NFT Los Angeles Hollywood

Hollywood

Essentials
Though Hollywood has cleaned up its act in the last few years, it's still a hodgepodge of neighborhoods. Ethnic enclaves like Thai Town and Little Armenia provide the most fun and best food, but tourists still flock to the Hollywood and Highland area, where they're happy to be ripped off by Supermen and Jack Sparrows. Still, they clear out at night to make room for Hollywood's new "elegant" clubs, where velvet ropes open for anyone willing to pay for bottle service.

Sundries/Entertainment
The star-marked length of Hollywood Boulevard will, it seems, always remain somewhat seedy--although it's nothing like it was in Pretty Woman. Today it's tacky souvenir shops, hooker-shoe stores, bumpin' clubs, and a few surprisingly good restaurants and bars. For the best time in Hollywood, get off the Boulevard itself--but don't miss its great Sunday farmers market. In the summer, catch a flick among the corpses at the See more.

>Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Musso & Frank Grill has been in the martini business since before Hollywood was even Hollywood. Brit expats especially enjoy a pint at The Cat & Fiddle. Get a drink and pick a table that takes advantage of one of the best views of Los Angeles at Yamashiro in the Hollywood Hills. El Floridita is a fun salsa club in a shady strip mall on Fountain and Vine. And The Hotel Café is LA's best loved acoustic venue.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
More Than Sushi

By Valerie Ng
You mean there's more to Japanese culture than slabs of fish resting on chunks of rice? What? I thought Harajuku girls and weird J-pop stars and Pocky sticks were just a dream. But I was wrong. Valerie Ng reports on the dark non-sushi-related underbelly of Japanese society.

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A Guide to Seeing the Stars (Off the Beaten Path)

By Ellen Flaherty
Los Angeles: Where celebrities come to live. You may meet them in a by-street, you may see them in the square but when a crime's discovered, celebrities aren't there. Know what I'm saying? Cue Ellen Flaherty as she fills you in on the hiding secrets and tactical escape methods of the famous and the frightened.

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Yoga Happy LA

By Lori Kozlowski
Yoga: All it takes is a blanket/mat/springboard. But the feeling it engenders will last a lifetime. Yoga: Do you know where your chakras are?

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Metro Connects LA: Los Angeles by Rail

By Jessica Goeller
LA has a Metro and all of its lines are designated by color. That's sweet, and so are you for reading this article. Thanks.

Read More...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Alisha Miranda
Photo:  Alisha Miranda

Umami Burger
Umami stands for the fifth taste bud. Apparently, the Japanese invented a flavor that is savory, sweet, sour, and bitter all at the same time. The burgers created here are an art form, a true testament to modern man coming a long way from learning to use a grill. Biting into an Umami burger (or if you want to prove yourself, order the Manly Burger with bacon lard and fried onion straws) is an outer body experience filled with confusion, lust, and pleasure. You won't have any idea what you've just tasted but you know you'll want more.



Posted By:  Emerson Dameron
Photo:  Emerson Dameron

Upright Citizen's Brigade Theater
If I were cursed with children, I'd require that they a) learn Spanish and b) take an improv class. Spanish is need-to-know shit right now, and there's no better way to loosen up, to throw off social conditioning, than doing improv. It's liberating. As much as its contemporaries resent it, UCB is, right now, at the top of LA's considerable improv heap. It's the most productive farm league for Saturday Night Live (When Lorne Michaels is done with them, they're pathetic husks--see them early), it's the most well-positioned starting ground for stand-ups and actors, and the free show on Sunday nights sells out around the block. Like National Lampoon in the mid-'70s, UCB-LA will go down in history as comedy ground zero circa 2010. And you might actually laugh at some of this stuff. No less than ten minutes 'til the next rape joke. Edgy! Let kids be kids, and enjoy it.



Posted By:  Noah Albert
Photo:  Noah Albert

Hollywood & Highland Center
Although the mall itself is basically kinda annoying (a mall is a mall is a mall, right?), there are high points to be found here. The white elephants are great if only for their scale (they are a recreation of D. W. Griffith's Babylonian arch in Intolerance). There is a subway station here, which comes in handy all the time. And all the super heroes posing for photos in exchange for tips are immediately next to here at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Those guys are definitely essential Hollywood characters.



Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

Koji's Japan
If you are the kind of person who likes to pay the full sticker price for a new car, then Koji's is your place. Not for the thrifty or budget conscious, be forewarned, you will over pay.  Many familiar with Shabu Shabu understand that the food is served raw, leaving the actually cooking portion of the meal up to you. This can be fun, but the portions served don't match the price tag. Also, the service, like wearing a sweater three sizes too big, has room for growth. After the waitstaff spent a few minutes chatting amongst themselves before seating us, they took quite some time to bring the food out. Point to remember, there is nothing for them to cook! Maybe it was because my shirt matched the wall behind me, but my waitress looked beyond me so many times as I tried to flag her down for a refill that it became comical, then painful, then comical again. Best thing on the menu are the assortment of sushi rolls.



Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

El Capitan Theatre
The glitz and glamour of Hollywood are alive and well at the El Capitan Theatre. Owned by Disney, the El Capitan is the best place to catch a Mouse House title. Each show is usually begun by a special act featuring animals from the movie being shown or dancing characters from previous Disney films. An excellent place to bring the kids, each show starts with an old time Organ player who rocks the house like Amadeus. The two drawbacks? Each movie typically plays close to a month and they only have one screen, which makes for a slow turn around. But if you are looking for spectacle in a classically styled theatre, the El Capitan cannot be beat.



Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

Caffe Etc.
In a strange way the name of this little joint reveals quite a lot. The "Etc" implies a sort of laziness, a desire to open a cafe and then just kind of see what happens. As if the idea for this trendy little dive had not been fully formed at the time of opening, so they just left some room to grow. Well, sad to say, there is still room for growth at this establishment. The food is healthy and surely full of nutrients, but devoid of flavor. When you frequent enough restaurants some things happen that are just flukes, but upon a recent visit here they managed to mess up not one, but both of my orders. The ambiance is nice enough, so here's hoping they eventually decide what type of cafe they want to be.  




Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

Yogurtland
There are a few things worth mentioning about Yogurtland that make it stand apart from the hundreds of seemingly similar yogurt shops throughout the city. First off, it's self-serve. That means you can load up on as much or as little yogurt and toppings as you desire. Secondly, they charge you by the ounce rather than by the cup; at thirty-cents an ounce it makes for a pretty decent deal. Thirdly, they have more flavors than any other shop in town. They have flavors both tangy and sweet, seasonal and classic. You may sample the wall of flavors before deciding what to buy and this may very well be the best part of the experience. Never has something as simple as yogurt been so complex.




Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

25 Degrees
The juiciest, thickest, richest, tastiest, fill-in-the-blankness burgers can be found at 25 Degrees. Sure, parking is a pain in the backside and you'll have to walk the sidewalks crammed full of tourists, but the burgers here... oh, yeah... Just give me a second to stop drooling... Mmmmm. Start by picking your patty then add your toppings and your fancy sounding cheese and voilà, a bit of heaven on a plate. The booths are comfortable if you can mange to snag one and the staff is pleasant. A bit on the steep side of the dollar but they've got a good thing and they know it.



Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

Miceli's
The oldest Italian restaurant in Hollywood has somehow managed to stay fresh and true. Sure, the ambiance of this hip little joint is from an age that's passed, to never return; yes, you may be expecting Tony Soprano to bust through the front doors any moment, but something about Miceli's will make you want to start planning your next trip before you even order dinner. The waitstaff take occasional singing breaks and the low lighting makes even the middle-aged men look cool. On top of the better-than-average service and decor, the food stands out as some of the best Italian in Los Angeles. Buon appetito!



Posted By:  adam c. marshall
Photo:  adam c. marshall

The Well
Normally I don't give a rat's ass about LA's penchant for out-of-the-way bars and absent signage. But I have to admit I kind of like The Well's side street locale. It's one of the first bars I went to after arriving in LA. And I tend to find my way back there now and again. Off to the side of the House of Blues building, its interior is simple, classy enough, and dark. And they have a happy hour every night. Every night. I shouldn't even have to continue, but I will. They also have a great jukebox and they serve food--which makes The Well a great midway point if you're bar-hopping. Now, I do find it irksome at times that their bar can be a little simplistic. I once had something like a "Who's on First?" conversation with the bartender over the fact that they don't have simple syrup. But, hey, these are the sacrifices we make. So you substitute an Old Fashioned with a dirty-as-fuck martini, temper the juice with some bar snacks, hope for something killer on the jukebox that'll remind you of better times, and you're well on your way. The night is young.



Posted By:  adam c. marshall
Photo:  adam c. marshall

Loteria Grill
I normally try to avoid those kinds of restaurants. You know the type. You have to look for a valet stand to find the place. It's so-so dressed up as Hollywood fancy sit-down. And everything is overpriced and underwhelming. So I was hesitant when the lovely and simple Loteria Grill of the 3rd Street Farmers Market opened a sit-down place in Hollywood. But when you're young, got some friends, and exist on the weekends, it's only a matter of time before someone drags you to that very place you've been avoiding. But I pleasantly wore my shit-eating grin as Loteria-come-Hollywood proved to be like the Farmer's Market's hip, hotter older sister. The space felt like an appropriate upgrade from the original and the staff was shockingly pleasant and laid back. The food was even a touch better, and God help me if they didn't make a jalapeno martini that made me ponder addiction and LA's wonderful AA community. It's rare that you find a place that you like, they open a "nicer" version in Hollywood, and it's all for the best. You throw in a love of Mexican food and you're in hog heaven--and with only a slightly inflated bill.



Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

101 Coffee Shop
It's dark even during the day and is located near the freeway. This should not be a trendy place to loll away the hours, but it is. It's been used in multiple films which has probably helped its popularity grow among the turtleneck-wearing ultra-hip Hollywood types who frequent the place. However, it's also attached to a hotel, so the constant influx of tourists keeps the place fresh and casual. The food is decently priced and strangely a good portion of the dishes actually seem healthy. Bring a book, a laptop or a notepad, so you look like you're important, even if all you're writing is your grocery list.



Posted By:  Emerson Dameron
Photo:  Emerson Dameron

Bourgeois Pig
There's a cramped coffeeshop called Bourgeois Pig in Chicago, too, adorned with old hardbacks, its menu awash in literary references. LA's BP is adjacent to a newsstand, but its décor owes more to film, with its calculated surrealism, its spooky red-and-blue lighting scheme and its Hollywood-pretty clientele. It's open 'til 2 AM nightly, and is best experienced after sundown. As you order your relatively tame cup of coffee, or maybe some kava tea, the guy behind the counter will commiserate with another customer about the pitfalls of dating women who pop Vicodin. If it's not too crowded, you can sit in the forest room, a back area bedecked to suggest a leafy grove, probably by a former set designer who went insane. It's dark: to read here is to risk eye-strain. But the eavesdropping is first-rate, and no one seems to care if you chill for hours. The Pig sits in happenin' "Hubbardville," the strip across from Scientology's Celebrity Centre, also home to the UCB Theatre and a few fancy restaurants.



Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

The Waffle
A waffle is crispy, light, sweet and warm. Perhaps someone should tell this to the chefs at Waffle, the uber-hip palace of dough on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. The high prices (almost ten dollars for an Eggo-sized dollop) made me wish I had bought a tank of gas instead. I gave two dishes a try. The original waffle and the pecan. What I received was a pancake-like blob and what looked like a deformed baby's pillow with nuts. If there is one thing that should be made with absolute perfection it is the dish your restaurant is named for. Sadly, this is not the case. To the credit of the wait staff, this did not go unnoticed. They promptly gave a free refill of mocha and ordered another round of crispier waffles on the house, as their waffle irons had not yet warmed up. Upon receiving my bill and speaking with my accountant he advised I make a quick trip to Target, buy myself a waffle iron and make myself my own darn breakfast.



Posted By:  Jake Williamson
Photo:  Jake Williamson

Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Just like any other movie screening in LA you have to get there early. In this case, plan to get there about three hours before the movie is even set to begin. What began as a way to raise money for an expiring cemetery, Cinespia's screenings of classic movies (Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer, gates open at 7:30) on the Hollywood Forever Cemetery's mausoleum has become a popular to-do for all types of Angelenos. Having to show up early is made bearable by DJ's spinning and a "bring whatever you want to help enjoy the movie" decree by organizers. But getting there early with amenities is only half the battle. Once in, be prepared to stake and claim your space on the lawn. You will have to fight off a young couple carrying eight chairs for their friends who aren't here yet or some hipster who thought it would be cool to bring two lawn chair cushions for himself; either party will move in and move in quickly at the mere slither of green. People are dying to find just the right spot before the movie begins.



PYT

Posted By:  Andy Gillette
Photo:  Azizi Murray

Jimmy's Lounge
Every Friday at Jimmy's Lounge, Gracie Cakes and MFG present PYT (Pretty Young Things), a popular dance party that draws a big crowd and some pretty big name DJ's. It's definitely got all the elements of a hipster's paradise: A photo booth (by Jiro Photo), free vodka (from 10 to 11) and lots of kids in tight pants and fancy sneakers. The party has been around long enough to be very successful. I've never seen a Friday night that didn't get packed by 11. But old-school partygoers are bound to be a little annoyed by the profusion of new faces and college kids in the crowd. It's always a little hit-or-miss for me. If I show up with a big crowd I always have a great time, but rolling in solo always makes me depressed. There are just too many bad fashion choices and vapid conversations among the kids these days (some would nostalgically say).



Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

Charcoal
There's always something happening at Charcoal. And I don't mean they have bands playing or magic shows. I mean the people there always seem to be up to something. On the few occasions I've been, I've seen guys doing drugs and women performing fellatio on their dates. I can't guarantee that you'll see the same, but hey, this is Hollywood. Anything can happen. The food is satisfactory, but a little expensive for hunks of meat and a few veggies. Or maybe that's the cost of admission for this freak show. The steak knife through the juicy and tender chunks of meat, although a little intimidating, does give some of the dishes here a unique presentation. If the things I've seen here are just flukes, then perhaps this is only a nice laid back trendy little hamburger restaurant. Or maybe not.



Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

Café Audrey
Some things in life are truly black and white. Good coffee is one of them, especially if you add cream. Did I just ruin my lead in for a bad joke? Perhaps. But that doesn't change the fact that the coffee at Cafe Audrey is good. The black and white decor works better than one would expect and the wait staff is pleasant to be around. Playing into the Hollywood theme, this coffee shop has found its niche in an overcrowded cafe market. And that niche is a celebrity theme. Perhaps there are not enough Audrey Hepburn fans, the celebrity on whom this shop's name was based, because the crowd here is never too thick, which makes it an ideal stop to hide away from all those darn tourists and their cameras, who, if they knew this place existed, would probably ruin the atmosphere with their brightly colored shirts. Now that is clearly bad.



Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

Le Oriental Bistro
I have avoided places before, but rarely like I avoided this Hollywood dive. The outside was so rundown and the menu tacked to the window so sun-dried and unappealing in its presentation that I spent two years deliberately walking past it in search of other places more pleasing to my eyes. Then, one day, when good fortune shone my way, I decided to try this restaurant. Not because I was being brave, but because I wanted calamari and the few places that served it in this area were far from perfect. To my complete surprise this restaurant houses the best calamari in Hollywood. Fresh and breaded, served with jalapenos and green onions, this dish is worth a trip to Hollywood on its own. The other dishes on the menu utilize fresh ingredients and there are healthy options as well as traditional oily fare. The interior decor is clean and modern. Everything the outside is not. Go here, eat, spend money, and hopefully if enough of us do, they can afford to paint the front. That's all I want to change about this modern oasis of fried octopus.



Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

D'Lush
The world doesn't need another slushie bar, selling ice and sugar for six bucks a pop. But who cares? D'Lush's employees seem to go a little beyond your normal, disenchanted, teenage ice crusher. The staff work tirelessly to get the general public to come inside, by having at least one if not two people handing out free samples. And these employees don't just stand idly by waiting for you to take something; they push it on you, like it's a fake Rolex watch. Once they get you through the doors, they like to suggest a few things you might try (funny how this is usually the same sample they just handed you). Then once the drink is made they will make you take a sip in front of them to confirm that you like it. Now that's service. If your body is a temple (if Jamba Juice says it, it must be true) then the staff at D'Lush cherish it. However, I can't confirm that there is an ounce of vitamins in these drinks, so drink responsibly.




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