When I first moved to L.A. I lived down the street from Jones, so I’ve been going there since I was, like 22. Which is kind of sad. It’s my favorite bar in L.A., though, because the staff is great, I know the bartenders, and the people are consistently good looking—but not in an annoying way. The pizza is some of the best in the city. They have a late night menu, which very few restaurants and bars actually do. The food is good, the drinks are great, and there is enough room that you can always get a cozy spot and not feel wedged in.
It is the diviest of dive bars. Unlike most bars in L.A. they have things for you to do: video poker, a pool table, darts. You have a good mix—actually most people there are pretty shady, but the drinks are cash only and very inexpensive, stiff drinks. The owner is this woman named Snow. She’s awesome, and she remembers me, which is always cool.
It’s a paleteria, so for white people, it’s popsicles. They have really tasty sandwiches, but the popsicles—they lay them all out, and it’s this field of flavors and colors that you’ve never even heard of. It’s all Latin American flavors and combinations, so it’s new and it’s all fresh. Everything is made with fresh fruit, and it’s just a nice break from the froyo craze that everyone seems to be ensconced in. And it makes you feel open-minded because it’s Latin, not white. Living in L.A. is like proving you’re not racist on a daily basis.
Roy Choi is the chef there, and he’s super into Korean-American soul fusion. They really revamped this hotel. Thursday through Saturday they get a DJ, and they play all this amazing ’80s and ’90s hip hop and R&B—so all the songs you want to hear if you’re of my generation. It’s a huge lobby, so there’s always somewhere to sit. The drinks are really fun, there’s Korean snacks at the bar, and they have an actual snack bar in the lobby—which for me, when I get drunk, it’s like, yes, I do want a Fruity Pebbles Rice Krispie Treat. And it’s there.
If you want somewhere more exclusive, there’s Break Room 86, which is right around the corner from The Line Hotel. It’s an ’80s themed club so it’s only ’80s music, and they don’t let a ton of people in so it never feels too crowded. They have a live band, and it’s just a really fun experience that sets it apart from normal clubs in L.A. if you’re still clubbing in your 30s.
It’s a great place to go see really great comics who got their start there, but it’s also a great place to see new emerging comics, headliners, and mega-stars that drop in all the time. In addition to seeing the best names in comedy, myself included, the building itself has a really storied and haunted history. If you can get a comic to give you a tour, you can find out some really cool stuff, like how it used to be owned by the mafia. So that’s a bit of an L.A. institution, and one of my home clubs. I’m there several times a week.
I live in that area, so for people like me, it’s really your only source for last minute groceries. But in addition to that it has a vibe. I mean, Laurel Canyon is a very storied area in terms of music coming out of there in the ’70s, like Joni Mitchell and stuff like that. That store has been there for over 30 years. You can get everything from wine to imported dried orange slices to Haagen-Dazs to freshly made Mediterranean pasta. So it’s a little bit of everything. It has that old country feeling that you can’t get anywhere else in L.A. They have a porch, and if you go in the morning, you can see anyone from trust fund songwriters to hipsters to hippies to soccer moms. It’s a really special community.
They have mostly men’s clothes, but they specialize in really cool, one-of-a-kind t-shirts. I’m a huge t-shirt snob-slash-aficionado, so you’re not getting something there that you can get anywhere else. If you are into vintage rock shirts this is the place to go. A lot of the shirts I wear on stage I get there. It has a price tag, but it’s totally worth it if you want a unique, soft shirt.
I’m not just saying I love it because I’m friends with the sommelier, but I think it’s one of the best restaurants in L.A. It looks like a French abbey when you walk in. Not only is it beautiful, but the food is phenomenal. If you go they have this thing called Normandy butter, which is a hunk of butter that’s so good I often eat it with a spoon. Their brunch is phenomenal. It’s always packed, so you should make a reservation. It’s impressive if you want to take a date or just hang out with your friends by the bar. Everything there is flawless.
It’s a classy little wine bar on an otherwise gross part of Sunset, and they serve small tapas—not necessarily Spanish, but these small plates that are really good. It’s a great place if you want to a have a nice conversation on a date. They have a cute patio and a dish made of mint and jumbo crab, which you have to get. I think they have Christmas lights up year round—always a plus for me.
Photographs courtesy (in order): (2) yelp/Chris C.; (4) yelp/Caroline K.;All other photographs courtesy Facebook.com