This story first appeared in the January 22, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
From the beaches to the skyscrapers, check out what’s buzzing under the radar in the City of Angels.
Korean barbecue is a must-eat among fashion types, who go out of their way to hit ChoSun Galbee Restaurant (3330 West Olympic Boulevard, 323-734-3330) in K-Town and brave the tourists on Restaurant Row in Beverly Hills for Woo Lae Oak (170 North La Cienega Boulevard, 310-652-3300).
And downtown is no longer just for financial folks or people summoned for jury duty. The Roof Bar at the Downtown Standard Hotel (550 South Flower Street, 213-892-8080) is a haven for the in crowd. The heated pool and movies projected onto a nearby building are making this haute spot even hotter, and not just during L.A. fashion week.
Meanwhile, pockets of trendy Silverlake are worth strolling thanks to gems like Edendale Grill (2838 Rowena Avenue, 323-666-2000), a just-opened American bistro housed in a converted 1924 firehouse. Enjoy old-fashioned cocktails in the former truck bay and comfort food like potpies, pork chops and flatiron steak on the palm-lined patio.
When heading to Venice Beach, take a detour from the boardwalk to charming Abbot Kinney Avenue, where you’ll find midcentury furniture at AK1114 (1114 Abbot Kinney Avenue, 310-399-1453) and Principessa (1405 Abbot Kinney Avenue, 310-450-6696), a whimsical boutique filled with items from local designers C&C California, James Perse, Notice, Michelle Mason and Tree. And right in the middle of town, you’ll find L.A.’s latest spa obsession, Kinara (656 North Robertson Boulevard, 310-657-9188), whose cafe is one of the coolest lunch spots. The new Trina Turk boutique (8008 West Third Street, 323-651-1382) is rife with her colorful, Palm Springs-inspired prints.
Aside from quintessential people-watching spots like Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park and Union Square, the City by the Bay is home to other hot pockets like Hayes Valley, Noe Valley and SoMa (South of Market).
Of course, swanky Pacific Heights is still home to some of the best clothes shopping, like Dress (2271 Chestnut Street, 415-440-3737), where you can find California brands Citizens of Humanity, Joie, 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent and Tyler as well as Catherine Malandrino and Diane von Furstenberg.
Now-happening eateries include Butterfly on Pier 33 at Fisherman’s Wharf (1710 Mission, 415-864-8999) and SoMa’s Town Hall (342 Howard Street, 415-908-3900).
New nightspots like Voda near Union Square (56 Belden Place, 415-667-9242) and Jade (655 Gough Street, 415-869-1900) capitalize on colorful mood lighting and exotic specialty cocktails to attract hipsters.
And don’t leave town without sampling a famous Mission burrito.
It may be L.A.’s laid-back cousin, but San Diego is still a hotbed of cool for those willing to look.
Start at the W Hotel bar (421 West B Street, 619-231-8220), then move on to Café Sevilla (555 Fourth Avenue, 619-233-5979) for tapas and serious salsa dancing on Tuesdays in the Gaslamp district. But at the French-Latin fusion restaurant Candelas (416 Third Avenue, 619-702-4455), diners are not part of the tourist herd that roams two blocks away, but rather those seeking streets less traveled. People who find their way here seem to be intimates of young, handsome owner Alberto Mestre, or fans of the impeccable service.
For glam-seekers, On Broadway (615 Broadway, 619-231-0011) is L.A. glitzy meets New York chic. Housed in a 32,000-square-foot former bank, it features five dance areas. Naturally, Britney Spears and the boys from ’NSync have stopped by.
If big clubs aren’t your thing, try Sidebar (536 Market Street, 619-696-0946), a swank, sign-less urban lounge housed in a historical building with brick walls and a lofted ceiling. Here, good-looking bartenders serve up an impossibly delicious cosmopolitan. Two spots in one, Thin and Onyx (852 Fifth Avenue, 619-235-6699) feature a futuristic neon bar upstairs and a comfortable piano lounge and dance floor below.
Not all shopping down here is Vans and Hurley. Neighbors Niche (621 West Fir Street, 619-615-0782) and Sorella (619 West Fir Street, 619-232-9322) carry hard-to-find brands like Only Hearts, Ladies of the Canyon, Ella Moss, Renee Bardot, Chip and Pepper and Vince.