Lisa Kwon is a reporter and writer focused on arts and food culture in Los Angeles. As a born and bred Angeleno, she enjoys writing about the diasporic movements of the 20th century that have made Los Angeles one of the most culturally diverse areas in California. You can find her work in L.A. Taco, Eater, Vice, Cultured Magazine, National Geographic, OpenTable, Prism Reports and many more.
The 23 best wine bars in Los Angeles
In our eyes, a truly great L.A. wine bar has to have three out of four of these things: A thoughtfully curated bottle list, delicious food to go along with it and a stylishly low-key ambience that pointedly doesn’t turn into an absolute madhouse on the weekends. (We’re looking at you, Voodoo Vin and El Prado.) Part of the appeal of wine bars is the ability to strike up a conversation with a knowledgeable bartender, so our list excludes fairly crowded wine bars that are better known as places to see and be seen rather than destinations for those who appreciate (or perhaps want to learn more about) wine. Though the atmosphere at these spots run the gamut from relaxed to slightly pretentious, the complex varietals you’ll sip on will more than make up for whatever’s missing. Whenever you’re not in the mood for yet another upscale cocktail den or a rowdy brewery, these amazing wine bars will be more than happy to pour you a glass. RECOMMENDED: Where to go wine tasting in Los Angeles
The 12 best art galleries in Los Angeles
How lucky are we that L.A. art galleries aren’t bound to a specific hierarchy or discipline? A single trip could introduce us to an emerging artist practicing a new form of craft art and then put us face-to-face with a Mark Bradford painting for a rare showing before it moves into a museum. This flattening of the arts scene allows L.A. galleries to become a little more art-centric than their business-motivated counterparts in other areas of the world. What’s more, the city’s inspiring and ambitious art lies inside buildings that are sandwiched in between, say, a laundromat and a bowling alley in Hollywood. Once upon a time they were film production offices in Culver City or community spaces that taught martial arts in Mid-City. Many of L.A.’s contemporary galleries end up using the past and present lives of their locations to identify themselves, making these spaces feel like our own among art world insiders and collectors. The below museum-caliber galleries are free and open to the public—and most importantly, they want you there regardless of your status in the art market. Looking for more free art? Check out our guide to L.A.’s free museums and free admission days.
Listings and reviews (13)
From the team behind Silverlake’s Psychic Wines, Cafe Triste is an equally buzzy sister wine bar with plenty of natural wines, beautifully plated bites and gorgeous floral arrangements. This unassuming space in Chinatown has transformed into a designer’s art project, elevated with blue hue lights, a partition made of glass blocks and an open kitchen hemmed in by imperial red ceramic tiles. The list of light-bodied wines by the glass are full of aromatic, crisp flavors–ideal for both aficionados and newbies and perfectly suited to the seasonal bar bites. More than anything, the tiny bar is a sight to behold, particularly on the weekends. Behold the high entropy of late-twenty-something musicians and multi-hyphenate creatives prone to stopping mid-conversation to swivel around and see who's making an entrance. Ah, so this is where to go when you’ve graduated from El Prado!
From Ten Five Hospitality, the dazzling group behind Mother Wolf and Ka’Teen, comes a glamorous twist on the British pub. The Chap leans into all the classic tropes of across-the-pond dining and socializing while reminding us that we are still in L.A. (the pub, indeed, does close at some point every day). With head bartender Daniel Torres at the helm, the bar menu offers an expansive list of imported lagers and pale ales as well as an elevated take on your standard suite of gin, whiskey, vodka and tequila-based drinks, charmingly named after the U.K.’s greatest hits (We recommend the trippy yet sublime Comfortably Numb). Grab their buttery crab cakes and their flaky fish with thick-cut chips for the table, too. Between the exposed bricks, the Arctic Monkeys deep cuts (with live music on weekends), and the Sunday Roasts, The Chap will excite the out-of-towner and the Anglophile cousin who lived in London one summer and has since made it their personality.
If the Shepard Fairey name holds no allure, surely Subliminal Projects’ vibrant, celebratory group shows will. For most of its life, the street artist-owned gallery has curated and hosted mixed-media shows with a lineup of local artists whose work is rooted in activism and community healing. On the other end of the spectrum of exhibitions, Fairey has used his connections to showcase notable blips in alternative culture, such as a show of Dee Dee Ramone’s artwork or a celebration of Black Sabbath with portraits, fan photos and other ephemera provided by the heavy metal band’s family and estate. Subliminal Projects is as flashy as it is scrappy. Bring your out-of-town friend who wants to do something equally touristy and cool.
David Kordansky Gallery
There is no denying the business and taste that contemporary art dealer and gallerist David Kordansky drove in the 2000s-era art life in Los Angeles. His 12,000-square-foot Mid-City space has lived many lives before its current iteration as a gallery, beginning as a martial arts studio then becoming a car dealership before it turned into Kordansky’s hub for wildly expressive and innovative artists. The sunkissed viewing room enlivens the large-scale art pieces that eventually find their way in biennials and art fairs where collectors look forward to seeing what currently excites Kordansky. The gallery also boasts storage on-site for private viewings and relationship-building moments with collectors and staff. Visit to see works from his artists like Rashid Johnson, Kathryn Andrews, Jonas Wood and so many others who have stuck with him over the years for his reputed zeal for art.
Blum & Poe
An art tour of Los Angeles isn’t complete without a commute to Blum & Poe, whose founders Tim Blum and Jeff Poe had a critical hand in forming the Culver City Arts District in 2003 when they moved their Santa Monica gallery to a 5,000-square-foot industrial warehouse in the new neighborhood. Once known for its specialty in abstract works, the gallery now represents over 50 artists working across different media. As tastemakers first and foremost, Blum and Poe have particularly made a name for themselves by bringing international artists into the American market. In recent years, they have staged large-scale surveys that look at global art movements, such as the Japanese Mono-ha moment, the life of Korean Dansaekhwa monochrome painters and a revisit of Brazilian modernism.
In 2012, Regen Projects made a splash in the L.A. art world when it moved to Hollywood, a neighborhood that raised eyebrows among heavyweight gallerists who were situated in Culver City and westward. What’s more, founder Shaun Caley Regen turned the vacant site into a museum-caliber destination fit for large-scale exhibitions with a bold, stacked structure by local architect Michael Maltzan. Regen Projects remains one of the most influential galleries in Los Angeles to nurture international artists working in different media. With 20,000 square feet of space, it’s a no-brainer home for installation artists such as Anish Kapoor, Liz Larner and Doug Aitken. Despite whatever New York has to say about us, Hollywood was always high-culture.
LAXART’s nonprofit status affords it the freedom to raise more questions than to provide answers about the way we look at our societal and political issues through art. Located in West Hollywood, the alternative art space has some of the most thrilling inquiry-driven showcases of multidisciplinary art forms. Formerly a recording studio where Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong and Jimi Hendrix recorded albums, LAXART primarily shows sculptural works but also uses the space to organize poetry readings, jazz performances and panel discussions around moving images. It’s a gallery that befits a simmering demographic of avant-garde thinkers and researchers who are fascinated by the city’s conceptual art scene.
Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles
An indelible powerhouse in Los Angeles, Hauser & Wirth is the commercial art gallery you take your out-of-state friend to prove that the city is a necessary hub for the market. Why else would the esteemed and unshakeable family business make L.A. an important part of their global chain? In any given season, the vast former flour mill curates a wide range of work across its indoor and outdoor areas, heralding the works of established greats and newcomers alike. A footprint like Hauser & Wirth’s also allows for bigger programs and conversations around sustainability and conservation, which it organizes on a regular basis. Committed to walking the walk, the gallery has a garden that offers workshops with local gardeners as well as a chicken coop with nearby beds of vegetables that are used to support the on-site restaurant, Manuela.
New Image Art
Founded in 1994, New Image Art is one of the oldest artist-run venues in Los Angeles. It has become a reputable space for emerging, underrepresented contemporary artists to debut in front of an audience that’s passionate about seeing new artistic possibilities. Before they became fixtures at the Hammer Museums and Blum & Poes of the world, artists like Tauba Auerbach, Umar Rashid and Barry McGee made their debuts at New Image Art. The gallery has also embraced the notion that contemporary art thrives in less conventional places; this has led to past collaborations with Ed Templeton, Cleon Peterson and Chris Johanson, all of whom have roots in skate and alternative culture.
Commonwealth and Council
Young Chung’s gallery began in his apartment in Koreatown. A space for emerging artists of color, queer artists and artists with intersecting identities, he turned his living and dining rooms into hubs for colleagues to work and exhibit on the weekends. Chung eventually brought this ethos of warmth and camaraderie into the current space and created a showroom for those who would otherwise be left out of legacy or mainstream mega-galleries. At Commonwealth and Council, community matters just as much as the display. You will find that many of Chung’s network of artists—from Gala Porras-Kim to Beatriz Cortiz—will always find time for intimate solo shows with Chung, even amidst biennials, art fairs and large-scale exhibitions.
The Mistake Room
Since 2014, the Mistake Room has been pioneering the alternative model for how to show the work of Latinx artists beyond displaying for the sake of representation. Founders César García-Alvarez and Glenn Kaino want to build context around Latinx art and help visitors to grasp the richness of art practice that has Latin American roots. That isn’t to say the Mistake Room hasn’t dipped into other breathtaking exhibitions; in its founding years, the independent space organized retrospectives of pivotal institutional figures like Vivian Suter and Ed Clark by showing their earliest forms, which generated conversations about such artists’ impacts and their ties to mid-tier or smaller gallery spaces.
UTA Artist Space
That a top-tier Hollywood talent agency is behind one of L.A.’s most exciting galleries may raise some eyebrows, but UTA Artist Space has made earnest attempts to even the playing field for artists who have historically been shut out from white art institutions. Designed by Ai Weiwei, who has not worked on any other architectural projects in the U.S. since, the gallery consistently invites bright talent into its balmy, skylit space. Though it had its initial missteps (it first set up in Boyle Heights before community members successfully organized against neighborhood displacement from artwashing) it eventually settled into its more appropriate space in Beverly Hills and hired Arthur Lewis as their creative director to curate and orchestrate narrative-driven exhibitions. Most recently, UTA Artist Space has shown Blitz Bazuwale, Ferrari Sheppard, Vaughn Spann and other emerging, in-demand artists. Its Beverly Hills location is right where it had always needed to be, giving both collectors and the public a look at how artists of color can get their shine in a traditionally white-dominated market.
20 things in L.A. that happen to you when you’re 20 minutes away from your destination
The cliche that it takes 20 minutes to get anywhere in L.A. has transcended its origin in Clueless. It couldn’t be farther from the truth, of course, yet almost three decades later we still live, die and drive by it. In honor of the mantra we accept as a challenge, here are 20 things that happen when you are 20 minutes away from your destination. 1. Halfway into your commute, you’ve resolved to become a biker. 2. Five minutes and two traffic accidents later, you’ve changed your mind. 3. You can get to your doctor who is five minutes away, but it takes you 15 minutes to find any parking. 4. You’ve muttered under your breath over the new luxury apartment complex that appears to have gone up overnight, despite your passing by the lot for five consecutive months. 5. At 5am, it’ll take you 20 minutes to get from Downtown to Santa Monica for a morning bike ride. You think about this at 5pm, when it takes you 20 minutes to go a few blocks in Santa Monica. Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Rihards Sergis 6. You have definitely cried. Multiple times. And they have been some of the best cries of your life. 7. You understand that when your friend says she’s five minutes away, you need to add an extra 15 to that. 8. But because of an unexpected backup on your end, you have had to coordinate with your friend on who will get to the dinner reservation first and thus be responsible for stalling the host. 9. You’ve thought about what your vanity license plate would be after you saw that
24 things you post online as you transition from a transplant to an Angeleno
Still somewhat new to L.A.? If you haven’t yet, you will tire of documenting your back-to-back nights out in Hollywood on Instagram. You will forget to take selfies at the tops of your hikes, and you will have unearthed all the “hidden gems” shared by TikTok users. In time, Los Angeles will no longer be your social media playground but rather a rare place of tranquility. Here’s how it happens. 6 months in: A Twitter rant about all the tickets you’ve incurred because of the West Hollywood parking signs. You will go viral. 3 years in: A humblebrag tweet about knowing—but not sharing—the best non-metered residential street for when you want to walk up and down Fairfax. You will have people texting you afterwards. 2 years in: An Instagram story of the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 405 on your way to LAX the day before Thanksgiving. 9 years in: An Instagram story of your whiskey on the rocks inside an empty Glendale tavern the day before Thanksgiving. Oh, and you’ve probably solely flown out of Burbank ever since. 1 year in: A moody tweet lamenting having moved to L.A. on a rainy day, a weather phenomenon that you were hoping to leave behind.6 years in: Replying to your L.A. friends’ rainy day pics on Instagram with a string of heart-eyed emojis, followed by “best time of year.” 3 weeks in: A TikTok tour of the Last Bookstore, ending with a video of you in the book tunnel.18 months in: A TikTok book haul of everything you picked up from the “Los Angeles” table at Vroman’s. Phot
How Crenshaw Dairy Mart has promoted cultural healing through art in South L.A.
For two years before Crenshaw Dairy Mart became an art gallery, the Inglewood lot remained a vacant space in which cofounders Patrisse Cullors, alexandre ali reza dorriz and noé olivas spent their time saging, conversing with neighbors and praying in their new gathering place. Back in 1965, just one day after the Watts Uprising, the original Crenshaw Dairy Mart opened its doors as a local convenience store for Black residents on the eastern border of the recently desegregated neighborhood. Before that, the building was constructed exactly a hundred years after Juneteenth 1865. All of this history remains in the gallery today. “We really sat with one another to reflect on what it means to preserve the Crenshaw Dairy Mart,” says Cullors, who was also one of the cofounders of the Black Lives Matter movement. “There’s a reason that we didn’t change the sign or the name.” Since opening in 2020—and with the most recent addition of executive director Ashley Blakeney—Crenshaw Dairy Mart has featured the work of incarcerated artists, promoted healing through ongoing prayer and urban gardening workshops, and raised funds for impacted cultural workers in South L.A. Courtesy of the Crenshaw Dairy Mart. Photograph: Darieus Morrow.Lighting Up the Sky and Pray for LA, Crenshaw Dairy Mart, led by cofounder noé olivas. Installation prototype, Mural, 2020–2021. It was always Crenshaw Dairy Mart’s mission to nourish, first and foremost. Cullors and dorriz initially had their sights set