“Meet me near Sunset and Vine” isn’t historically a phrase most LA locals are thrilled to hear. A meeting spot in this neighborhood has to be good enough to justify braving Hollywood traffic, sartorially uninspired tourists, and general grime. Lately however, a hint of civilization has managed to break through in the historic Columbia Square (home to the first production company in Hollywood, Nestor Studios) between El Centro Avenue and Gower with the arrival of a Sugarfish, Sweetgreen, Rubies & Diamonds (the best coffee spot in the city at the moment), NeueHouse, and finally, Paley.
Who to go with: Friends, parents, business associates, and dates.
What to drink: If you’re in the mood for something dark and boozy, the smokey, bitter, and slightly tart Black Rabbit (whiskey and lapsang souchong infused Cherry Heering) will give you what you’re after. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Strawberry Pimm’s Cup (strawberry infused Pimm’s, house sour and ginger) is a light, sweet, and refreshing option well-suited for day drinking. Lastly, with the Derby fast approaching I’ve had intense Mint Julep cravings and they were nice enough to indulge me with an exemplary execution of this classic.
When to go: The giant windows overlooking the well-designed NeueHouse courtyard make it an ideal lunchtime or afternoon drinking spot (the happy hour is between 2:30-7 PM, M-F, for wine, beer, AND craft cocktails).
Where: 6115 Sunset Blvd #100, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Why: The location is not only romantic because of its history, but also because it feels like a sanctuary in an otherwise unpolished part of LA. The dramatic dark marble bar and subtly deco-inspired furnishings give it a sense of understated Old Hollywood elegance, and the serene ambience mixed with such well-crafted cocktails make it a spot well-worth visiting.