West Hollywood constantly reframes and redefines what’s acceptable (even in places like Los Angeles and California), so weekend mornings are different here. In WeHo, hair-of-the-dog cocktails and boozy brunches aren’t just acceptable, they’re a super-charged Olympic sport. Flex your animal spirit with house-infused spirits and bubbly-laced juice potions at these choice spots. (We made the rounds over a month, and it’s all we could taste without checking into rehab.)
The WeHo brunch experience is worth a few days. To take full advantage of all this drinking and eating, get set up with an early start: check into your local digs on Thursday or Friday and/or stay through Sunday night to get it all out of your system for Monday morning. Or… there’s that hair of the dog reference we started with.
Gracias Madre – Say what? Vegan Mexican and cannabis cocktails? Yup.
Sometimes the best answer to late night Saturday partying is early Sunday morning partying – especially when the choice is a dreamy to-die-for patio or an airy and gorgeous indoor space. For crisp tequila and mezcal drinks, a cool and chic vibe, and organic vegan Mexican dishes, we give thanks to Gracias Madre (8905 Melrose Avenue). Since this relaxed but loud place is all about plant-based cuisine, their cannabis cocktail is a natural extension of everything else they do; it’ll get you buzzed without getting you stoned. With more than 100 agave-based choices, consider a sampler flight or flee to a fun mescal-infused popsicle that packs a delightful punch.
Taste on Melrose – Start the clock for bottomless bubbly and mimosas
Not too flashy and not too rowdy, a little casual, a little elegant, Taste on Melrose (8454 Melrose Avenue) has just enough hip factor to remind that you’re in L.A. but not so much as to intimidate you. They feature bottomless mimosas or bubbly for $19, with a two-hour limit on weekends. We’ve all heard of two-hour parking spaces, but a two-hour drinking game? There’s only one catch: you have to order an entrée, but you were going to do that anyway, right? Live it up with lobster Benedict or truffle mac and cheese; or be good to your body with a tofu scramble or blackened salmon. The back patio is primo, but in case you don’t get a reservation there, the indoor bar-atrium seating is airy.
CATCH LA – Craftily-named cocktails
CATCH (8715 Melrose Avenue) traffics in cool cocktails, tequila and mezcal concoctions, scotch, bourbon, and cognac. Take a deep dive into a few of their lushly crafted beverages: Detox Retox (with tequila, macha, cucumber, mint and lime), Disco Nap (with gin, sake, midori, kiwi and lime), Dirty Bastard, and Secret Escort. Or keep it simple with Veuve Clicquot Yellow, Casamigos Anejo, or Louis XIII (at $400 a pop). The huge seafood restaurant has, by many accounts, the hippest rooftop in town, complete with a retractable roof and greenery galore. The indoor-outdoor vibe makes for a relaxing place to chill for brunch, where the truffle sashimi and a rich lobster-mac-and-cheese vie for top choices.
Tortilla Republic – Margs, margs and more margs
At Tortilla Republic (616 N Robertson Boulevard) come for the margarita bar, stay for brunch … so you can justify tasting a wide variety of margs without falling over on your way out. (Then again, happy hour starts at 3pm… with a tasty white sangria with your name on it.) From spicy pomegranate or cucumber lavender to a skinny or “perfect”, they’ll do you right with their margaritas. You don’t have to come with friends to order the “social” house pitcher, but it is more socially acceptable than ordering it for yourself. Sunday tends to be less crowded than Saturday; the mimosas are bottomless on both days. Don’t forget to order food with your drinks: breakfast quesadilla, fish tacos, egg machacha burrito, or chilaquiles.
Marco’s Trattoria – Bottomless + Neighborhood + Italian
Marco’s (8200 Santa Monica Boulevard) has friendly and unpretentious service and a friendly neighborhood vibe – and that’s before the bottomless mimosas kicks in over Sunday brunch. Omelettes, steak and eggs, eggs benny, sweet and savory crepes, and breakfast quesadillas are all great choices from 8am (for those just going home) to 2pm (for those just getting up). It’s been dishing up impressive Italian dishes and pizza at reasonable prices since 1993, and that’s saying something in WeHo.
kitchen24 – A welcome scene
kitchen24 (8575 Santa Monica Boulevard) Bottomless bloodies and morning-after mimosas for 15 bucks? Yessiree, heaven indeed. Open around-the-clock, this place is as much a scene at 3 a.m. (when people of all stripes, colors, and shapes pour in after a sweaty night of carousing, conversing, dancing, and drinking) as it is for brunch. The neighborhood joint excels in everything from smoothies to soups, mac-and-cheese to fried chicken sandwiches, and too many egg dishes to name.
Hugo’s – Healthy never tasted so decadent
Hugo’s (8401 Santa Monica Boulevard), a casual institution that’s had staying power since the early 1980s, helps you feel good about yourself by serving “stealthy healthy” meals. They were serving organic and vegan dishes long before everyone else caught on, before “gluten-free ever existed,” as LA Weekly said. Their deservedly popular brunches are worth waiting in line for, partly because of the excellent service. As for their choice elixirs, we recommend their Very Berry Sangria, a Smashed Cucumber (gin, cucumber, lime juice, organic cane sugar, and soda), and an Orange Mint Julep (Bourbon, muddled orange peel and mint, house-made organic cane syrup.)
Pearl’s Rooftop – Fun with DIY mimosas
The second story of Pearl’s (8909 Sunset Boulevard) overlooks the Sunset Strip, right in the middle of the action next to Whiskey a Go-Go. Come-come to the neighborhoody open-air patio to indulge in their fun DIY Mimosa Kits, complete with fresh squeezed OJ, fun juice mixers, striped straws, flowers, and a bowl of berries. (Add house champagne rather than the pricey stuff so you can follow the crowd and order a few for your small group! You’re in a no judgment zone.) Pearl’s, a little chill and a little kitschy, specializes in fried chicken benny, flatbreads and a burger with cheddar, bacon, aioli, and caramelized onions. Perfect for the morning after one of those nights, with a photo booth and swing for selfies if you’re not too bleary-eyed.
Some visitors plan trips around destination hotels or special events, others around chic eats or one-off shops. All good. In-the-know denizens, though, arrange their priorities differently: bar and club hopping rule their itinerary impulses. With good reason, or more accurately, with many good reasons.
West Hollywood has an inordinate number of rooftop bars, most with seductive pools and sublime views. WeHo also has more restaurant and bar liquor licenses per square mile than anywhere else in California, according to a report by WeHo by the Numbers. (Good thing it’s only 1.9 miles square, eminently walkable, and easily navigable via Uber.) Santa Monica Boulevard, as it passes through WeHo, is ground zero for L.A.’s LGBTQ nightlife scene, while WeHo’s stake of the infamous Sunset Strip pulses with live music. No wonder West Hollywood’s population almost doubles on weekends.
Two issues remain unanswered but they’re personal: where to begin and when to end? These seven ideas get the party started. Go ahead, you know you want to.
The Abbey – Crown jewel of WeHo’s gay club scene
Who’s not in the mood for gyrating hunks, outfitted in tight shorts and not much else, busting out like classical Greek gods on pedestals? Yeah, that was rhetorical. The music is loud and proud, and the crowd (yes, it gets very crowded for good reason) is amped up by the go-go dancers and a mean selection of shots. Hey, what do you expect from a venue that holds the largest Bacardi account in the U.S. Yeah, that was rhetorical. For big tunes with a slightly more low key vibe, join the locals next door at The Chapel. You can even enjoy a spot of tea and cake between dance classics. At both places the mix of ages is wide, the clientele diverse, and the service friendly. …. 692 N Robertson Blvd.
Blind Dragon – Opium den vibe with karaoke suites
The clubbing experience here begins before you get inside, as you enter through a garage, a shipping container, a kitchen, and then a walk-in fridge. Once inside, it’s equal parts speak-easy club, bar, and lounge, with a main area decked out like a 1920s opium den complete with crimson sofas, black lacquer, and hanging lanterns. Now after a quick facelift, Blind Dragon has become a full dining experience in the vein of h.wood’s other restaurants Delilah and Nice Guy, with new seating conducive to a sit-down meal of snacks off of a revamped menu. No longer is it a late-night dim sum and pizza-only vibe, but is now a lounge offering a slew of Asian-inspired dishes. Of course, the supper club has cocktails at the forefront of the experience. Try the Fu Manchu, a Chinese five spice Old Fashioned with black tea-infused Chivas 12 to get those karaoke juices flowing. Channel your inner James “Carpool” Corden and book one of three private karaoke rooms. …. 9201 W. Sunset Blvd.
Troubadour – Small club with a big reputation
The iconic Troubadour venue lives up to its historic reputation. This intimate live music space has a second floor balcony, great sound system and a stage close to the audience. It has played an important role in the careers of hundreds of artists, including Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, Coldplay and just about any band who gigs in L.A. At any performance on any given night, the crowd is likely peppered with more than a few famous faces. If these walls could talk, they’d whisper that the hype is real here. … 9081 Santa Monica Blvd.
The Nice Guy – Part club, part restaurant
One of the hottest nightspots in WeHo right now, The Nice Guy is the brainchild of owners John Terzian and Brian Toll, whose aim was to offer their high-profile friends something between a dinner restaurant and a rave-like rager. The kitschy vibe is dark and intimate, almost like a friend’s 1950s or 60s era living room, back in the day, with Frank Sinatra playing in the background. Make reservations, push your way past paparazzi waiting for Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik, and settle into some delicious pizza or truffle-infused fries. Don’t miss the photo booth, a fun touch. Grab a seat at the bar for the best people-watching, and order a Rat Pack cocktail, or Sinatra’s favorite (Jack Daniels whisky with ice and water). … 401 N La Cienega Blvd.
The Viper Room – On Sunset Strip, where history is writ large
Many entertainers got their start on the Sunset Strip, the name given to the mile and a half stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes through West Hollywood. We’re talking legends like The Doors, The Byrds, Van Halen, and Guns N’ Roses playing in renowned venues like Whiskey-a-Go-Go, The Viper Room, The Roxy, and more. Live music lovers continue to visit the area for its history and current offerings, spanning from the 20’s to today. …. Check out The Viper Room, a deservedly renowned and intimate club-bar-music venue. It’s over-the-top chill with great bands, superb sound quality, cool bartenders, and luckily, no snake pit (or mosh pit for that matter). …. 8852 West Sunset Blvd.
The Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel – Stay in to go out
Start your evening ensconced in Bugsy Siegel’s former apartment, nursing a cocktail at the elegant bar, reminiscent of glamorous old Hollywood while a jazz pianist tinkles the ivories. Or head to the bar’s more casual poolside terrace, with sweeping views of L.A. for a glass of bubbly or a Sunset Bellini – with a side of oysters, sliders, or soft lobster tacos. …. 8358 Sunset Blvd.
Kitchen 24 – Soak up some booze before hitting bed
Open around-the-clock, this place is a scene at 3 a.m. when people of all stripes, colors, and shapes pour in after a sweaty night of carousing, conversing, dancing, and drinking. The neighborhood joint excels in everything from smoothies to soups, mac-and-cheese to fried chicken sandwiches, and too many egg dishes to name. It’s also heaven for morning-after bloody mary’s and mimosas. …. 8575 Santa Monica Blvd.
Room Service – Delivered before you can pass out
There are many reasons to sleep in the ‘hood, but this is the best by far: it’s easy and quick to find your way home. Stumble up to the privacy of your hotel room, focus really hard on the swirling menu print and by the time you’ve unlaced your dancing shoes, room service will have come a knockin’ … If that’s too challenging and requires too much concentration, when you enter the lobby, ask the front desk to send you the most popular item on the menu. It’s bound to be perfect.
Alta Cienega Motel
Andaz West Hollywood
Best Western Plus Sunset Plaza
The Jeremy West Hollywood
The London West Hollywood
Ramada Plaza West Hollywood Hotel and Suites
Sunset Marquis West Hollywood
Sunset Tower Hotel