There is a city where dreams come true and where all that glitters is gold. LA has never quite made it to the hipster east coast, neighbourhood scene and the emerging “WeHo” is a new idea for both visitors and natives.
WEHO — West Hollywood — is the New York style acronym given to the area that sits between Hollywood on the east and Beverly Hills to the west, and is fast emerging as THE spot for street style, youth, design, hip hotels, trendy dining and creativity. The Sunset Strip is the center of Los Angeles nightlife, home to legendary venues like The Roxy Theatre, The Comedy Store and the Whisky a Go Go; exclusive nightclubs like Bootsy Bellows and 1OAK; haute-cuisine restaurants like The Church Key and Eveleigh; elegant cocktail bars like the Tower Bar and the Sunset Trocadero; and classic dives like Saddle Ranch and the Rainbow.
We’ve rounded up the best places to eat, drink, sleep and visit.
Dimmed lights and beaded curtains set the stage for the ultra cool restaurant 24/7 at Rudy's barbershop and a poolside desert café with healthy smoothies and traditional burgers sure to satisfy any craving, any time. For vegans visit Gracias Madre for delicious Mexican dishes, or meat lovers can tackle the huge portions at the Saddle Ranch and roast s’mores on the fire pit.
Hidden away on La Cienega, right next door to the Largo Theatre, is WeHo’s speakeasy bar – The Roger Room. The award-winning bartenders are what make the craft cocktails here so exceptional. If you fancy a spot of karaoke head to Blind Dragon or visit the restaurant where Jim Morrison was thrown out of urinating of the bar and Janis Joplin had drinks on the night of her death. Barney’s Beanery is still packed nightly with a local crowd seeking cheap eats, strong drinks and a huge list of draft beers.
West Hollywood’s Design District, less than one square mile of beautiful storefronts and tree-lined streets, has the highest concentration of design businesses on the entire West Coast and is the home to the only Moschino and Alberta Ferretti stores in the United States, the flagship ateliers of Stella McCartney and Alexandra von Fürstenberg, and exclusive retailers like Maxfield. Listen to free acoustic music in an awesome setting at the Andaz Hotel. Their Under the Covers series happens monthly on Wednesday nights. If books are your thing meet your favorite author, listen to a reading and get an autographed book or a picture at Book Soup. The famous bookstore features author readings most nights a week, and admission is always free.
West Hollywood’s hotels are renowned for their hip bars, gorgeous pools, fine restaurants and luxurious suites. Have a summery cocktail at Mondrian’s Skybar; catch a live acoustic set during Desert Nights at The Standard, Hollywood; or bask in the lush private grounds of the Sunset Marquis. You’ll find a different scene at every hotel, each with its own crowd, each offering a different way to experience West Hollywood. The bright young things all flock to The Standard, delighting in the hotel's "timeless modern" design, style and offbeat sensibility. The hotel smacks guests in the face with a live DJ at the Front Desk, an outdoor pool with a sundeck covered in cobalt blue AstroTurf. For a sleek and edgy spot, WeHo's hippest hotel The Grafton, is your ultimate go-to. With just 104 rooms, you get the taste of exclusivity and can party like a rock star by night or, sleep-in during the day right in the heart of L.A.’s historical “sweet spot”. The Grafton is the perfect place to stay and immerse yourself in the legendary glamour, good times and rock n’ roll.
Don’t just take our word for it. We checked in with native Californian, Jean Paul Zapata for his top tips.
“It’s the gay mecca of Southern California . I love how the history of Sunset Strip shaped Weho: when LA was being built in the early 1900s, Weho was the end of a train rail. It evolved into a ‘no-man’s land’ as the rest of the city was developing. But as such, it was exempt from the prohibition laws of the USA, which is why Hollywood celebs of the 20s and 30s would come to ‘The Strip’: it was a hotbed of speak-easys, mob-run places and hedonism galore. In the 50s and 60s, speak-easys were replaced by a new generation of clubs like The Roxy and Whiskey-a-Go-Go (enter Led Zeppelin).
Then, the hedonism got on the radar of the early gay community, so many closeted gay actors started moving into the area and turning the area into an LGBT enclave. So you basically had bikers and rockers on Sunset blvd., and the gays on Santa Monica blvd. In the 90s when Weho was officially incorporated, it got a HUGE influx of money to beautify the city. Because it was smaller than other LA districts, and already had a ‘gay mafia’ in place, the entire city removed ugly power lines, removed railroad tracks, widened the sidewalks and planted thousands of trees. Basically, it’s one of the prettiest cities to walk around.”
“Whether you drive or Uber, Weho really is conveniently located in the heart of LA: you’re 10 minutes from Hollywood, 30 minutes from The Valley via Mullholland, 30-40 minutes from downtown LA, Santa Monica, the beach, LAX.”
“The Standard downtown has the highest pool in LA, but Weho has a selection of hotel pools that range from exclusive to ‘ready to mix and mingle’. To me, nothing is more LA than lounging by a pool with multiple drinks and all the beautiful people around.”
“Because Weho is upscale without being to pretentious/out of touch with reality, it’s a hot-bed for creativity, especially for design and restaurants”
“Two new rooftop pools with sickening views of LA coming in November via James Hotel (it’s the first ground-up hotel to hit Sunset in three decades”