May 1, 2015

Food, Film & Fun: My L.A. Favorites



Okay, so I'm biased because I live here.

Having said that, I'm the best effing tour guide you'll ever have in the city of Los Angeles. So much so that I'm going to have to break this one down into categories:

 On the Cheap:

For those of you on a budget, here's a great way to navigate around the wonderful city of lost angels without breaking the bank:

Cinespia Movies: If you're visiting between May-October, every Saturday the Hollywood Forever Cemetery features a movie night with a photobooth, DJ's and usually surprise special guests from the movie itself. Again, bring blankets, munchies, drinks, chairs, etc. Tickets are about $14, but get them early because they sell out. http://cinespia.org/


Twilight Concerts at the Pier: If you happen to be visiting LA during the months of July-September, every Thursday night there is a free concert at the Santa Monica Pier from 7pm-10pm. Bring your booze, snacks and a blanket and catch some tunes on the beach. http://tcs.dola.com/



The W Hotel: Every Sunday night, the W hotel in Hollywood hosts jazz night, where there are live music performances (sometimes surprise guests) and burlesque dancers in their lounge area known as The Living Room. There is no cover charge, and it's a great show. www.stationhollywood.com

Malibu Wines: If you like wine-tasting, be sure to check out Malibu Wines on Mulholland. It's a great place to bring your own lunch and spend the day. They have picnic benches, live music, fire pits and a great vibe. You can either buy a bottle of wine from them or buy a 4-wine flight tasting for $16.
http://malibuwines.com/



BYOB: If you want to bring your own beer/wine without paying a corkage fee, Gaby's Mediterranean on Venice Blvd in West LA is a great spot with an outdoor wooden patio, heat lamps, hookahs, and really good, affordable Mediterranean food. Not to be confused with their takeout locations, this restaurant is located at 10445 Venice Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90034.
http://www.gabysexpress.com/

Pearl's: Pearl's Liquor Bar in Hollywood has free movie night every Sunday night at 8:30pm on the roof deck with champagne, popcorn and candy (Just be sure to make a reservation a few days prior.) They also have live music on Mondays from 8pm-10pm. http://pearlsliquorbar.com/

Cha Cha Chicken: An adorable outdoor BYOB tiki restaurant next to Santa Monica beach with good home style caribbean cooking. http://chachachicken.com/

Hollywood:

If you're out and about in Hollywood, I'd highly recommend:

Davey Wayne's: A 70's themed bar with velvet couches, classic records, old soda cans and cigarette packs hanging on the wall, hammocks, 70's music, roller skating shows, and a bar made out of a trailer that serves alcoholic snow cones! To enter the bar, you go through a secret entrance in their 70's themed garage (a fridge!) Amaze. http://goodtimesatdaveywaynes.com/ 

Red O:  Delicious Mexican tapas restaurant on Melrose with very fancy ambiance. http://www.redorestaurant.com/

Rainbow Bar and Grill: Rock and roll bar/restaurant on Sunset equipped with vast amounts of concert posters and killer pizza. http://www.rainbowbarandgrill.com/

Skybar (at the Mondrian Hotel): Great for poolside lounging/drinks.  https://www.morganshotelgroup.com/mondrian/mondrian-los-angeles/eat-drink/skybar

Santa Monica:

My favorite Santa Monica spots:

Manchego: Great Spanish tapas restaurant and you can bring your own wine Mon-Thurs. http://www.manchegosm.com/ 


Sonoma Wine Garden: Located on the roof of the Santa Monica Mall, right on the ocean. Gorgeous views. http://www.sonomawinegarden.com/

Warszawa: Great spot for happy hour with a really cool back patio with couches, Christmas lights, fire pits and a giant projector screen. http://www.warszawarestaurant.com/ 

The Penthouse (at the Huntley Hotel): Fancy rooftop bar if you're feeling classy.
http://www.thehuntleyhotel.com/penthouse-restaurant.php

Downtown:

Perch: A French restaurant/bar that has live music, art painting and jewelry sales on their roof deck, which overlooks all of downtown Los Angeles. www.perchla.com

(And in the winter, they have ice skating next door at Pershing Square for $8.)



Westwood:

iPic Movies: A few miles east of Santa Monica is Westwood, where the new iPic luxury movie theater just opened. For $25 you get to watch a movie in a suede reclining couch with blankets and your own personal waiter, who serves you anything from their full dinner menu and full bar. And you get free popcorn. I'll never go back to a regular movie theater again.
https://www.ipictheaters.com/showtimes-and-tickets.aspx?cinemaid=0503

Silverlake/Los Feliz:

Desert Rose: My favorite restaurant in the Silverlake/Los Feliz area (and maybe of all time). Red lights, couches, fruit and cheese plates, champagne drinks, you name it. www.desertroserestaurant.com



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