Part of the beauty of L.A. is its diversity—and the fact that amazing, new places open their doors on a regular basis, side-by-side with classic L.A. institutions. To celebrate that ever-changing variety, we teamed up with Uber to curate a list of exclusive locations for UberSELECT riders in the know to explore and save—bars with the city's most inventive cocktails, restaurants offering rich, colorful dishes and a few options for cultural excursions during the day and celebrations into the evening. Enter promo code TIMEOUTSELECT in your Uber app before you ride to receive 15 percent off your UberSELECT ride to or from any of the locations on the list below until December 28. Show up in style.
Show up at L.A.'s top spots in style with UberSELECT
When Andrew Kirschner temporarily closed Tar & Roses, Santa Monica mourned a beloved neighborhood restaurant. Thankfully, the talented chef has returned with a seafood spot just as exemplary: Santa Monica Yacht Club, where top-notch service is coupled with fantastic dishes from the sea. A raw bar boasts oysters, ceviche, and sea urchin toast, while main entrées include crab cakes, blackened trout and whole fried snapper with soba noodles. Brighid Maguire has crafted an exquisite cocktail program, where imbibers can sip on drinks like Leo Carillo (vodka, lemongrass, peach and arugula) or Mavericks (tequila, mezcal, agave, chile and cilantro).
This massive space (116,000 square feet, to be exact) is the Arts District outpost of the international gallery Hauser & Wirth, which was founded in New York 1992. The L.A. space boasts the addition of Paul Schimmel, the respected and well-connected former curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, and occupies a former flour mill with its collection of contemporary art and modern masters. The project has restored the Globe Mills complex into a cultural center with museum-caliber exhibitions as well as public programs and educational activities.
To say that you'll need a reservation for Bestia is an understatement. As one of the most talked about (and as a result, packed) restaurants in LA, securing a table months in advance is a necessity. Chef Ori Menashe is the brains behind Bestia’s thoughtful, ingredient-driven Italian menu. His house-cured salumi is superb, whether it's part of a charcuterie board or atop a puffy pizza with mozzarella, black cabbage and fennel; and housemade pastas come tangled together with lobster and sea urchin or tossed with lamb ragu and saffron. Menashe's wife, Genevieve Gergis, is Bestia's phenomenal pastry chef, and you'd be wise to order her chocolate budino tart to end an unforgettable meal.
Walking down a section of Venice’s Lincoln Boulevard that’s home to little more than auto body shops, liquor stores and an Orthodox synagogue, you’d be forgiven for thinking you might be looking in the wrong place for a swanky cocktail bar. And yet, upon crossing The Lincoln’s threshold, you immediately find yourself in an enclosed open-air patio, where industrial light fixtures hang over reclaimed wood tables dotted with ubiquitous succulents. The post-industrial theme continues inside, where designer Matt Winter’s (Melrose Umbrella Company, Power House) creative hand is evident in the seamless incorporation of modern elements and warm vintage aesthetic. In keeping with the neighborhood, The Lincoln’s design invokes the feeling of a renovated repair shop and is peppered with automotive references—the most obvious being the rusty old Lincoln on display at the bar’s rear. Encased in glass and surrounded by antique auto mechanic artifacts, it’s a diorama that could easily be conceived by an Imagineer as a focal point alongside a Disney attraction. Whimsical but refined, stylish but not pretentious and innovative but oddly familiar, The Lincoln might just be one of our favorite pit stops on this side of town.
Chef Esdras Ochoa has made Frogtown a dining destination with Salazar, his relaxed, Sonoran-inspired eatery that boasts a casual patio and some of the best palomas in town. Consider the tacos as an appetizer and start from there: first with the pollo asado with tender grilled chicken, then the al pastor topped with a charred slice of sweet pineapple. The steaks here are expertly grilled, and the sides—sweet corn and a delightful beet salad—will have you feeling like you're at a gourmet backyard barbecue. Just one piece of advice: be prepared to wait, for possibly a couple hours, during prime dinner time on the weekends.
A bowling alley might not be the first place you’d think to grab drinks in Hollywood, but this isn’t any ordinary bowling alley. Stashed away in the shadowy mezzanine above the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel lobby is the Spare Room, devised to evoke pure revelry. A show-stopping set of lanes dating back to the early 1800s stretch the length of the handsome parlor, oozing with Art Deco elegance and a clear view of Hollywood Boulevard out of big cast-iron arched windows. Though let’s face it: the real reason to visit this covert gaming lounge bookended by two gleaming bars is the ace drink program, originally conceived by Aidan Demarest (Seven Grand, BarToni’s) and recently revived by rising star Yael Vengroff (Harvard & Stone). While the Spare Room has historically been known for its punch bowls (there are four to choose from), Vengroff has upped the ante with 17 whimsical cocktails that feature surprising ingredients like pickle brine and coconut oil-washed vodka; we can safely say that there is not one bad swill on the menu.
This small, unassuming Pasadena restaurant is a place for exploration. Its menu is not broken up into curated sections; instead, it is one long list that progresses from smaller items to larger ones, and no one tells you how to order. Traditional croquettes become a thing of beauty, stuffed with the most buttery pieces of chicken and fried perfectly on the outside with a smear of membrillo honey for dragging your bite through. Citrus is a powerhouse: a wheel of bruléed caña de cabra cheese is topped with slivers of grapefruit and orange while lemon sugar is dusted over creamy pistachio; and citrus-cured salmon, the skin fried to a delicate crisp, swims in a cool ajo blanco. The wild mushrooms a la plancha pops with color and of-the-earth flavor, and squid ink pasta is peppered with mussels and piquillo peppers. Make sure to finish with the deconstructed churros and chocolate.
Walk into the lobby of Mama Shelter and you are immediately faced with a bar on your left, a smattering of tables on your right, and entertainment all around you in the form of a fusbol table, TVs and more. You could stop there, sitting down for a hearty meal of comfort food at the bustling restaurant, but the rooftop bar is a must-visit. The colorful space is splattered with multicolored sofas and chairs where you can lounge while waiting for shawarma to arrive; the Mediterranean-inspired menu also serves falafel, salmon skewers and a few hummus options. Cocktails also pay tribute to the Mediterranean, with drinks like the Za'atar Margarita and Mediterranean Mule. On warm nights, you can dance under the stars while DJs spin an eclectic mix of music, or take in a classic movie on their outdoor screen.
A beautiful mashup between French and Vietnamese cuisine, Cassia’s menu—and space, with its birdcage light fixtures and marbled counter—embodies the best of both worlds. A charcuterie plate will call to you as strongly as spicy wontons or, even better, homemade tandoori bread with chickpea curry. The bowl of creamy curry uses coconut milk and cilantro for a sweet and tangy finish, and the cereal scallops, too, are a fantastic concept. Possibly the most obvious example of fusion at Cassia is the Vietnamese pot au feu, which seamlessly combines the properties of French stew and Vietnamese pho. Stick around for the Vietnamese coffee pudding—a sweet treat to end a spectacular meal.
Beyond The Normandie Club’s secret back door, a world of curious mixology awaits. Inside a room just large enough to seat 27 adventurous imbibers, fog rises from a Big Sur-inspired drink made with pine-infused brandy, and hot s’mores are served alongside a smoked chocolate sazerac made with a graham cracker-washed bourbon. Welcome to The Walker Inn, perhaps the most ambitious project yet from the booze wizards at Proprietors LLC and 213 Nightlife. Lit like a members-only Japanese teahouse and draped in mid-century decor, this intimate bar often requires a reservation two weeks in advance and plenty of disposable income. Swills off both the themed (The Walker) and classic (The Book) menu in the lounge portion of the room are around $20 a pop. For that price, you get a wet towel, water and a liquid appetizer, an amuse-bouche of sorts, with your themed libation. But the real cocktail geeks are nabbing a coveted stool at the bar and ordering omakase-style. Think of it as “dealer’s choice” taken to the nth degree: For $45, head bartender and brazen crew will blow your mind with two wholly original beverages tailored to your every whim.