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The Circus Cafe

The Circus Cafe was not for kids—the cocktail lounge inside Albert Sheetz Mission Candies at 6656 Hollywood Boulevard served up adult beverages in a whimsical atmosphere.

Circus Cafe
(The Huntington Library)

According to the 12-page menu: “Our drinks, whether cocktails or mixed, are smooth enough for a lady, strong enough for a man, a velvety escape from stark reality; we mean, that they are like moonbeams of Romance.”

Indeed, there were rum drinks and long drinks, high-balls, fizzes, sours, rickies, egg nogs and flips, liqueurs both domestic and imported.

True to the motto “always first with the latest,” Circus Cafe patrons could order a Bunny Hug, Parisian Star, American Beauty, Gin Daisy, or Wine Cobbler. For the less adventurous, there was a robust selection of wines, champagnes, bottled beers, and ales.

Open nightly (except Mondays) until 2 a.m., there was no cover charge for an evening of dining and dancing. Entertainment included Ralston Ayers and his Musical Clowns, as well as Peggy Gilbert’s popular all-girl orchestra who hosted an eight-month residency in 1937.

Sheetz, a kind man who was good to his employees, always made sure there were fresh flowers on the bandstand, according to Peggy Gilbert biographer Jeannie Gayle Pool.

In addition to two stores on Hollywood Boulevard, Sheetz operated 35+ Mission Candies throughout Southern California in Santa Monica, Pasadena, Glendale, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Van Nuys. Beyond the candy counter, each location had a soda fountain and restaurant. Three included cocktail bars: Circus Cafe, English Tavern (Downtown LA), and Beverly Cafe (Beverly Hills).

Sheetz promised quality food at reasonable prices “served in a manner that makes you feel it is a pleasure to eat, amidst an environment that makes you want to relax and just enjoy every minute of your time.”


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