My LA to Z: Brant Daugherty

The star of ABC’s Pretty Little Liars, who might be the show’s prettiest little liar (those eyes!), talks drive-in movies, dining in darkness, and geeking out over magic shows

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1 The Backlot at Warner Bros. StudiosOne of my absolute favorite places is the backlot at Warner Bros. studios. It has so much history and has been featured in so many movies that you really feel like a part of something when you’re there. It’s a fake city, and we use it as the set for Rosewood in Pretty Little Liars. Once I saw it at, like, two in the morning, and it was like something out of a Twilight Zone episode. There is one great spot where there’s this awesome picture of James Dean standing in front of a fake church. I love it.

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2

Vineland Drive-In Theatre
The drive-in movie theatre at Vineland is awesome. It’s a little bit of a drive, it’s in the City of Industry, but the place is amazing because tickets are only around nine dollars, and they play double features. I like the freedom of being outside and not being stuck in a theatre having to put up with obnoxious movie-goers. They’ve also got a great concession stand, and they even allow pets so I can bring my Bull Terrier Knuckles in with me.

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3

Joshua Tree National Park
So this is not technically in L.A., but I’m all the way from Ohio, so it kind of seems close enough to me. I love the camping there, and if you get there early enough you can get a stellar spot next to one of the rock formations and you can spend your day hiking and climbing and bouldering. The last time I was there was actually during the solar eclipse, and my friends and I climbed to the top of a mountain to admire it. I was pretty enthralled with it and all the stars you can see out there, too. It’s one of the things that you miss living in the city, the stars. They’re incredible.

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4 The Reel Inn
It’s the best place to go after surfing for fish and a beer. They have fresh fish that’s exceptional. It’s kind of fun because you can see the fish in the window before they cook it. I love their fried calamari, and the red snapper is also great. It’s such a cool spot.

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5 The Magic Castle
I’m admittedly a nerd. And I love magic. And you can’t get a better magic show than at The Magic Castle. It’s kind of hard to get in because you need a member to invite you as a guest. Once you’re in though, it’s fantastic. There are all these different shows with different types of magic to keep you entertained. The bar is great and so is the food, and at some point in the night you’re guaranteed to be requesting songs from the ghost in the lounge that plays the piano! I love close-up magic the most; you know, the sleight of hand that’s done right in front of your nose. I honestly have no idea how those guys pull it off, it’s so fascinating and it must take so much training and discipline.

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6 Opaque
Opaque is a restaurant in Santa Monica. It’s one of the weirdest places I have ever been to. You eat in complete darkness. It gets a little messy because you often end up eating with your hands. The whole thing is, when your sense of vision is taken away, you’re able to focus more on the other aspects of dining: the smells, the tastes and the conversation. One of the best dates I’ve ever been on ended up being at Opaque because even though you can’t see the other person, the experience is pretty intimate. It’s exciting, too, because it really is pitch black in there and anything could happen. I don’t even have any concept of what the room looked like or how big it was because they take you in blind. When I went there I had the steak which was delicious but admittedly a little tricky because you’re never really sure what you’re getting on your fork. It’s kind of an adventure and requires a bit of trust.

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7 Point Dume State Beach
The main draw is the enormous sheer cliff face; it’s so picturesque and has been featured in hundreds of movies. It’s the setting of the climactic scene of the 1968 Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston. It’s got one of the most magnificent views of the ocean, and I like to go at sunset and watch the reflection of the sun on the water. It’s so beautiful, it’s one of the places that I always take my friends who visit from out of town. And Reel Inn is right down PCH from there so we go there after.

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8 Ink. The menu is really bizarre, but I love it. they have these unique flavor combinations that you just have to try. The first time I went there I had no idea what to order, but the waitstaff always give you great recommendations. One of my favorite things there is their egg yolk gnocchi, but they also have a great octopus dish with fennel. And right next door is ink.sack, which is their more casual sandwich-slash-salady place. It’s great for lunch, and I usually get the cold fried chicken sandwich.

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9 Malibu Creek State ParkI love hiking, and as the weather is always nice in L.A., I try to take advantage of that. There are some really great hikes in Hollywood Hills, too, but I love Malibu. I’m not that strong of a climber, but I can boulder pretty aptly, and I love scaling the boulders next to the waterfall. It’s beautiful and surrounded by the Santa Monica mountains, which make for a great view.

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10 Malibu Roads
This last one is kind of general, but I wanted to share how much I love all of the canyon roads in Malibu. I love the drive on those roads going in any direction, really. I have a Honda Shadow, it’s a motorcycle, and Malibu is usually where I end up when I go out for joy rides. The canyons and valleys are just incredible.

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Photographs (3-6) courtesy facebook.com. Photograph (8) courtesy twitter.com. All other photographs courtesy flicker.com.

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