Day Planner: Where to Take a Group

You could say concert promoter and local restaurant owner Andy Hewitt entertains professionally. Here he lists the best venues, restaurants, and bars for those traveling with an entourage

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theessentials_masa_tIl Piccolino
Eddie Kerkhofs is the co-owner and he was one of the two original owners of Le Dôme on Sunset. He’s Belgium and a great friend and he makes all of his customers feel special and comfortable. When we go there with a big party he always does something special, like ordering special roast chickens or ducks or special wine, like a great Bordeaux that’s very, very good and reasonably priced. The experience isn’t about the food, it’s about him and the people you’re with. 

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theessentials_masa_tCut
It’s a particularly unique restaurant with Richard Meier’s great design. The booths are comfortable, and it’s nice to have a drink at the bar next door. Hopefully you’ll get a glimpse of Wolfgang Puck, which is always a treat, and the food is spectacular—great fish, chicken, and a great wine list. They always spoil groups of people with appetizers that they send over, from ahi tuna to kobe beef sliders. I frequently go there with six or eight people and get a nice big round table. Even though there are a few Cuts now around the world, the one here is the original and very L.A. 

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theessentials_masa_tJoss
It’s co-owned by Cecile T’ang, who came to California in the ‘60s to go to film school. Her original Joss was on Sunset and just a notorious hangout for lunch and dinner. It’s hands down the best Chinese food outside of Hong Kong, and Chinese is always good for a group. Her food is very, very good. She’s a great grande dame with fantastic taste.

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theessentials_masa_tMatsuhisa
I had my birthday party there this year in the omakase room, which seats eight. If you have a reason to take over the whole room, it’s a lot of fun and they spoil you with exotic and unique dishes. If you’re lucky like I was, Nobu [Matsuhisa] will join in on the festivities. He got drunk with us, which was hysterical. 

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theessentials_masa_tYakitoriya
It’s very simple traditional yakitori spot with an L-shaped bar plus some tables. The chef makes great jidori chicken cooked on skewers in different ways on a charcoal grill. His attention to detail is magnificence and besides the yakitori he makes great grilled duck breast and wonderful duck and porcini truffle raviolis and a special, special, special heart, for those who are brave enough—I’m not. He also makes the best shabu shabu in the city. It is good for a group because it’s casual and fun. It’s a festive atmosphere with interesting people and you can see the chefs cooking. 

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theessentials_masa_tBouchon
They have several private rooms that accommodate whatever size party you have and the service is spectacular and the wine list is interesting. It’s also a good value, and usually convenient. It’s just a fun, casual bistro—the best in L.A, by far.

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theessentials_masa_tHollywood Bowl
It’s a great place, particularly if you take the time to put a picnic together and come early and relax, whether it’s for a philharmonic event or one of the concerts that we produce. It’s a very unique experience, and one of the best venues in the world. 

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theessentials_masa_tHollywood Palladium
It’s been redesigned and it’s a really fun place to go with a group of people when there’s a good show. You can walk around or hang out on the balconies or downstairs. 

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theessentials_masa_tThe Orpheum Theatre
It’s great for a small, more intimate show. If you have a group you can sit in one of the boxes right on the side of the stage that hold as many as eight people, and it’s a great experience. The theater is just so beautiful and the sound quality is superb. I sat up there with some friends for a Thom Yorke show and it was fantastic. 

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theessentials_masa_tThe Polo Lounge
If I feel like grabbing a drink with a group of people, I head to the Polo Lounge. It’s classic, it hasn’t changed a lot since it opened. It’s comfortable and easy to get to and nice to sit outside at a table or in a booth or inside near the bar with the piano music. It’s a beautiful, elegant place to start—or end—an evening with friends. 

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Photographs courtesy (in order of appearance): ilpiccolinorestaurant.com, fourseasons.com, josscuisine.com, nobumatsuhisa.com, facebook.com, bouchonbistro.com, hollywoodbowl.com, livenation.com, laorpheum.com, beverlyhillshotel.com.

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