LA Date Night: Dining, Drinking at Hollywood & Vine
Walking in LA? Well … maybe for just the circumference of an intersection. Consider Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street: It's four corners of a Hollywood hubbub peppered with at least five important things to cover -- perhaps on multiple LA Date Nights (that might even include a show at the nearby Pantages Theatre!).
Cleo: The Middle Eastern fare at less-than-a-year-old Cleo -- the attractive restaurant inside The Redbury Hotel -- is too easy to swallow. At first, it's just hummus and falafel that you might recognize, but dare your palate to go further. A dip is a must (get the Lebaneh & Feta) -- if only for the warm bread in the bag that's made fresh in Cleo's wood-burning oven. Kebabs of lamb, pork belly and shrimp are just $6, but it's worth it to go big with a roast lamb entree or a seasonal mushroom flatbread.
Cleo, 1717 Vine Street, at Hollywood Boulevard (323-962-1711 or cleorestaurant.com)
Katsuya: LA sushi-philes, you know of the strip-mall, original-gangsta Katsuya in the Valley. This Katsuya -- whipped into architectural shape with a Philippe Stark going-out look -- is where Hollywood's Hollywood folk go for Hollywood sushi. It's a big scene -- which is exactly what you wanted! You'll graze over an order of the signature Crispy Rice With Spicy Tuna, of course, and still, your tight LBD won't ever feel too-too tight.
Katsuya, 6300 Hollywood Boulevard, at Vine Street (323-871-8777 or sbe.com/katsuya/hollywood)
Wood & Vine: The intersection's newcomer boasts the sexiest outdoor drinking area not affiliated with a hotel conglomerate. For libations, Wood & Vine offers abundant California-local wines and beers, plus classic, masculine drinks like a Sazerac and a Black Manhattan. Small plates of ingredients sourced locally are terrific for picking at together -- we recommend the potted foie gras and two cheeses all for a mind-boggling $8).
Wood & Vine, 6280 Hollywood Boulevard, at Vine Street (323-334-3360 or woodandvine.com)
Frolic Room: A dive bar! Yes! The drinks are stiff, cheap and straightforward (read: no surprise yuzu stirred in). It's directly adjacent to the aforementioned Pantages Theatre, but it's very rarely packed with Broadway goers; expect a brewing of skeevy regulars and, of course, hipsters. Where to spend your money: The awesome jukebox.
Frolic Room, 6245 Hollywood Boulevard, at Vine Street (323-462-5890)
Bardot: But if you've reserved this LA Date Night to the almost lost art of "clubbin'," then it's Bardot you must go. Though Monday, billed as "School Night!", is our fave night at Bardot (featuring live music and KCRW DJ Chris Douridas), every night at Bardot is a party -- manageable even if you're a grown-up. It's a cavernous, multi-level club, so there's plenty of nooks to hide and make-out, or (do it!) hit the dance floor.
1737 Vine Street, at Hollywood Boulevard (323-462-1307 or bardothollywood.com)
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