A rare outlet for commercially sanctioned laughter in downtown Los Angeles, Garrett Morris’ Downtown Blues and Comedy Club helps visitors escape the stresses of the workweek with a rotating stable of top-tier standup talent every Friday and Saturday. Comic legend Garrett Morris, now seen as Earl on CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, hosts showcases of comic talent with charming wit and tales of how he outlived the original cast of Saturday Night Live. The bill remains consistently loaded with fresh-faced and seasoned funny folk, with past luminaries including George Lopez, Margaret Cho, and Wayne Brady, along with aspiring stars in the twilight before their first mismatched-marriage sitcom.
Keeping true to its name and Morris’ roots in the New Orleans music scene, the venue often punctuates its comedy shows with performances from top blues artists—including Morris himself, who has lent his soulful pipes to the Harry Belafonte Singers—that add melody to the mirth. While weekend shows feature Garrett’s hosting and harmonies along with the headlining acts, the Thursday Night Experience allows youthful burgeoning comics and musicians to hog the spotlight.
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 soufflé, 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.
Located in Eagle Rock since 1954, Colombo’s Italian Steakhouse doubles as a jazz club and features entertainment every evening. Sit in red leather booths with white tablecloths under wrought iron light fixtures, or make your way to the large bar that holds at least three flat screen televisions showing a variety of sports. Breakfast is served from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday Brunch offers live music from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. During the lunch hour, Colombo’s serves appetizers, salads, sandwiches and paninis with fries, fruit, pasta or pasta salad. Known as a steak house, Colombo’s dinner plates hold grilled pork loin chop on onion marmalade, New York strip and grilled porterhouse steak, alongside and assortment of chicken and fish entrées. The bar serves brunch specials of mimosas and bloody Marys, while a piano in the back of the dining room earns its keep nightly.
A parade of prodigious performers graces the stage of Catalina nightly, backed up by decadent dishes and an enticing wine, alcohol, and beer list. The jazz club regularly showcases an eclectic mix of local acts, young talent, and world-renowned musicians, featuring such scintillating swingers as Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band on April 12 ($20–$25), virtuosic vocalist Kurt Elling on April 20–April 22 ($25–$30), and trumpet legend Roy Hargrove on May 4–May 8 ($22–$35). The lineup even includes a special Mother's Day brunch performance ($60) to praise a mindful mom in a more thoughtful way than buying her another unplayable, rose-stuffed saxophone.
At Scarlet Tea Room and Fine Dining, the tea services represent both a treasured English tradition and a modern form of celebration. Here, groups gather beneath a chandelier flecked with vibrant red accents to indulge in five-course meals. Their loose-leaf steeped beverages—which range from a sweet and lemony French verveine to a smoky Chinese lapsang souchong—complement a selection of bite-size desserts and light sandwiches stuffed with savory fillings such as prosciutto, aged white cheddar, and sun-dried-tomato spread. The afternoon tea service also includes housemade scones and berries romanoff, a fruity dessert served in a dark-chocolate cup.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, the award-winning kitchen staff prepares small plates of shareable dinner fare such as grilled skirt steak with marinated mushrooms, sautéed gnocchi with walnut-arugula pesto, and Fijian kingfish crudo with grapefruit and green papaya. To celebrate special occasions, such as Valentine's Day or Father's Day, diners can order specialty cakes for pickup or visit the dining room for a romantic concert or saucy burlesque performance by Queen Elizabeth.
Chefs at redwhite+bluezz sling exceptionally tasty salads, soups, entrees, and desserts forged from creative ingredients and accented with upscale libations. The luxurious menu unleashes contemporary influences upon classic recipes, such as a starter of fondue kicked into the 21st century by a squad of lobster, spinach, artichoke hearts, fontina, and sliced baguette ($14). Main courses flank the all-American meatiness of a buffalo rib eye with pommes lyonnaise, burrata and tomato gratin ($32) and hide vegetarian surprises such as pumpkin gnocchi served with roasted spaghetti squash and a pool of pistachio buerre noisette ($21). Quell sweet teeth clamoring for attention with unshareable desserts such as the vineyard-inspired cookie-mousse Eton Mess ($7).