Los Angeles

7 Openings That Prove Hollywood's Vinyl District Is the City's Hottest New Neighborhood

A slew of luxury hotels and restaurants have opened in recent months.

Photo courtesy of KA'TEEN
Photo courtesy of KA’TEEN
Photo courtesy of KA’TEEN

Like so many of us, Hollywood took pandemic shutdowns as an opportunity to reinvent itself, shedding its former reputation as a gimmicky, overtouristed neighborhood and emerging in recent months as a thriving center, with an abundance of exciting new restaurants, hotels, and nightlife options. A section of the neighborhood even earned a new name: the Vinyl District is marked by Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard on the north and south, and by Schrader Boulevard and Vine Street on the west and east, and seeks to honor the neighborhood’s iconic history while inviting a new wave of artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs to play and stay in the area.

Hollywood has always enjoyed a slightly more debaucherous reputation than the rest of the city, famed for its clubs that once attracted hard-partying stars. While there’s still plenty of fun to be had in the Vinyl District, it takes a choose-your-own-adventure approach to nightlife, offering options that range from intimate upscale dining to rooftop clubs with mechanical bulls.

Newcomers are joining local favorites like Beauty & Essex, Mama Shelter, and vinyl paradise, The Record Parlour. Just on the outskirts of the district are L’antica Pizzeria da Michele, a revered Neapolitan institution that came west in 2019; the high-end butchery and restaurant Gwen; and the new Godfrey Hollywood Hotel, which boasts the largest rooftop in the area. In 2022, the Vinyl District will welcome Mother Wolf, chef Evan Funke’s ode to Roman cuisine, within the revitalized, art deco Citizens News venue, a 48,000-square-foot space that will host events as well as high-end restaurants, lounges, and private studios. Here are seven more spots to bookmark for the next time you’re in the area:

Photo by Michael Mundy, courtesy of Bar Lis
Photo by Michael Mundy, courtesy of Bar Lis
Photo by Michael Mundy, courtesy of Bar Lis

Thompson Hotel

The luxury lifestyle Thompson Hotel brand opened their first California location in Hollywood this fall. The 11-story hotel offers a dose of refinement on Wilcox Ave, with 190 guest rooms and 16 suites, a lobby lounge and bar, plus a rooftop pool with the Mediterranean-inspired Bar Lis, featuring stunning views of the Hollywood Hills alongside cocktails and canapes. Early next year, the hotel will debut Mes Amis, a new French dining spot from award-winning chef and pastry artist Lincoln Carlson.

Photo courtesy of Grandmaster Recorders
Photo courtesy of Grandmaster Recorders
Photo courtesy of Grandmaster Recorders

Grandmaster Recorders

Transforming an iconic recording studio that once hosted the likes of David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Kanye West, Grandmaster Recorders positions itself as one of the best day-to-night options in the area, with an innovative Italian-meets-Australian-meets-American menu helmed by Aussie couple Monty Koludrovic and Jaci Koludrovic, with highlights like caviar cannolis, sourdough cavatelli with slow-cooked Margra lamb, and guazzetto di aragosta per due, a fragrant seafood soup with Maine lobster, mussels, clams, and lobster knuckle grits. There’s also a late-night rooftop where you can enjoy bites and cocktails on tap, and the adjoining 71 Studio Bar will eventually host live music acts in a space that honors the recording studio’s past with gold vinyl records, rock’n’roll memorabilia, and a four-foot disco ball that gleams from the ceiling.

Photo courtesy of Desert 5 Spot
Photo courtesy of Desert 5 Spot
Photo courtesy of Desert 5 Spot

Tommie Hollywood

Just opened in December 2021, think of tommie as the Thompson’s relaxed, minimalist brother, offering a casual boutique experience across 212 rooms and seven suites, with rooms as low as $150 per night. The lobby features a self check-in station and a casual bar where you’ll catch guests mixing, mingling, and working during the day. Chef Wes Avila (Guerrilla Tacos, Angry Egret Dinette) serves as executive chef of the hotel’s signature KA’TEEN restaurant, a Tulum-inspired garden space with overflowing palms, string lights, wood accents, and fire dancers who shimmy by tables after dark. The menu honors Yucatan’s rich culinary history with dishes like lamb neck barbacoa, a nopalito salad, and scallop ceviche tostada, plus a cocktail list that leans heavy on agave spirits. On the rooftop is Desert 5 Spot, a quirky Palm Springs- and ‘70s-inspired lounge with a pool, mechanical bull, games, and jewel-toned vintage furniture. An in-house honkytonk band provides the late-night soundtrack.

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit Los Angeles
Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit Los Angeles
Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit Los Angeles

Immersive Van Gogh

Many were suspicious when Amoeba Hollywood was forced to vacate its long-held location on Sunset Blvd, worried that the iconic indie record store-already struggling amid a drop in CD sales in the 2000s-might not survive a location change. Thankfully, those fears have been put to rest and the new Amoeba location in the El Centro complex in downtown Hollywood is just two blocks east and two blocks north of the original location. The original location has since been converted into the Immersive Van Gogh exhibition, which features 500,000 cubic feet, 60,000 frames of video, and 90 million pixels of projections that animate the famous Dutch painter’s works, including The Potato Eaters, Starry Night, Sunflowers, and more. The exhibit includes a Sunflower Bar installation by David Korins and a yoga class where students are immersed in Van Gogh’s masterpieces while they move through poses. In March 2022, a similar immersive exhibit featuring the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is expected to debut.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Danielle Dorsey is the LA editor at Thrillist.

Los Angeles

How to Spend a Weekend in Topanga Canyon

Nature and the arts collide in this beloved canyon community.

Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and known for its vibrant creative community, Topanga is one of Los Angeles’s most prized destinations for art and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And while LA boasts its own sprawling landscape of fun to tap into, you’d be remiss to miss a chance to explore this tucked-away collection of state parks, and cafes, and restaurants-especially when it all rests just 20 minutes away from the city. From a quaint caf√© with dazzling canyon views to a world-renowned, open-air theatre, here are the best ways to pass some time in Topanga now.

Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray

Friday

Book dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray
Owner Lucille Yaney opened this iconic restaurant in 1975 after spotting the property on a drive through the canyon with her late husband Ralph, and it’s safe to say she had a good eye. The land perfectly fits into Yaney’s vision of a romantic, alfresco dining space with tables tucked into cozy nooks and gazebos, all beneath canapes and fairy lights. Today, Yaney co-owns the venue with executive chef consultant Brad Miller. Together, they continue to fulfil the restaurant’s original mission to serve pure, natural foods reflective of the season’s best. That approach appears in dishes like 8-Hour Black Vinegar Braised Short Rib with creamy rosemary polenta, duck bacon Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and fig jam; Roasted Mushroom Toast with oyster mushrooms and sherry tarragon cream; and Beets & Whipped Black Pepper Creme Fraiche. Consider the carbs here. Pastas and sauces are made in-house and from scratch, as is the bread (available regular or gluten-free), an order of which you won’t want to miss. Check out the wine list, too, which offers a robust organic and biodynamic selection that has helped the restaurant garner some impressive accolades in recent years.

Check into Topanga Canyon Inn
In addition to plenty of excellent Airbnbs available to rent in the Canyon, there’s Topanga Canyon Inn, a charming bed and breakfast comprised of two Mediterranean-style buildings-Casa Blanca and Casa Rosa-both built by the owners. Guests can enjoy bespoke design details in each room, along with gorgeous mountain views from their own private balcony. Come morning, join other travellers for breakfast, served daily at Casa Rosa.

Saturday

Get coffee at Café on 27
Ready your camera for a coffee date at this AM eatery and caf√©, where ample (and busy) outdoor seating offers some of the Canyon’s best views. A full breakfast and lunch menu is available (complete with hearty orders like eggs Benedicts, soups, and club sandwiches), but for lighter morning fare, spring for a pastry and any of their specialty drinks, such as the turmeric latte or Moroccan mocha.

Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock

Hike Topanga State Park
Spanning 11,000 acres and 36 miles of trails, Topanga State Park is the largest state park within the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the world’s largest parks within city limits. Visitors can access the grounds via more than 60 entrances. Once on the trails, enjoy sweeping vistas while exploring the region’s range of plants, habitats, and wildlife, including several resident bird species.

Grab lunch at Topanga Living Café
Guided by their Topanga upbringing and need for a community gathering spot with great eats, sibling team Agustina Ferguson and Bayu Suryawan opened this daytime eatery in 2016. Ever since, locals and visitors have found refuge in the caf√©’s warm, airy space and nourishing, hyper-fresh fare-all California-inspired with global influences. Check it out in plates like the Island Style, a breakfast salad with Balinese corn fritters, a poached egg, and house-made chilli jam, or the tacos (Baja Fish or Baja Shrimp, Carne Asada, or Kabocha Squash), made-to-order and served on handmade tortillas. If you’re seeking something shareable, try the Farmers Market Crudite, a seemingly humble order whose bright beet hummus reminds us that eating your vegetables is, indeed, very cool. And take a drink to-go. The team here takes great pride in their coffee (organic espresso, courtesy of their iconic pink La Marzocco machine) and a lineup of made-to-order smoothies, juices, and teas. Shop your way through town
Visitors can stroll through the town centre’s most popular shops for various fun finds, including Moona Star, Pebbles, and Topanga Homegrown. Be sure to stock up on specialty, local snacks at Canyon Gourmet and satiate your sweet tooth while you’re at it. The organic soft-serve there is a must. Pro tip: Top it with any of their artisanal syrups for a winning combo, namely, the vanilla with cardamom.

Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Catch a show at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
This beloved open-air theatre has hosted productions for decades and is recognized worldwide for its Shakespeare interpretations. In addition to its annual summer season, which includes works like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the venue hosts concerts, rehearsals, and classes throughout the year for budding actors and playwrights of all ages.

Snag a slice at Endless Colour
This family-run pizza joint specializes in from-scratch pies with clever topping combinations (think purple potatoes, fontina, and truffle oil in the Purple Molly Potato or spinach, leeks, and goat cheese in the Super Greens). Bring some friends, order a pie or two, and check out the drinks list, which includes offbeat options like orange wines and hard kombucha.

Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery

Sunday

Check out The Canyon Bakery’s “Sunday Funday”
Situated on the grounds of the aforementioned Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, this bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies using locally sourced, whole grain flours. There’s a takeout window on Sundays, from 9:30 am until the bakery sells out. A strong following lines up for favourites, such as whole grain croissants and gluten-free pizza, so be sure to arrive early to get your fill.

Try tacos to-go at La Chingona
On your way out of town, grab some tacos at La Chingona, where a team puts forth fresh, organic, gluten- and dairy-free tacos. Orders range to include options like grass-fed beef (carne asada), shrimp (wild-caught), and soy chorizo and can be fashioned into plates beyond tacos, too (think tostadas, salads, and bowls). Open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; this taco stand sees good demand. Plan accordingly, pending your travels, especially to savour an order or two of the churros.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor for Thrillist.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.