Sugar: Is Step-Hi an Actual Bar in Los Angeles?

In Apple TV+’s mystery series ‘Sugar,’ John Sugar’s efforts to find out what happened to Olivia Siegel lead him to Step-Hi, a bar in Los Angeles. In the bar, he meets Melanie Mackie, the missing girl’s stepmother. He realizes that Olivia and Melanie took a series of small photographs using the machine at the place. Sugar and Melanie’s meeting invites the viewers’ attention to the elegant bar where their paths cross for the first time. The dim lights and the fascinating ambiance add to the appeal of the establishment. Although we won’t find Step-Hi in the City of Angels, we may not need to be disappointed!

Boardner’s by La Belle and Step-Hi

Step-Hi is a fictional bar. However, a real bar stands in for the establishment in ‘Sugar.’ The scenes set in and around Step-Hi are shot in Boardner’s by La Belle, a bar located on Cherokee Avenue in the neighborhood of Hollywood in Los Angeles. The property was originally owned by renowned singer-songwriter Gene Austin and named after the artist’s hit song “My Blue Heaven,” which was once the largest-selling record of all time. Boardner’s became what we see today in 1942 after Steve Boardner relocated the establishment to its current site.

The art deco bar has an isolated outdoor patio with a stage to host live performances. A big dance floor and a fully equipped DJ booth make it a preferred venue for celebrations. ‘Sugar’ is only one of the numerous projects shot in the iconic dimly lit bar. The productions previously filmed in the establishment include classics such as ‘L.A. Confidential’ and modern masterpieces such as ‘Gone Girl,’ in addition to ‘Beverly Hills, 90210,’ ‘Arrested Development,’ ‘Leaving Las Vegas,’ ‘NCIS: Los Angeles,’ and ‘How to Get Away with Murder.’

Popular figures to set foot in the bar include Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Nicole Kidman, Ryan Gosling, etc. The place has the legacy of hosting John Lennon and Charles Bukowski as well. The bar also hosts several weekly or biweekly events such as “Blue Mondays,” “Wenzday’s Party,” “Bar Sinister,” etc. Every Friday, the place becomes the venue of “Club Decades” or dance parties that revolve around selected movies. Boardner’s by La Belle is a place where varying cultures meet to celebrate life in Hollywood.

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