The lights are bright, the air is electric, and you can feel that there’s something different about this night when you and your friends arrive on the doorstep of the “Times Square of the West Coast” — otherwise known as LA Live.
The vibrant complex, tucked between the Nokia Theatre and the Staples Center, is a buzzing hive of entertainment. There’s a movie theater that hosts star-studded premieres, a museum dedicated entirely to the Grammy awards, and even J-Lo’s Conga Room club, should the evening go in that direction. You and your friends have been pulled into LA Live’s orbit for a seriously fun night out in LA, and there’s a little extra swagger in your walk as you stroll through the square like high rollers.
You’re feeling on top of the world, so you might as well start with dinner at one of the loftiest restaurants in the city. Nest at WP24 is a quick ride up to the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, and its sky-high location is matched by one of the most inventive menus in town. Grab a table in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows for a phenomenal panorama of the Hollywood cityscape. The flatscreens might be tuned to the Lakers game, but it’s hard to look anywhere else once the lights of the city have captured your attention. The aroma of the modern, Asian-inspired food coming out of the kitchen snaps you out of your trance, and you quickly remember why you’re here: to try the fluffy, dumpling-like “bao buns.” Stuffed with spiced pork belly and glazed with a Chinese honey-garlic sauce, they’re a perfect marriage of light texture and savory flavor.
Back on the ground, your next stop is the neon-lit Lucky Strike bowling lounge, where you kick back in the swanky white couches and order a round of cocktails while you lace up your groovy bowling shoes. An in-house deejay keeps the vibe lively with thumping dance hits. You love the music, but it’s not helping your game. You’re so busy feeling the beat that your bowling form suffers, and your friends get to crack up at the gutterball you just lobbed. Oops.
Keep the party going after your glorious victory (or crushing defeat) at The Mixing Room in the lobby of the JW Marriott. The pink couches here are the perfect place to scan the posh lounge for any celebs who may be sneaking in. Together, toast to the perfect evening out with a Sweet Reserve, a bourbon-lover’s dream with Woodford Reserve, grapefruit, and honey. Now, that’s what you call a nightcap.