decisions right now. But something like this event feels eminently flawed from the outset — with a sensibility that’s closer to Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” than a Prohibition-era gala to end all galas.

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