Pokemon Join Stars on Hollywood Boulevard
October 25, 2016
While the “got to catch them all” virtual reality of Pokemon Go is perhaps less a cultural obsession than the coming election at the moment, playing the game is a part of today’s lifestyle, a fun past-time that keeps local residents and visitors alike busy searching for a Bulbasaur – or other fantastic creature.
At Hollywood Boulevard’s Pig n’ Whistle, general manager Jazi Tores says Pokemon Go has positively affected her business. “Although it’s not as popular as it was at the beginning, when we would get people in here telling us they found Pikachu in the restroom, people have gotten to know what our place is, and they come back to eat or get drinks. Pikachu is the most commonly found Pokemon character.”
Pikachu is a starter Pokemon in the game. Because many people playing the game grew up watching the animated television show, which made the character famous, catching a Pikachu can be a special experience for players. While the pub isn’t running any Pokemon specials per se, Tores notes that she has “advertised Pokemon Go on our whiteboard. We have karaoke, and we tied the two together.” Two fun activities plus food and drink? Sounds like a good way to catch at least a few of the captivating creatures.
Just off the boulevard on Vine, Lorenzo Dillarg, manager at 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza says his restaurant’s customers have been known to catch some Pokemon when ordering pizza. “My employees say we have a Magikarp,” he laughs. Magikarp is a water Pokemon, one of the most popular in the game, and while useless in battle, players get three “candies” each time they catch one. When 400 candies are accumulated – that means catching a lot of Magikarp – players can “evolve” the character into a Gyrodos. In short, this means customers will need to come in and order a lot of pizza to catch this many Magikarps.
While the location is not currently running any Pokemon specials, they are in the works. “Everyone’s getting on board with it. I don’t know if we’d have them set up a lure at a nearby Pokestop, I have to talk to our general manager about that first. Probably more likely it would be a pizza/drink combo associated with the game,” Dillarg states. For the uninitiated, luring attracts Pokemon to a certain place, and lures last for 30 minutes. This encourages players to go to stops with lures and spend time there catching Pokemon. “People will walk around our patio looking for a certain Pokemon,” he reports. “But when it first started it was crazy. We actually had to ask some people to leave the restaurant because they were packing the place, walking around trying to catch Pokemon.” Today, it’s a calmer, although fun attraction. “We’ll see parents playing it with their kids.”
Mel’s Drive In on Highland Ave. is a Pokestop, and thus known as a good location to catch some Pokemon. Supervisor Jose Chavez says having that designation has not affected his business all that much, however, probably because his primary clientele are tourists. “They’re not as interested in playing the game,” he says. Rather, they’re on vacation looking for other sights to explore in the area. While Mel’s has considered setting up a lure, the restaurant has not done so as yet. He sees customers searching for Pokemon in the parking lot, and his own employees sometimes play the game, too.
At Hungry Cat, Danielle Kerney, owner of the upscale seafood-centric eatery, says there is a Pokestop right outside her location on Vine. Nonetheless, she doesn’t find it a specific draw for her clientele. “Several of my employees do play the game, though, and I may consider running specials. It could bring in new customers, a broader group of people.”
The Pantages Theatre has been renowned for Pokemon hunting during program intermission. Players, according to employees at the theater, have found the creatures throughout the lobby area, as well as finding them in the main theater seating.
So go ahead – take a peek for Pikachu!
Pig n’ Whistle
6714 Hollywood Blvd.
800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza
1521 Vine St.
Mel’s Drive In
1660 Highland Ave.
1535 Vine St.
The Pantages Theater
6233 Hollywood Blvd.
Genie Davis is a multi-published novelist and journalist, and produced screen and television writer. Passionate about everything-Los Angeles, you can see her work in the arts on her own www.diversionsLA.com.