There is perhaps no better example of Googie-style architecture in Silver Lake than The Astro, the coffee shop with a wing-shaped roof that soars over the main dining room and into the sky over the corner of Fletcher Drive and Glendale Boulevard. The 3,782-square-foot building was constructed in 1960 and designed by architects Louis Armet and Eldon Davis, according to David Gebhardt and Robert Winter, authors of “Architecture in Los Angeles: A Complete Guide. ” Armet and Davis helped popularize the Googie style, named after a coffee shop chain, that reflected the nation’s post-war fascination with the Space Age and, on a more practical level, the need to attract the attention of passing motorists.
While Silver Lake has no shortage of well-preserved or restored mid-century homes and buildings, many reflect the form-follows-function elegance and restraint practiced by such acclaimed mid-century modernists as Neutra and Schindler. The Astro, in contrast, does not take itself so seriously.
“Architecture in Los Angeles: A Complete Guide” describes the building as a “striking example of People’s Moderne.”
Overgrown shrubbery and a glassed-in patio obscure the building’s angular form but it still manages to catch the eye.
Before it became known as The Astro, the restaurant, located in the Rancho Los Felis tract, was known as was originally known as Conrad’s or Conrad’s Drive-In. An L.A. Times classified ad from the early 1950s for an “experienced car hop” directs applicants to the Fletcher Drive address where the current coffee shop is located. A decade later, another classified ad for a “new coffee shop” in the same spot promised “good wages” for fry cooks with “exhibition and wheel” experience (anyone know what exhibition and wheel” refers to?). Finally in 1971, there is an for an experienced waitress to work the night shift at Conrad’s.