Hot Spots

Jul 22, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Breakfast can be as high profile as any meal of the day. The entertainment industry is hardly a 9-to-5 business, and tete-a-tetes start as early as 7 a.m. Some senior executives and agents even have double seatings, so they can squeeze in more schmoozing and still be in the office in time for the 9 a.m. meeting.
Upscale hotel dining rooms in Beverly Hills are usually crammed with producers, executives and agents from the motion picture and television industries at the start of each business day, the two most popular being The Four Seasons Hotel (300 S. Doheny Dr., 310-273-2222) and The Peninsula (9882 Santa Monica Blvd., 310-551-2888). A less formal alternative is Hugo’s (8401 Santa Monica Blvd., 323-654-3993), a moderately priced glorified diner in West Hollywood, though it is no less visible than the more expensive hotel dining rooms and, therefore, not the kind of place to launch your bid to steal a rival’s client.
Westsiders who work at Fox or Sony sometimes prefer to breakfast with their fellow workers at nearby locales. Fox folks like John O’ Groats (10516 W. Pico Blvd., 310-204-0692), while the Sony contingent gets its morning caffeine rush at Sam and Woody’s Country Diner (9748 Washington Blvd., 310-204-5136).
And then there are delis: Nate n’ Al’s (414 N. Beverly Drive, 310-274-0101) and in the Valley Art’s (12224 Ventura Blvd., 818 762-1221), where the current generation of hot shots commingle with old timers and veterans. The ultimate in casual are the various pit stops at The Farmer’s Market (Fairfax and 3rd St.), where retirees and those between jobs can kibbitz the morning away-though, with the opening next door of The Grove, a high-end open-air shopping center, they sometimes have to pay for the privilege of parking.
The weekends allow for a later and more leisurely breakfast or brunch at such hives as Who’s on 3rd, (8369 W. 3rd St., 323-651-2928), the nearby Quality Food and Beverage (8030 W. 3rd St., 323-658-5959) and King’s Road Expresso Bar & Caf ‘ (8361 Beverly Blvd., 323-655-9044), all of which offer outdoor tables to take advantage of the L.A. clime.
The midday repast is an all-important ritual, having less to do with caloric intake than career sustenance. Where and with whom you have lunch says as much about you as the car you drive-or is driven for you. Lunch is a time to impress as well as glad-hand other industry insiders at nearby tables.
The No. 1 choice in Beverly Hills is the power-packed The Grill (9560 Dayton Way, 310-276-0615), a name-dropper’s paradise, while The Ivy (113 N. Robertson, 310-274-8303) offers all that and ambiance too.
Overall, Beverly Hills is still the center of the midday meal, being convenient to all the major agencies and a great in-between meeting place for studios and network offices on both sides of the hill. Though the wait to be seated can be substantial, La Scala (410 N. Canon Dr., 310-275-0579) is very popular. Orso (8706 W. 3rd St., 310-274-7144) is cited for its cozy, private outdoor patio. Both specialize in Italian cuisine. The Mandarin (420 N. Camden Dr., 310-859-0926) and Sai Sushi (340 N. Camden Dr., 310-247-1829) are the Asian alternatives, with the latter being especially fast and convenient.
The Regent Beverly Wilshire (9500 Wilshire Blvd., 310-275-5200) is preferred by the senior agents at William Morris, while Barney Greengrass atop Barneys New York (9570 Wilshire Blvd., 310-777-5877) is a hip, pricey version of a deli that provides a great excuse to stop and take a peek at cutting-edge apparel on the floors below before heading back to the office.
The TV business’ being as hectic as it is, producers, executives and even talent don’t always have the time to leave the lot and get caught in midday traffic, which is why the private dining rooms of studio commissaries (Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., Disney’s Rotunda) are always packed. On less stressful days, those who work at Sony or Fox take a short break and head to such convenient locales as Orsini’s (9575 W. Pico Blvd., 310-277-6050) and Delmonico’s (9320 W. Pico Blvd., 310-550-7737). Or if they’re wining and dining the trades, Ca’ Brea (346 S. La Brea Ave., 323-938-2863) and Campanile (624 S. La Brea, 323-938-1447), which are close to the offices of Electronic Media, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and other entertainment industry publications.
Over in the Valley, the favored (time-permitting) lunchtime spots are Barsac Brasserie (4212 Lankersheim Blvd., 818-760-7081), Ca’ Del Sole (4100 Cahuenga Blvd., 818-985-4669) and Chez Nous (10550 Riverside Dr., North Hollywood, 818-760-0288), all of which are a hop, skip and a jump from Universal, Disney, Warner Bros. and the three major network facilities. Both specialize in continental cuisine. Mexicali Cocina Cantina (12161 Ventura Blvd., 818-985-1744) and Casa Vega (13301 Ventura Blvd., 818-788-4868) are more casual south-of-the-border alternatives.
There are a few prominent “half-way” favorites for breaking bread or if you don’t want to be all that highly visible. Always popular-and always crowded-is Off-Vine (6263 Leland Way, 323-962-1900) in Hollywood, which is homey and reasonably priced. Also in Hollywood (and close to the freeway) is Pinot Hollywood (1448 N. Gower St.; 323-461-8800). On the Westside and a bit more upscale is Mulholland Grill (2932 Beverly Glen Circle, 310-470-6223) at the top of Beverly Glen.
Dinner (& drinks)
Dinner is not the end of a long, hard workday but part of it, a chance to deepen important industry relationships or solidify new ones. That’s the reason there is rarely a table to be had at Morton’s (8764 Melrose Ave., 310-276-5205) or at both the nearby Ago (8478 Melrose Ave., 323-655-6333) and Lucques (8474 Melrose Ave., 323-655-6277). All are at the top of the list for the business dinner crowd.
Also popular if less ostentatious are Cynthia’s (8730 W. 3rd St., 323-658-7851) and The Little Door (8164 W. 3rd St., 323-951-1210), which are convenient to the hotels in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.
Then there’s dining and going out on the town. Sometimes the object of a business dinner is to show your guests a good time and offer them an inside look at Los Angeles, especially for those East Coasters who think Los Angeles rolls up its sidewalks the minute the sun goes down. There are a few popular spots in the heart of the newly revived Hollywood for intimate, convivial dining at its best: Las Palmas (1714 N. Las Palmas Ave., 323-464-0171), which offers Mexican fare, the pricey Les Deux Caf ‘s (1638 N. Las Palmas Ave., 323-465-0509), where there are consistent celebrity sightings, and the more casual perennial, Caf ‘ des Artistes (1534 N. McCadden Place, 323-469-7300).
Also in Hollywood is the inconspicuous but delightful The House (5750 Melrose Ave, 323-462-4687). Sushi Roku (8445 West 3rd St., 323-655-6767) is always jam-packed and, to use a ’60s phrase, “happening,” especially for “young bull” types, as is the newer Linq (8338 W. 3rd St., 323-655-4555), a bit farther east. Dominick’s (8715 Beverly Blvd., 310-652-7272) next to Jerry’s Famous Deli (8701 Beverly Blvd., 323-289-1811), is back in business and as cool as ever. In Los Feliz there is much activity at Vida (1930 Hillhurst Ave., 323-660-4446). On the Valley side, Pinot Bistro in Studio City (12969 Ventura Blvd., 818-990-0500) is as steady as it is reliable.
A true taste of L.A. can be had in the increasingly popular Koreatown, where the must-visit locales include the Korean BBQ house Dong Il-Jang (3455 W. 8th St., 213-383-5757) and for karaoke fans, The Brass Monkey (3440 Wilshire Blvd., 213-381-7047). Another popular Asian barbecue hole-in-the-wall is Gyu-Kaku (10925 W. Pico Blvd., 310-234-8641) on the Westside, as is Sushi Sasabune (11300 Nebraska Ave., 310-268-8380), which is popular with the folks at both Fox and Sony, many of whom also pop in for lunch. Out at the beach there’s always someone you know at Ivy at the Shore (1541 Ocean Ave., 310-393-3113), an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of Santa Monica.
The bar scene in L.A. is no less lively and ranges from the more sedate bar at the Four Seasons
(especially on Friday evening) and the chic and newly redone Avalon Hotel, (9400 W. Olympic Blvd., 310-277-5200) for poolside libations. The venerable Smokehouse (4420 Lakeside Drive, 818-845-3731), right outside the Warner Bros. lot, is a popular stop for a drink, as is the nearby Oyster House Saloon (12446 Moorpark St., 818-761-8686) in Studio City. On the east side of town, Vermont (1714 N. Vermont Ave., 323-661-6163) continues to be fashionable both for its bar and restaurant.
And then for a panoramic nightcap, there’s always Sky Bar (8440 W. Sunset Blvd., 323-848-6025) in the Mondrian Hotel, located on the cacophonous Sunset Strip. The fun sometimes continues into the wee hours at discos such as The Gate (643 N. La Cienega Blvd., 310-289-8808) or the ever-changing special nights at different venues in midtown.
Other activities
When “taking” a breakfast, a lunch or a dinner, it’s necessary to look your best, and that includes what you’re wearing and how you’re groomed. You’re likely to run into as many people you know under the dryer at your favorite beauty salon as at the latest “in” lunch spot. That includes such time-tested coiffeurs as Joseph Martin (421 N. Rodeo Dr., 310-274-0109), Dusty Fleming (275 N. Canon Dr., 310-273-5313) and Umberto (416 N. Canon Dr., 310-274-6395). Goodform (727 N. Fairfax Ave., 323-658-8585) was described by one TV exec as being “so hip it’s beyond hip.”
For the guys, Rudy’s Barber Shop at The Standard Hotel (8300 Sunset Blvd., 323-650-9090) is the current hot ticket for a shearing. After lunch at West Hollywood’s Fred Segal (8100 Melrose Ave., 323-655-3734) there’s shopping on the premises, or cross the street to Masse (7957 Melrose Ave., 323-653-2941) for its affordable made-to-order clothes. The personalized service provided by J. Wolf has helped keep the Beverly Hills shop popular for decades. For the high fashion and label conscious the pricey Armani and Hugo Boss boutique outlets are favored by the agency crowd, as is Barney’s, which sports all the of-the-moment trend-setting designers. Among the chain stores, Neiman-Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Banana Republic still get high ratings.
If there’s still time for furniture shopping, be it sleek and modern or mid-century originals, the selection includes Orange (8111 Beverly Blvd., 323-782-6898), Shelter (7920 Beverly Blvd., 323-937-3222), Futurama (446 N. La Brea Ave., 323-937-4522) or Room Service (8115 W. 3rd St., 323-653-4242).
When it’s time for some pampering, there are two spas of note, the evergreen Beverly Hot Springs (308 N. Oxford Ave., 323-734-7000) and its skincare salon, and the nearby Olympic Spa (3915 W. Olympic Blvd., 323-857-0666) in Koreatown.
Like everyone else these days, most TV execs can be found on the golf course, usually on weekends or during hiatus, putting their hearts out at the Bel Air Country Club, the Sherwood Country Club or the Lakeside Country Club. Other serious bonding experiences are L.A. Lakers’ Games or the various pickup basketball games that happen a couple of times a month over at Sony.#