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entertainment

Insider Guides to Neighborhood Nights Out

From Venice to Los Feliz and beyond

Are your weekend plans more Golden Girls than Girls?

For a fresh perspective, tune into these inspired itineraries from four in-the-know locals. And don’t be afraid to explore an unfamiliar neighborhood. All adventurous women do.

irene neuwirth!

Venice
Irene Neuwirth, jewelry designer, ireneneuwirth.com
Warm-up: The best way to start the weekend is with a walk through the canals with my boyfriend and my dog, followed by a drink at home on my porch. If we feel like going out, we may try a cocktail at The Tasting Kitchen on Abbot Kinney; it has an amazing menu.
Main course: We ride our bikes to Capo on Ocean. It’s the most delicious restaurant in the world and one of my favorite indulgences. I grab two seats at the bar and order the corn ravioli, the grilled steak, the burrata and tomato salad.
Next level: If we have any strength left after dinner, we pop down to Axe for strawberry shortcake in the garden.

jeff mahin!

Downtown
Jeff Mahin, chef/partner of Stella Barra Pizzeria Hollywood and Santa Monica and M Street Kitchen
Warm-up: I live on the Westside, so on a night off, I like to change up the scenery and head Downtown to The Varnish. The calm, quiet, and intimate setting, along with the cocktails, make it a really nice way to start the night.
Main course: For a great wine and dinner experience, I head over to Bestia. I love chef Ori’s roasted bone marrow and pastas. The sommelier, Maxwell Leer, does a fantastic job with the wine.
Next level: For an after-dinner drink and a show, I go over to La Descarga. It’s got great rum cocktails, and the burlesque shows are always fun. After that, I wouldn’t turn down street tacos before heading home.

melissa coker!

West Hollywood
Melissa Coker, Wren designer
Warm-up: The Chateau Marmont is my straight-up favorite place to have a drink in the city. Glass of champagne in the garden at the magic hour? Heaven.
Main course: I’m a huge fan of anything old-school L.A., so Dan Tana’s is a particularly beloved go-to for dinner. It’s small and decidedly untrendy with career waiters in tuxes and Italian decor that basically hasn’t changed since it opened in 1964. We’re talking a big-steak-and-dry-martini type of place. I order swordfish a la Dino Conte — grilled with olive oil, basil, and garlic. Done.
Next level: If it’s a nightcap type of evening, I head over to The Pikey. What was once my favorite dive bar, Ye Coach & Horses, has transformed into a charming pub where you can drink things like The Twiggy; Pony Boy; and, my personal fave, Divine Brown, while listening to The Kinks. As the menu says, “Me likey The Pikey.”

vanessa grigoriadis!

Los Feliz
Vanessa Grigoriadis, journalist, vanessagrigoriadis.com
Warm-up:
My homebody tendencies have met a perfect match in a toddler who turns into a really bad time after 7 p.m., so I haven’t been going out much these days. My daytime activities include a stop at Yoga Vibe (check out teachers like the charismatic Jeff Van Ness or Romanian taskmaster Ella Cojocaru), a tiny godsend of a yoga studio in a neighborhood crammed with mediocre ones. If I miss class, I usually strap my daughter to my back and go for a short hike to the Griffith Observatory, then I promptly add back all the calories I’ve burned at The Trails Cafe, the cozy outdoor spot in Fern Dell with killer PB&Js and an awesome avocado and bacon bits sandwich (who knew those are two tastes that go great together?).
Main course:
I’m like a streetwalker, up and down Hillhurst Avenue all day long. I usually get my latte at Mustard Seed Cafe, the Cheers of the neighborhood (minus the alcohol), with cool male waiters playing Sam. I also love the romesco and mozzarella sandwich to go at Little Dom’s Deli, the takeout portion of Little Dom’s, the most popular and stylish restaurant in the hood. Check it out on Monday nights, when a three-course meal is $15. (Reservation required.)
Next level:
On Vermont Avenue, I find it hard to resist the allure of the gigantic post office parking lot and drop in for some stamps of flowers or poets. I also love The Punchbowl, a new cold-pressed juice shop with food (the staff whipped up raw almond butter for my daughter in a jiffy), and the pastries at Figaro Bistrot, where neighborhood Frenchies crowd into brasserie tables on the sidewalk. Then there’s Skylight Books, one of the few remaining independent bookstores that’s apparently cash-flow positive enough to expand into the storefront next door. There’s a whole bookcase dedicated to books and zines published by McSweeney’s and a fantastic collection of writing on drugs, anarchy, and the occult.

Photos: Romy Suskin; Niles Harrison / Courtesy of Tasting Kitchen; Anjali M. Pinto; Courtesy of Manufactur Concepts; Emily Weiss; Courtesy of The Pikey; Tanya Kechichian; Lindsay George / Courtesy of Skylight Books