Join LA’s style set at these buzzy restaurants and bars. Dress up for drinks at a Beverly Hills hot spot or dress down for beachside happy hour, but look smart because the scene’s hopping, the drinks are flowing and the food is as good as the fashion and style on parade.
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Inside the sexy and playful SLS Hotel (owned by LA nightlife godfather Sam Nazarian), the Bazaar by José Andrés is a carnival of food and drink offerings that are as whimsical and sleek as the Philippe Starck–designed space. Grab a drink—expect martinis with olive foam and "salt air" margaritas—at the swanky Bar Centro or at the al fresco Bar Centro Terrace where guests can sip on single-malt Scotch and enjoy a stogie from the cigar selection. Of course, the real star is the well-known, Spanish chef's modern cooking. Indulge in an intimate chef's tasting menu inside the hidden dining room Saam or share small-plate tapas like "Philly cheesesteak" made with seared Wagyu beef atop "air bread" and uni and avocado buns. If you're in need of some retail therapy, stop into the Bazaar's Patisserie for grown-up confectionary or Regalo for Kiki de Montparnasse lingerie and Moss home furnishings.
This 11,000-square-foot power-plant-turned-Downtown hot spot deftly melds industrial architecture and Art Deco chic. Restored artifacts are casually displayed; silent video montages, projected on the wall, revisit the early work of film legends; bartenders handcraft classic cocktails. But nothing's stuffy here—it's a scene almost every night of the week—with DJ's, a live band on Thursdays and party lounges with names like Tesla and Generator, paying homage to the building's past. The dress is "Old-World style," code for look smart—no flip flops, tennis shoes, baseball caps, T-shirts...you get the idea.
Venice residents remember the loungey Beachwood, which has been reincarnated as Sunny Spot, Roy Choi's ode to the sunny Caribbean. The updated watering hole for Venice's new beachside chic has a tropical theme throughout, from the brightly colored, floral-patterned stools, gilded dishware and utensils to an Island-themed menu from which favorites include Savory Bread that’s more salty, beignet-like fritters served with rum honey, guava jam and goat butter, and a Cuban torta packed with pork terrine and prosciutto. Don’t expect fruity, umbrella-adorned drinks here. Instead, take a Permanent Vacation with tequila, bitters and homemade ginger beer or make a holiday out of brunch sipping Piña Colada that's mixed with pineapple-ginger-coconut sorbet. Grab a seat at the bar or soak in the California rays on the expansive, enclosed patio for happy hour where you can get your hands on (and messy with) spicy, crispy jerk chicken wings, a Two-Fisted Cheeseburger ($6 each) and a bottle of Red Stripe ($3).
Most restaurants on the Sunset Strip don't try very hard. They don't have to—they have a built-in tourist and booze market that don't know good food from bad. So, it's refreshing when a place comes along that doesn't know how the system works and opens a restaurant on the Strip that's actually really good. The Eveleigh is that restaurant. Duck confit with lentils. Pappardelle with pork ragú. Hanger steak with romesco sauce. The kitchen keeps it simple and gets it right. Brunch is a relaxed affair frequented by people who probably never visit the Strip at night. Most of the seating is outside, either on the front patio (which is covered in shaggy Astroturf) or the enclosed back terrace (offering views of the city).
Tucked away on the second floor of Hollywood's Roosevelt hotel, the Spare Room is like stepping into another era where classic cocktails and punch bowls—served by waitresses in Gatsby-era dresses—pour freely and people make merry all night long. The big draw here is Monday game night when an exclusive bowling league competes (get on the waitlist to high-five with Hollywood's pretty, young things). Groups of up to six—clad in Spare Room's George Esquivel–designed bowling shoes and argyle socks—can reserve one of two lanes for $100 an hour. Or just chill in the lounge, and cozy up to your neighbors with a friendly game of Dominoes, Monopoly, Connect Four or Battleship. On Wednesdays, from 8-10pm, there's half-price bowling and happy hour–priced food and drinks.