Late last Thursday night, a pair of weary Vancouverites – the husband and I, namely – arrived at the Standard Hotel in West Hollywood. Depleted of energy and thirsty for festive libations, it took much composure to refrain from petting the furry walls or asking if we could feed the pretty girl in the glass box. Was I dreaming? Had Air Canada slipped a hallucinogen into my vodka tonic?
We were delighted to find out we had been upgraded to a massive, bigger-than-our-own-condo sized suite upon check-in. This may have had something to do with the blatant tiny white lie I told when making our reservation. Something about visiting LA to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary (which isn’t for another 3 months), but I digress. We were even more pleased to discover our massive shower room, large enough to host a small cocktail party (I’m quite certain this has happened).
I always prefer to stay somewhere with character that attracts equally colorful guests. The Standard most definitely hit the mark and made for a great escape to engage in some meaningful conversation over mimosas while floating in the pool. The husband and I are considering a move to LA in the not-so-distant future, so we spent the next 4 days discussing logistics and falling a little more in love with this crazy town.
The paps were snapping pics of this girl last night. I asked the photog who she was – “I don’t know. But she looks like she’s somebody.” #LA
— Urban Cowgirl (@urbancowgirl) June 30, 2013
I’ve written about my LA recommendations before, but I found a few more favorites during this trip to add to my ever-growing list…
Le Petit Four, West Hollywood We stumbled upon this little gem while strolling down Sunset looking for a late lunch. Beautiful, fresh food and a breezy patio perfect for people watching.
Craig’s, Melrose I first heard of this American/Italian eatery while watching Craig Ferguson (no affiliation). Turns out this is one of George Clooney’s favorite LA restaurants and it was the spot for the Argo after party following this year’s Academy Awards. If it’s good enough for The Cloon, it’s good enough for me…and it was.
Taste, Melrose After an exhausting few hours of shopping – in 115 degree heat, I must be mad – this was a godsend. We arrived just in time for happy hour (from 4-6pm daily) and indulged in their to-die-for flatbread.
Chateau Marmont, West Hollywood We booked a table on the garden terrace and spent a few hours peeking nonchalantly (sort of) at the celebs lunching at neighboring tables. First we spotted Common (followed by me discretely mopping the drool from my place setting), then John Krasinski and Emily Blunt who are the most adorable couple on the planet. A-list customers aside, the food is exceptional and the service sublime…so much so that our server sent us a few glasses of rosé on the house.
Spotted: lunching at Chateau Marmont…John Krasinski and Emily Blunt…and Common (which will forever be etched into my spank bank). #fb
— Urban Cowgirl (@urbancowgirl) July 1, 2013
Hotel Café, Hollywood Cool live music venue and the bartender, as he put it, “makes an Old Fashioned that will change your life.” We bought tickets beforehand to see Moxi – a nominal $5 a pop – and chatted with the singer afterwards who I’ll be interviewing in the coming weeks. Stay tuned…
Venice Whaler, Venice I love Venice, which I professed during a visit last year, and nothing makes me happier than rocking up to the Whaler sun-kissed and covered in sand after a day at the beach. Happy hour kicks off at 4.
Cactus Lounge, The Standard, West Hollywood Whether you’re staying at the Standard, or elsewhere on the Sunset strip, stop by for a cocktail in the open air lounge. You’ll notice a fine mix of power lunches, pool revelers and musicians mingling in the Mojave-inspired room. Check out Desert Nights every Wednesday for live music.
Bar Marmont, West Hollywood Again, we found ourselves at Chateau Marmont, this time for dinner. If you’re just popping by for drinks, definitely belly up to the bar (butterflies adorn the ceiling overhead), but if you’re having a meal I recommend the baked artichoke with burrata – the food is almost as decadent as the decor.
Club Nokia, Downtown LA If you’re looking to completely switch gears and get away from the glitterati, see who’s headlining at Club Nokia and take in a show. Think the Commodore Ballroom (for the Vancouverites reading this) in terms of layout, but super modern. We checked out The Roots – who I’ve been dying to see for ages – who had a gaggle of old school hip hop stars join them on stage. MC Lyte, Nelly, Too Short and Naughty by Nature – hello high school.
Hollywood Bowl, where else? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, best live music venue…ever. Pack wine and nibbles, bring a pillow to sit on, and snuggle up with your plus one while you take in a concert under the stars. The moment the sun dips over the Hollywood Hills and the sky turns to pink, there’s truly no better place to be. We were there to see Damian and Stephen Marley along with a long list of other Marley descendants. It doesn’t get much better than dancing to reggae beats on a warm summer night, with a hint of gunja in the air.
Venice Basketball League If you’re fortunate to be hanging out in Venice while the VBL is lighting up the court, count yourself lucky. We just happened to be strolling by on the beach when we caught a glimpse of these men slam dunking like they were born to fly. So naturally, we joined the crowd of onlookers, in awe of their mad skills and lack of gravity.
The Standard, West Hollywood I highly recommend this new favorite, if you’re looking for something a little different, a little iconic and a little bit rock’n’roll.
My server noticed I was reading a Chelsea Handler book and advised me that she’s dating the owner of my hotel. 3 degrees of sep from my idol
— Urban Cowgirl (@urbancowgirl) June 28, 2013
Have any LA recommendations you’d like to add? Post a comment below or shoot me a tweet @urbancowgirl. Also hit me up on Instagram under urbancowgirl for more travel pics and musings around and about Vancouver.