photo credit: Frank Wonho Lee
Pre-theater dinner spots can be a little boring—most are built to put chicken piccata in people’s stomachs before two-plus hours of David Mamet. But then there’s Bar Chelou, a French-ish bistro on the grounds of the Pasadena Playhouse where the food is special enough to be its own attraction, whether you have tickets to the show or not. The moody, dimly lit dining room buzzes into the night with dates sharing hearty, artfully plated dishes like snapped peas topped with smoky crumbled Spanish sausage and bluefin tuna in a celery root puree. And while a good chunk of the crowd inside Bar Chelou does have a performance to get to, it’s not like the place dies after showtime. People who are thankful their kids went to bed early swarm the bar area, sipping martinis and ordering lemon-chamomile semifreddo well passed 10pm (not exactly late night, but pretty good for Pasadena).
Sign up for our newsletter.
Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.