Photograph by Michael Newhouse
A relatively green stretch of the L.A. River is all that separates Atwater Village from Silver Lake and Los Feliz. It makes sense, then, that the boutiques, bars, and arty spirit of those neighborhoods have crossed the bridge—make that bridges—in droves. Sandwiched between Glendale and Los Feliz boulevards, Atwater warrants the “village” moniker thanks to the dense collection of mom-and-pop businesses. Today the 1920s-era bungalows and Spanish-style houses are proving prime real estate for a younger generation keen on the small-town experience.
1. Amelia Fitzwater
The wall of cards at this mod gift shop rivals the renowned one at Pulp on La Brea. Shelves overflow with ready-to-wrap goodies—many by local artists—like scented candles, embroidered canvas totes, ironic stationery, and all manner of niche books. » 3129 ½ Glendale Blvd., 323-661-2600.
Tuesday through Sunday nights, the expansive underground cellar and wine bar features a rotating menu of economical lesser-known wines that are available for sampling by the taste, glass, or flight, plus cheeses for nibbling. Upstairs is no slouch of a wine store, either, carrying one of the city’s largest selections of Belgian ales. » 3111 Glendale Blvd., 323-662-5556.
3. Lula Holistic Mini Spa
At this one-room spa, everything down to the lavender in the sachets (grown in the owner’s Silver Lake backyard) is good for both you and the planet. The 75-minute custom facial ranks among the best we’ve had and uses potent, all-plant-based products. Bonus: You’ll walk out with a week’s worth of samples. For a full-body spa experience, visit Dtox up the street. » 3542 ½ Hollydale Dr., 213-448-0661.
4. Jill’s Paint
The shop stocks loads of eco-friendly paints from brands like Mythic, Devine, and Yolo, and the staff will happily pour you a glass from the unofficial wine counter in back as they walk you through painting projects, from base coat to finish. » 3534 Larga Ave., 323-664-9067.
This knitting store, which recently relocated from Los Feliz, is basic: colorful balls of yarn and a couch. On the latter you’ll find owner Julie Edwards (right), who offers guidance to anyone stuck on a stitch. She also teaches a series of classes—some free—on everything from how to hold the needles to “My First Amigurumi Owl.” » 3042 Glendale Blvd., 323-663-3838.
This spartan-chic noodle house is the sister restaurant of Silver Lake’s trendy Pho Café, but these silken handmade noodles make us wonder why the hipsters aren’t here, too. The pho broth is delicate, while the bahn mi pack a punch—baguettes stuffed with lemongrass chicken or turmeric whitefish. Heads up: It’s cash only. » 3133 Glendale Blvd., 323-906-1575.
7. The Griffin
For a dive, drink at Club Tee Gee. For a theme experience, hike to the Bigfoot Lodge. For some of both, belly up at the Griffin. Brick archways, velvet curtains, and two fireplaces complete the Dark Ages decor. » 3000 Los Feliz Blvd., 323-644-0444.
8. India Sweets and Spices
Aisles of spicy curry powders, henna tattoo kits, frozen naan bread, and exotic pantry essentials crowd the Indian market, which is attached to a beloved vegetarian cafeteria. » 3126 Los Feliz Blvd., 323-345-0360.
Chef Corina Weibel cooked at Campanile and Lucques before opening this homey restaurant on the village’s main drag. Tables slammed side by side are populated by regulars, who flock here for seasonal cuisine (like leg of lamb with shell beans and pea tendrils) and one of the best roasted chickens in town. The food is worthy of a special occasion, but the casual vibe and low prices make this place approachable any day. Our favorite part: the complimentary canelé pastry on the way out. » 3219 Glendale Blvd., 323-666-7133.