There are so many great pockets of the West that I’ve yet to see (Glacier National Park, Boise, and Bend are currently topping my to-go list) that it seems silly to spend precious vacation days visiting anywhere I’ve been before. And yet…
Lately, all of the cool openings in Los Angeles are making me want to return.
Here are three of the best—a new hotel, a new boutique, and a new arcade/bar (yes!)—that make me want to break my travel rule. Hey—if I revisit a place for the purpose of seeing new things, it doesn’t count as cheating, right?
Fans of L.A. chainlet Foodlab, which has locations in West Hollywood and Silver Lake, have likely taken note of the restaurants’ chic decor, a mix of retro and modern. Now the mom-and-son duo behind Foodlab are letting patrons shop that stylish look at Max & Moritz, their new boutique on the buzzy eastern end of West Hollywood. The sunny, white brick–walled space blurs the lines between a furniture store, a clothing shop, and a Sephora. Nino Mier and his Austrian-born mother, Esther Linsmayer, carefully sourced early-20th-century tables of heavy, rough-hewn wood from Germany, Austria, and Belgium; they’re sold alongside Chemex glass coffeemakers and ovenproof plates and bowls in pale pink and mint green. You can also find hair products from cult-favorite Swedish brand Sachajuan, Italian men’s shaving products, even leather dog leashes. Mier and Linsmayer call it a “not-so-general store”—we call it the makings of a (welcome) family dynasty. 7209 Santa Monica Blvd.
Best friends since first grade, Scott Davids and Noah Sutcliffe grew up going to arcades and playing Nintendo together. Hanging out was what made it great, Sutcliffe says, but these days, “Playing video games is something you do alone. We wanted to bring that social aspect back to gaming.” Enter EightyTwo, an arcade for grownups the pair opened in March, in downtown L.A.’s Arts District. Classic games from the 1980s—Donkey Kong, Burger Time, Centipede, and Street Fighter II, all from Davids’ personal collection—share space with vintage pinball machines. The bar serves craft cocktails named after arcade characters like Princess Peach (Mario Bros.) and Pinky (Pac-Man), and local DJs spin a soundtrack for the tree-covered outdoor patio every night. Better still, you no longer have to beg Mom for allowance; two old-fashioned change machines provide all the quarters you need. 707 E. Fourth Place.
Since it was built in 1927, the 13-story United Artists building in L.A.’s Historic Theater District has been a movie palace, an office building, even the headquarters for an evangelist. Now, it’s been reinvented yet again, this time as the long-awaited seventh edition of the Ace Hotel, the hip boutique chain with posh spots in Palm Springs, Seattle, and Portland. The fully renovated Spanish Gothic exterior belies the minimalism inside. The 182 rooms, with exposed concrete ceilings and muted earth tones, are as streamlined as the façade is ornate. Other trendy touches—in-room turntables, a restaurant run by celeb chef Micah Fields (of The Standard fame), and a rooftop bar and pool with downtown views—remind guests that this is a thoroughly modern hotel. Artsy too: The restored movie theater on the ground floor now serves as a live music venue, and the popular monthly Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk and Banksy’s famous PARKing mural are just steps away. From $199; 929 South Broadway.
It all makes you want to pack up and go, right? Where else in the West do you want to visit this summer?