Where the Young Turks Go to Drink
In honor of our Next Gen winners, a look at where the on-the-rise industry players like to play after hours.
Not everyone is down for power breakfasts. Good thing L.A. isn't lacking in spots for power cocktails. One spot still beats them all: SOHO HOUSE (9200 W. Sunset Blvd.). A year and half in, the members-only Brit import -- with its clubby atmosphere, film screening series and killer views -- remains the hands-down draw for Hollywood's under-35 crowd. "That's the go-to," says Universal Studios' Maradith Frenkel, a Next Gen pick. Adds a fellow list maker, Funny or Die's Chris Bruss: "There's always a screening or an event followed by dinner. Everybody is there."
Three new places are also looking to grab a late-hours industry following. Opened in mid-October, THE WRITERS ROOM (6685 Hollywood Blvd.) boasts both of-the-moment Hollywood investors and
old-school cred. In the 1940s, the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner sipped drinks in this dimly lit 1,000-square-foot space, which was then the back room of Musso & Frank. Today, the original zinc-topped bar has been maintained, but the new owners -- led by nightlife impresarios Nur Khan (NYC's The Electric Room) and Abdi Manavi (L.A.'s Supper Club) -- have added a row of tall booths and a new entrance through the back parking lot. Backers include founding partner Holly Wiersma (producer of The Son of No One and Factory Girl), actor Jason Segel and screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed.)
"We got a great group of friends together and opened this place with the inspiration of what Hollywood once was," says another investor, Boardwalk Empire actor Jack Huston. "We don't want a club atmosphere. We just want to be a bar where people can come and drink and enjoy one another's company."
In West Hollywood, the Standard Hotel (8300 Sunset Blvd.) is about to get a jolt of energy in the form of imminently arriving bar SMOKE & MIRRORS from Manhattan party kingpins DJ Paul Sevigny (brother of Chloe) and Andre Saraiva. Their new spot, located in the lobby-level space formerly occupied by Purple Lounge, is a follow-up to the pair's Hollywood pop-up club Paul & Andre, one of the hottest scenes of the past six months. One regular describes the now-closed Paul & Andre -- which drew everyone from Shia LaBeouf and Aziz Ansari to Mick Jagger -- as "major pretension on the way in, minimal once on the inside and a hell of a lot of fun."
Another hotel is getting a hip reboot. The Thompson Beverly Hills (9360 Wilshire Blvd.), which shut down its BondSt restaurant last year, is reopening the space as a 125-seat bistro called CAULFIELD'S. The first event is a private book party Nov. 9 for fashion writer Rose Apodaca's biography Fred Hayman: The Extraordinary Difference, hosted by Oscar-nominated costume designer Arianne Phillips (Walk the Line) and fashion designer Jeremy Scott. We hear that the management, which poached a VIP ambassador from the Standard Hotels, is consciously going after Soho House's young creatives crowd and planning to open a second-floor lounge as well.
If a month equals an eon in the nightlife world, then these still-going-strong bars and clubs win an award for longevity. Year-old HEMINGWAYS (6356 Hollywood Blvd.) boasts large leather booths and walls lined with nearly 10,000 books and several vintage typewriters. Look for dancing in the middle of the room and managers and writers talking shop on the patio around mirror-topped tables.
Justin Timberlake had his Friends With Benefits wrap party in Hollywood at the SAYERS CLUB (1645 Wilcox Ave.), where entry is gained through a door inside Papaya King hot dogs. There's little room for dancing, with seating oriented toward a stage that elevates close to midnight when the musical acts come on. This SBE venue, opened in June, draws everyone from working actors (Leighton Meester, Chris Pine) and aspiring ones to music and indie film producers. Programming maestro Jason Scoppa, formerly of Bardot, has booked the likes of indie band Shiny Toy Guns and singer Nikka Costa.
The tiny, dark two-year-old ROGER ROOM (370 N. La Cienega Blvd.) has intimate booths conducive to talking shop and "some of the best cocktails in town," says Chad Miller, creative director of THR Key Art Award-winning AV Squad, who likes the Dueling Banjos with bourbon, maraschino liqueur and chartreuse.
Opened in May, THE BEVERLY (8713 Beverly Blvd.) -- Thursday and Saturday nights only – is much more raucous, with dancing atop booths and a biz contingent tilting toward agents and producers. Former Top Chef contestant Marcel Vigneron has crafted liquid nitrogen cocktails.
Playing Yahtzee on customized ostrich-leather boards and bowling on two vintage lanes are among the activities at the gentlemen's club-like THE SPARE ROOM (7000 Hollywood Blvd.), opened just before this year's Oscars inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been in and Blue Valentine producer Jamie Patricof had his birthday party there. Downtown bar THE VARNISH (118 E. 6th St.) offers outstanding mixology (and next-door access to Cole's restaurant and its classic French dip sandwiches.) Regular Ryan Gosling was recently spotted there bumming cigarettes.
To start the night on more than an empty stomach, young industry types hit a short list of hot restaurants. Perennials include the garden at CHATEAU MARMONT, BOA STEAKHOUSE on the Strip, KATSUYA in Hollywood and West Hollywood Italian DOMINICK'S. Newer magnets are Mexican RED O on Melrose, A-FRAME, serving upscale picnic fare in Mar Vista, and WeHo's EVELEIGH. The restaurant -- with its seasonal fare and spacious patio -- is a favorite of Next Gen-ers Brandon Riegg of NBCUniversal and Ramon Wilson of Relativity.
Perhaps the hardest table in town though is INK (8360 Melrose Ave.), the new restaurant from Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio, where reservations are booked at least a month out. Says Next Gen-er and UTA agent Jenny Maryasis, already a devoted fan: "Culinary engineer is the best way to describe what Voltaggio does; the menu is unbelievably inventive," says Maryasis. "Every time I'm there, I see producers, execs and other agents. It's my new favorite place."
BEYOND COCKTAILS: The under-the-radar young Hollywood hotspots, from a vegan cafe to Leo's favorite sports bar.
PRISM: The art gallery -- Jet set (Carine Roitfeld) meets Hollywood (Mary-Kate Olsen, Gia Coppola). David LaChapelle art show through Nov. 5. (8746 W. Sunset Blvd.)
CAFÉ GRATITUDE: The vegan hub -- Pesto with kelp noodles, raw cacao smoothies. Jake Gyllenhaal, Olivia Wilde, Paramount execs. (639 N. Larchmont Blvd.)
BELMONT: The post-college bar -- Assistants' hangout, mostly agency ones. Open until 2 a.m. (747 N. La Cienega Blvd.)
GOAL: The sports bar -- Elevated bar food. Leonardo DiCaprio is a regular. Cameo on Entourage. (8334 W. 3rd St.)
FAMILY BOOKSTORE: The film/lit hub -- Readings by Miranda July. Books on Werner Herzog. Same owners as Cinefamily. (436 N. Fairfax Ave.)
BIRDS: The comedy cafe -- Drinks and eats before and after Upright Citizens Brigade. (5925 Franklin Ave.)