Time Out Love Los Angeles Awards 2018: the winners
L.A.’s Aussie invasion continues with Pollen, an all-day cafe and espresso bar serving light bites and sunny fare like honey yogurt, poppyseed pancakes and mushroom toast. (Lest ye forget, Aussies love their “brekkie.”) Take a seat with a full meal on the heated patio, sip lattes from enamelware mugs or simply grab a pastry to-go, all from one of Echo Park’s most cheery neighborhood spots.
It may be devastatingly hip in both attitude and décor, but Alfred Coffee & Kitchen wears its handlebar mustache well. Swing by this West Hollywood java shop to witness a young, tanned (and invariably Rag & Bone-clad) barista fashion you a mean Americano. The Wi-Fi is free, the coffee is courtesy Stumptown, the pastries are tasty and the experience is irresistibly Instagram-able (Seriously. That “But first, coffee” decal should have its own handle.).
The historic gem, single-screen Vista Theater plays movies on actual film reels (no digital here) and boasts giant Art Deco light fixtures, kitschy Egyptian-themed wall details and a lovely manager, Victor Martinez, who dresses up for every opening. The theater is by no means luxury (although the leg room is pretty spectacular), but it’s got character and is within walking distance of Silver Lake, Los Feliz and East Hollywood, making it an extra appealing option for Eastsiders.
Runner-up: ArcLight Hollywood
Howl at the Moon
Maybe the only bona fide bar in Universal Citywalk, Howl at the Moon is nevertheless best known for its dueling pianos show on Saturdays, where patrons can sing along with classic songs or be entertained by witty battles. Howl offers theme nights almost every day of the week, including local band Wednesdays and $1 beer Thursdays.
Runner-up: La Cita
Dearly Departed Tours
As you exit a mini museum of memorabilia that belongs to the ghosts of Hollywood and proceed to enter a van with “Hooray for Hollywood” playing, Dearly Departed quickly establishes itself as possibly the most well-produced and upbeat tour of misery and tragedy. It manages to treat Hollywood’s history of deaths, both chilling and inane, with the reverence and incredulity that they deserve. Honestly, who isn’t the least bit curious to visit the house where the Black Dahlia lived? Just don’t look at the crime scene photos.
Runner-up: The Pack Theater
The vista from this hilltop landmark is stunning, particularly at night when Los Angeles twinkles below. Inside you’ll find a bevy of exhibits, including a Foucault pendulum, Tesla coil and planetarium show. Give yourself plenty of time before the 10pm closing to gaze through the 12-inch refracting telescope on the roof, otherwise you can look through the far less crowded modern, reflecting telescope on the front lawn.
Runner-up: Hollywood Sign
The Abbey Food & Bar
The Abbey is annually voted one of the world’s best gay bars. That explains the long lines on the weekends to get into this once humble coffee house that now boasts four full bars and sits on about five times the amount of real estate it originally occupied. The Abbey is the granddaddy of gay bars in Los Angeles and as such it still rules the roost. Other bars and clubs come and go, but, bitch and moan as some may, every gay in West Hollywood still worships at the altar of the Abbey from time to time.
This gorgeous outdoor amphitheatre has been hosting concerts since the LA Philharmonic first played here in 1922. Nestled in an aesthetically blessed fold in the Hollywood Hills, the 18,000-seat venue can bring out the romantic in the terminally cynical. It’s the summer home of the LA Phil, but it’s hosted everyone from the Beatles to Big Bird, and today mixes classical concerts with all manner of rock and pop.
Runner-up: Greek Theatre
Spanning an impressive 4,210 acres, it’s easy to get lost in L.A.’s largest public green space, much of which remains unchanged from the days when Native Americans settled here. For more activity-minded folks, there are myriad attractions (Griffith merry-go-round, L.A. Zoo, the Observatory), plus hiking routes, horseback riding trails and three sets of tennis courts.
Runner-up: Echo Park Lake
“Just like how mama used to make it” is the sentiment behind the restaurant at Mama Shelter, a hotel in Hollywood. A selection of Mama-themed cocktails (Mom’s Night Out, Y Tu Mama’ Tambien, Throw Mama From the Train) are available, along with beer and wine. And then there’s that wonderful rooftop—which is really why you’re here.
Grill ‘Em All
Alhambra’s metal-themed, meat-slinging burger shop doesn’t serve a single patty that’s not obscenely dressed. There’s the Dee Snider, smothered in peanut butt, jam, bacon and sriracha; and the Exciter, made with duck confit, frise, herb goat cheese and cranberry gastrique. But the Napalm Death ($12) tops them all: a medium-rare, half-pound patty drenched in gooey pepperjack, pickled jalapeños and cream cheese, topped off with fried jalapeño poppers and habanero aioli. It’s what we’ll dine on when the valkyries carry us over the rainbow bridge to Valhalla (which may be because it kills us as we’re eating it).
Runner-up: Nook Bistro
This City Terrace market may look like an unassuming bodega, but step inside and you’ll find an extensive assortment of craft beer available by the bottle—all for barely a couple of bucks each.
Runner-up: Society Salon