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.
Soak up the solid surroundings before perusing the equally solid menu. Start the feastivities with three mini sirloin sliders ($8), house-cut garlic and parsley fries ($5 for small), and a fighting pint of Stone Brewing Co.'s Arrogant Bastard ($5). Those with an itching appetite can dive straight into larger bites. Equip yourself with a house sirloin burger ($11) or order of chicken and biscuits ($16).
Eclectic Wine Bar & Grille pairs entree searchers with the ideal meal for their culinary crosshairs, using a vast menu as the appetizing ammo. Mealtime starters include the popular tuna tartare ($14), with hand-cut ahi tuna mixed with avocado, cilantro, and scallions. Pasta-art students with a degree in linguine engineering can create their own dish by adding Cajun chicken ($5), smoked salmon ($7), goat cheese ($4), and more to Eclectic's pasta offerings ($12+). Pizzas, sandwiches, and seafood selections such as the grilled salmon ($21) round out the list of entrees that, when stacked atop each other, would be taller than a gaggle of Yao Mings.
Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.
Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.
The décor inside The Woods – located just off of La Brea Avenue in Hollywood – is reminiscent of a 1920’s speakeasy. Although there is a large sign that illuminates at night, the outside is still somewhat obscure, as the stone and wood-patterned design completely conceals what’s inside. Once you step in, the dimly-lit interior reveals a bar and leather stools that line the left side, with leather booths that run along the right. Each furniture piece, including the tables made out petrified tree stumps, gives off a mysterious and woodsy vibe that’s only matched by the young, flannel-wearing clientele. Part dive bar, part low-key after-work hangout for locals, The Woods is a nice spot for a relatively cheap drink, which can be hard to come by in Hollywood.