Amid the bustle of Hollywood Boulevard stand two monuments to the silver screen. One, the TCL Chinese Theatre, oozes with history— imported Chinese stone lions, a 90-foot-tall copper roof, and concrete blocks that bear the handprints of Hollywood luminaries from years gone by each memorialize the celebrated role the building has played in Hollywood for more than eight decades.
Next door, Chinese 6 Theatres is a tribute to the cutting-edge. Six theaters, some with 3D capability, immerse viewers in ultra-realistic picture and sound better than sitting inside Steven Spielberg's android brain. Beyond the plush theater seating, a bar slings cocktails for in-movie sipping and a restaurant serves a full menu for cravings after the show. The service schedule varies for the bar and the restaurant but both will be open during Summer 2013. Whether they opt for the historic cinema or the ultramodern theater, visitors can catch a full slate of acclaimed new releases on their chosen big screen.
The storied history of TCL Chinese Theatre rivals those of the more than 200 celebrities whose handprints, footprints, and autographs are cemented into the theater's forecourt. Erected in 1927 and declared a historical and cultural landmark in 1968, the iconic theater stages movie screenings, premieres, events, and red-carpet ceremonies. Today, moviegoers walking through the theater's main courtyard can revel in the same opulence of those 1920s screen idols, craning their necks upward to take in the looming pagoda that frames the entrance. Inside, the theater's original 1927 screen towers high above the plush red-velvet seats, surrounded by wooden panels that rise to a ceiling with flowing Chinese-style drawings. This classic Hollywood setting is one of the reasons why the theater, in an echo of its origins, hosts celebrity-studded premieres, such as the 2012 opening for Life of Pi and the 2013 opening for Beautiful Creatures.
Steingarten LA’s dining room, awash with muted golden tones and dominated by a kaleidoscopic art piece, doesn’t immediately scream German biergarten. Its menu, however, astutely outlines the restaurant’s integral blend of hearty Old-World fare and contemporary California cuisine. More than 20 varieties of sausage—including traditional bratwursts and spicy lamb links as well as game offerings of wild boar and berry—sit beneath toppings of pickles or house mustard. Each of the 8-ounce burger patties is made from grass-fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free beef, and can be custom-built with toppings such as smoked mozzarella and applewood bacon. True to form as a German-inspired eatery, Steingarten accents their food with exhaustive drink lists, including a beer list with German, Belgian, and American craft brews on tap. Creative cocktails include a white manhattan, made from clear American whiskey, and a cocktail of the month that has been aged in a used whiskey barrel.
With a drink in hand, patrons can stroll over to Steingarten’s intimate outdoor patio flanked with high stone walls and trellis-climbing ivies. In one corner, rosy cushioned benches surround a slender fire pit that flickers subliminal messages from behind a glass enclosure. The ivy motif also manifests in wrought-metal curlicues on each door and over the beverage fridge that takes up an entire wall at the bar.
Though it first opened in 1959 as an English pub, the Red Lion Tavern has given Los Angeles an easy way to visit the boisterous beer gardens of Munich since 1963. The diverse menu includes lunch and dinner options, and even hosts a champagne brunch. The menu's hearty emphasis on sausage, beer, and cabbage hasn’t changed much in 50 years, and today features seven kinds of sausage and extensive pretzel and schnitzel offerings, along with an extensive list of beers. Customers can also enjoy a myriad selection of salads, sandwiches, soups, seafood, pork, poultry, desserts and sides such as red cabbage or German fried potatoes. The Tavern also features weekly specials in addition to a number of coffee specialties.
Two indoor bars and an outdoor beer garden give patrons plenty of places to refill their pints—and the bartenders likewise offer plenty of opportunities to practice one's German (their native tongue). Along with dressing its wait staff in lederhosen and dirndls, the Red Lion Tavern invites Germanic bands to play live music, hangs the work of German artists upon their walls, and sends partied-out patrons home in German-engineered cabs whenever possible.
Over the course of the summer, Street Food Cinema rolls out more than a dozen events that showcase the greatest hits of the silver screen and the LA food-truck scene. When the gates open, guests spread blankets on the grass and pop open coolers. Live bands play until dusk, when crowd-pleasing movies such as Fight Club and The Sandlot across the big screen. Meanwhile, a rotating food-truck schedule assembles a diverse curbside lineup, which might include asian-inspired tacos from Komodo or the gooey delights of The Grilled Cheese Truck. Their events also feature movie-themed games projected on the big screen for audience participation. During showcases, artisan vendors are on hand selling fresh baguettes, fine meats, and sweets for purchase.
Street Food Cinema's eclectic assemblage of food, music, and films has picked up attention beyond the park's bounds, snagging mentions on NBC4 and in the Huffington Post's Broke Girls Guide. Other videos of the events in action can be seen here. It's also become known for its philanthropic work: each year the organization supports one designated local charity.
Though all the food at Nola's is modeled after the Cajun and Creole cuisine of the Big Easy, the restaurant?s housemade ingredients give it a personalized spin. Chefs toss fried wings in a special tangy hot sauce, serve popcorn shrimp with a signature honey-chipotle sauce, coat 10-ounce catfish fillets with a special blend of seasonings, and cook fried chicken for 20 minutes.
When it comes to classic dishes such as jambalaya, the cooks approach from various angles, adding shirmp and crab claws to create a seafood version. For vegetarians, they've come up with a version that uses tofu sausage and fresh veggies. Rounding out the jambalaya variations, there is also a breakfast jambalaya souffl?, for those who love breakfast at all hours of the day. For lunch, they specialize in shrimp, oyster, and catfish po' boys, which are drenched in a cornmeal-and-flour batter, fried, and served with housemade roasted-garlic tartar sauce.
To complement feasts, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails, including a tequila-and-watermelon-juice blend called the Witch Doctor, inspired by the witch doctor that lives on the roof. Beneath the chandeliers and wooden beams of the rustic dining room, meals unfold as live musicians serenade diners with the sounds of New Orleans?style blues and jazz.
The El Capitan Theatre dates back to Hollywood's earliest years, when the hilltop sign was still written in cursive. Debuting in 1926 as “Hollywood's First Home of Spoken Drama,” the 1,000-seat theater lavishes audiences' senses in architectural majesty with intricately carved columns flanking a vividly colorful, East Indian–inspired curtain. The cherry on this stately proscenium's cake is an antique “Mighty Wurlitzer” organ, built in the 1920s and equipped with four keyboards and 37 ranks of pipes. But even as the grandeur pays tribute to the Golden Years, the theater has remained abreast of the latest technology, boasting digital-3D capabilities, a state-of-the-art Dolby sound system, and a fully animatronic box-office staff. The auditorium's renovation to its original splendor was made possible through its 1989 purchase by the Walt Disney Company. With the help of modern architects, designers, and conservators, along with the National Park Service, the theater found a new lease on its already star-studded life. Today, the ornate stage and screen enjoy exclusive access to Disney's newest films, and regularly host live shows featuring such Disney stars as Cinderella and Tinker Bell.