Bars in Universal City

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"I wanted to fill a void by creating a space with Beverly Hills elegance, decor, and cuisine in the Valley," says Duane Martin. The actor and entrepreneur—seen onscreen in such films as White Men Can't Jump and Scream 2—recently opened the upscale nightspot on Ventura Boulevard. Designed as a place where members of any lettered list can unwind, the chic space invites guests to enjoy upscale cocktails, gourmet appetizers, and freshly prepared ambiance. Massive leather booths cradle visitors as they sip unique beverages such as the Strand, made with peach Ciroc and Cointreau, or the Clover Leaf, combining gin, muddled raspberry, and egg whites. Outside, plush chairs and lush greenery are arranged around tables ready to hold small plates of mac 'n' cheese cupcakes, shrimp with parmesan grits, or sweet potato fries with malted aioli.

10628 Ventura Boulevard
North Hollywood,
CA
US

English pubs were designed to be a neighborhood meeting spot, a tradition that the The Fox And Hounds holds dear. The clientele is a mix of British ex-pats, young locals, and the out of town visitor who drop in for steaming plates of favorites such as fish and chips, steak and ale pie, and bangers and mash served with the potent Coleman's mustard. And to further the community feeling, the pub hosts a nightly roster of events that bring neighbors together. Guests can throw darts as they sip on imported beer, or catch the day's English or American games on the restaurant's 11 HDTVs. Twice a week they can test their knowledge with a pub quiz or by guessing the bartender's birth weight. Stop in on the weekends for live music or lounge on the patio.

11100 Ventura Blvd
Studio City,
CA
US

As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon’s piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.

Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.

1000 Universal Studios Blvd
Universal City,
CA
US

Within a chic, two-story beauty abode, R Style Lounge offers a full menu of haircare, skincare, nailcare, and waxing services. Polish your finger-helmets with a manicure, which includes a paraffin hand bath, French tips, and a hand-and-arm massage ($20–$25). Or, take a seat in one of the comfy red-and-white scoop chairs and have your noodle-nest cut, shampooed, and styled ($45–$75 for women, and $35–$55, men) or fully highlighted ($100–$150). R Style Lounge’s friendly, professional aestheticians are Constitutionally bound to bolster skin’s beauty with a signature facial ($125), or make muscles feel as wonderful as their skin coats during a Swedish massage ($65).

11610 Ventura Blvd
Studio City,
CA
US

Studio City’s corner of the San Fernando Valley is typically an easy drive from fabled Los Angeles sites such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, and the Griffith Park Observatory. But the city features enough charms of its own to occupy visitors. Originally developed as a home for silent-film industry buildings, Studio City is an intriguing blend of early Hollywood history and the modern-day moviemaking biz. Shows such as Seinfeld and films such as Addams Family Values once set up camp at CBS Studio Center, an old-Hollywood relic previously known as the Mack Sennett Studios and Republic Pictures studios. Today, directors still shout orders and jump into piles of reel-to-reel tape as they mill about 18 soundstages and hair-and-makeup stations.Dozens of sushi restaurants line Ventura Boulevard, a bustling thoroughfare that also plays host to local boutiques, coffee shops, and antique stores. Parks and trails are sprinkled throughout the surrounding mountains, a pleasant escape from the hustle of the City of Angels.

10730 Ventura Boulevard
Los Angeles,
CA
US

One of California’s largest and most renowned venues, Gibson Amphitheatre lives up to its stellar reputation as a go-to entertainment destination by corralling sought-after acts into its sprawling confines. More than 6,000 seats on two levels angle toward the stage, granting visitors easy, unobstructed views. A state-of-the-art sound system, meanwhile, allows event goers to rock out to dynamic tunes or hear even the softest whispers between an encouraging roadie and a nervous guitar making its debut performance.

100 Universal City Plz
North Hollywood,
CA
US