A red carpet leads the way past a cluster of spotlights, and two large lacquered doors grant access to a low-lit room. Conversation buzzes, layered over the underlying thumping of music that emanates throughout the space. It's the quintessential modern nightclub, but Sunset Room is alive with old-school Hollywood glamour; it's decorated with crystal chandeliers and dark wood, aesthetic touches that are the very antithesis of stale chain restaurants or picnic tables set up in a cave. In the dining room, white tablecloths rest beneath the light of flickering candles, and small plates encourage sharing bites of flatbread and steak sliders. Reserved seating can make guests feel extra special, and live bands and DJs start dance parties on the dance floor. A team of mixologists also arrives on the scene to shake and stir a variety of craft cocktails and drinks at the towering bar.
The elegant mixture of cuisine, libations, and decor that constitutes Sunset Room is the brainchild of Chris Breed and James Ashford. Since 1990, Chris has been improving nightlife in Hollywood, first with the Roxbury Supper Club and now with Sunset. Chris teams up with James, who has a background as an LAPD officer and a real-estate man.
In simplified fashion, karma is illustrated in the dining room of Karma Restaurant Bar & Lounge each day. Polite waiters are rewarded for their work with tips, and diners reap the benefits of their past acts of kindness while enjoying meals with good friends. The menu offers a full spectrum of traditional Indian dishes, from rich lamb-coconut curry to vegan-friendly plates of yellow daal, all perfectly scooped up with soft pieces of plain, garlic, or olive naan. To bolster the dining experience, the staff surrounds guests with Indian artwork and pairs dishes with classic beverages such as masala-infused chai tea or mango lassi.
From their perch on a dining table, Blu Orkid’s eponymous flowers watch over the restaurant’s hustle and bustle, which begins as bakers knead fresh bread in the early morning and ends once dinner plates are rounded up after midnight. Breakfasts of frittatas and brioche french toast pique appetites for lunches and dinners of tuna-almondine sandwiches, pears poached in port and topped with bleu cheese, and salmon flavored with miso and meyer lemons. In the bakery, chefs torch sugar atop crème brûulée and serve chocolate lava cake. They dish out their gourmet treats at sunny patio tables or indoors amid palm fronds, blue mood lighting, and chandeliers that wish they could feel love.
For centuries, smoking hookah in a café has been a way to relax among friends. Lux Cafe & Hookah Lounge adds a touch of refinery to this experience. Dim lighting punctuated by a rim of neon on the ceiling shrouds the room in hushed ambiance, and a music-video DJ projects audiovisual collages onto the lounge’s wall. Seated at sofas, love seats, and magical toadstools around low tables, hookah smokers puff on Starbuzz tobacco flavors ranging from blackberry and tangerine dream to fuzzy naval.
Mixologist Vincenzo Marianella scours the Santa Monica Farmers Market for fresh and local produce. Then he lets his customers decide how to use them. With Copa D’Ora’s make-your-own cocktail program, guests choose from a long list of spirits (Plymouth gin, Buffalo Trace bourbon, Hardy’s V.S. cognac), fresh herbs (basil, mint, sage), jams, organic juices, and vegetables. Then Vincenzo, who studied his craft in Sydney, New York, and London, takes care of the rest, blending it all and filling tumblers, martini glasses, and highballs full of a libation wholly personalized to each patron. He also offers an extensive list of pre-designed cocktails that also bear the mixologist’s distinct liquid signature.
The farmers market doesn't only play a part in the cocktail menu—Copa D'Oro's food is also prepared with the local ingredients. Panini sandwiches on LaBrea Bakery’s sourdough bread and platters brimming with artisanal cheese and Nostrano salami mirror the sophistication of the space. As the LA Times notes, there are no “shrill sorority sisters or high-fivin' sports fans…no DJs, no television.” Rather, plush leather banquettes and lounge chairs gather regally amid soft lighting, exposed brick walls with tasteful works of art, and exposed beams that zigzag above the dining room.
Extract Juice Bar resounds with buzzing blenders that liquefy fruits and vegetables into an array of juice and smoothie concoctions. Past vintage motorcycle and gas pump, the kitchen staff whips limes, apples, ginger, and spinach leaves into The Leaf and combines cucumber, pineapple, and jalape?o to yield The Flash's smoothie froth. They also assemble vegetarian sandwiches and vegan dishes during breakfast and lunch hours.