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Faith & Flower
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman Faith & Flower

Where to eat and drink near L.A. Live

These L.A. Live restaurants and bars will help fuel your next Lakers game, concert or awards show

By Erin Kuschner

Going to a game, concert, movie or exhibition at L.A. Live and the Staples Center can be an ordeal. But going when you're hungry? That can't end well. Fortunately, there are plenty of sports bars, gastropubs and fine-dining restaurants to duck into before or after an event. And if you need a stiff drink after battling those lines, we've got you covered with some great cocktail bars as well. Here are some of the best L.A. Live restaurants and bars, both in and around the area, to check out during your next visit.

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L.A. Live restaurants and bars

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse Downtown
Photograph: Courtesy Fleming's Prime Steakhouse

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse

Restaurants Steakhouse South Park

So you want to be a baller, huh? Floor seats to a Lakers game is one way to do it, but to accompany your night spent courtside, you may want to splurge on a thick cut of steak from Fleming's Prime Steakhouse. There's plenty of meaty options to choose from here—ribeye, New York strip, filet mignon—along with truffle lobster, lump crabmeat and a prime rib dinner. The steakhouse also operates as a wine bar, so you can end the night with a glass (or bottle—we're not judging) from one of Prime's 100+ available wines.

Ford's Filling Station at L.A. Live
Photograph: Courtesy Ford's Filling Station

Ford's Filling Station

Restaurants American South Park

Located on the lobby of the JW Mariott at L.A. Live, Ford's Filling Station showcases simple American cuisine with a California flair. Chef Ben Ford (yes, he's the son of Harrison) pays attention to organic, sustainable ingredients, offering dishes like pan seared sea bass and polenta cake. Fresh, seasonal cocktails and a built-in cruvinet offering 32 wines by the glass round out Ford's beverage options.

Katsuya at L.A. Live
Photograph: Courtesy Katsuya


Restaurants Japanese South Park

Amidst L.A. Live's gastropubs and coffee chains is Katsuya, a sushi powerhouse that delivers fresh and original rolls alongside stellar cocktails. For lunch, there are traditional bento boxes filled with miso cod and shrimp tempura, plates of yellowtail sashimi topped with jalapeño, and their signature Katsuya roll. Heading here for dinner? You can pick and choose from their extensive dinner menu, but splurging on omakase—the tasting menu—is a worthwhile pick.

NEST at WP24

Restaurants Pan-Asian South Park

WP24 (see below) recently reinvented its adjacent bar area to create NEST. Here, hotel guests and visitors can stop by for both food and drinks, snacks or a full meal from chef John Lechleidner. Pork belly "Bao Buns" are sweet and pillowy with a honey-garlic glaze, perfect for snacking on with a beer while watching a basketball or hockey game on one of NEST's stragetically placed flat screens. For something lighter, the Szechuan cucumbers are fantastic and provide the necessary crunch factor, while the Chinese pork crackling is a softer (yet still indulgent) version of the traditional snack.

WP24 near L.A. Live
Photograph: Courtesy WP24

WP24 by Wolfgang Puck

Restaurants Pan-Asian South Park

For a taste of Wolfgang Puck's modern Chinese, head to the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Downtown. With spectacular views of the city, the main dining room offers an expansive menu in a more formal setting, while Nest at WP24 offers an abbreviated menu of plates to share (sushi rolls, dumplings) and Asian-inspired cocktails. Stop by pre- or post- event at the nearby Staples Center or for Sunday dim sum dinner.

Yard House at L.A. Live
Photograph: Courtesy Yard House

Yard House

Restaurants Gastropubs South Park

When you want to be close to the action but not quite in it, Yard House is your go-to gastropub for watching the game. The L.A. Live eatery has enough TVs scattered around the space to get a good view from any seat while you nosh on buffalo wings, nachos, poke or garlic noodles. If the thought of chicken wings makes you squirm, there's a full vegetarian section on the menu. Oh, and the most important part: Yard House boasts a massive list of beer. Get there during happy hour (Mon-Fri 3-6pm) for discounted drinks and bites.

Restaurants and bars close to L.A. Live

Caña Rum Bar
Photo Courtesy Caña Rum Bar

Caña Rum Bar

Bars Lounges South Park

Downtown nightlife entrpreneur Cedd Moses' experiment wth a private bar charing $2,200 in annual dues didn't exactly come at the right time, and so the precious cocktail museum that was the Doheny soon morphed into something more Latin and vibrant. Caña Rum Bar features 140 gourmet rums for cocktails that include mojitos, Tiki drinks and margaritas. The sense of exclusivity isn't gone, but the $2,200 membership is. It's now only $20.

El Cholo Downtown
Photograph: Courtesy El Cholo

El Cholo

Restaurants Mexican South Park

The original El Cholo opened 1923, and as Los Angeles' oldest continuously operated Mexican restaurant, it probably hasn't been at the cutting edge of cuisine for something like 80 years. Still, the Mexican comfort food is fantastic and the atmosphere is historic in a way very few other LA eateries can manage. El Cholo Downtown opened in 2010, and people coming and going from L.A. Live and the Staples Center are continuously lured in with the eatery's must-have guacamole (made tableside), green corn tamales and the famous margaritas, by which all others are judged.

The Exchange
Photograph: Rozette Rago

The Exchange Restaurant

Restaurants Downtown

The Freehand hotel’s full-service restaurant takes its name from the 12-story vintage blade sign (the largest in L.A.), under which its entrance proudly sits. The menu explores the multi-cultural flavors of L.A. through an Israeli lens, giving us hummus, grilled meats and plenty of all-day options. It's accompanied by an award-winning beverage program, and you might find yourself sipping a boozy spin on kefir with your salatim platter, or a cocktail sweetened by dates and coconut.

Faith & Flower
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Faith & Flower

Restaurants Californian South Park

At Faith & Flower, a contemporary restaurant Downtown that focuses on California cuisine, the aim is to merge 1920s and modern day aesthetic. Executive chef Michael Hung, who previously helmed Michelin-starred La Folie in San Francisco, evokes the grandeur of the '20s with today's trend of elevated casual fare: deviled jidori eggs with kimchi, new potato salad, steak tartare—you get the idea. There is homemade cavatelli and dungeness crab risotto, and oysters if you're stopping by for a happy hour snack. Speaking of happy hour: Don't forget to order the Milk Punch, which has been featured in multiple "best cocktail" lists across the country.

The Golden Gopher
Photograph: Courtesy The Golden Gopher

Golden Gopher

Bars Lounges Downtown Financial District

Cedd Moses is also behind this Downtown haunt, a perfect mix of upscale cocktailery and comfortable dive, where you can come for a quick PBR or stay with a fancy, well-made cocktail. Prices are reasonable, the jukebox is stocked with oldies-meets-Coachella, and an old school arcade (think Pac-Man) allows for friendly drinking games. Do note, however, that dress code is enforced. A dive with a dress code—how very LA.


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