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Almost Famous

A Motley Crew of Hollywood Hotel Bars
  • Chateau Marmont

    Bar Marmont, Chateau Marmont

  • Chateau Marmont

    Bar Marmont, Chateau Marmont

  • Standard Hollywood

    The Standard Hollywood

  • Sunset Tower Hotel

    Tower Bar, Sunset Tower Hotel

  • Mondrian Los Angeles

    Mondrian Los Angeles

  • Mondrian Los Angeles

    Skybar, Mondrian Los Angeles

  • Andaz West Hollywood

    The Sundeck, Andaz West Hollywood

  • Andaz West Hollywood

    RH Bar, Andaz West Hollywood

  • Sunset Marquis

    Sunset Marquis

  • Sunset Marquis

    Bar 1200, Sunset Marquis

CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

L.A. spans some 500 square miles on the Pacific Coast of Southern California.

WHY GO

Though it’s a mind-bogglingly varied place, ready to contradict every preconception, it’s not hard to encounter the high-gloss L.A. of our imagination — show business, impossibly beautiful people, legendary nightlife, bank-busting shopping, perfect weather and all.

HOW

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the major air hub on North America’s West Coast, with direct domestic and international flights aplenty.

TABLET TIP

Once in town, you’ll need to get comfy in a car. L.A.’s public transportation system exists somewhere between unhelpful and altogether unknown. But really, poor public transit is beside the point, for what would the place be without its car culture?

West Hollywood, March, 2013

Touring rock stars and traveling businesspeople are generally viewed as opposites, but there’s one thing they have in common: the hotel bar is their natural habitat. On the Strip, where a century of decadence is distilled into a mile and a half along Sunset — home to the Whisky, the Viper Room, the Roxy and more — either type of road warrior has plenty of nightlife options. Whether you’re a diva, a crooner, or just raging against the insurance industry, there’s a Tablet hotel bar to suit your personality.

If you’ve got a bit of Lady Gaga in you:
Bar Marmont, the cocktail annex of the legendary Chateau Marmont, is the preferred party spot for some of the more recent-vintage stars of music, cinema and fashion. They’re drawn to its boudoir atmosphere, its menu by Spotted Pig alum Carolynn Spence, and a selection of classic and contemporary drinks. With a bit of luck you’ll spy Gaga herself in a Versace nightgown, or at least Lindsay Lohan strolling around in a bathrobe.

Joni Mitchell more your speed?
The Standard Hollywood’s Cactus Lounge is the perfect place to decompress before (or after) venturing into the hotel’s high-fashion pool scene. On Wednesdays the cocktails come accompanied by the sounds of L.A.’s modern folk musicians. These acoustic sessions are like a warm cup of herbal tea, a welcome rest in advance of a return to the usual amped-up program, whether that’s DJ Valida, a young designers showcase, or a poolside hip-hop video shoot.

Nostalgic for the Rat Pack?
Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel used to be Bugsy Siegel’s apartment (how’s that for history?) and now it’s one of L.A.’s most popular bars. With its Art Deco style, its walnut bartop, its jazzy vibe and its unassailable maître d’, you almost expect to see Tony Curtis and the Chairman himself emerge from some alcove, taking one last breath of the Sunset Tower’s air of old Hollywood glamour. If you’re not dining — or if you refuse to remove your cap in these relatively formal environs — you can still have a drink on the terrace by the pool.

Fancy yourself the next Kanye West?
Seek out Skybar at the Mondrian Los Angeles, a high (and high-fashion) perch above the city. The pool below presents some top-quality people-watching, with throngs of aspiring jet-setters wading up to their waists — if not in the water, then in their vodka sodas or fishbowl-sized mojitos. Dress to impress — the door policy is strict, especially for non-guests, which makes this the ideal venue for the local sport of celebrity-spotting (as long as you don’t mind an unscrupulous DJ dropping Justin Bieber into your Dr. Dre).

Seeking the stairway to heaven?
The RH Bar at the Andaz West Hollywood, now an unusually chic business hotel, pays homage to its former life as the Continental Hyatt House (a.k.a. “Riot House”) beloved by touring British bands on their West Coast sojourns. The balconies have since been glassed in, presumably to prevent any further outbreaks of TV-tossing, while the dress code and menu have both gone upscale. (Expect Ricard Champagne mojitos and truffle-oil fries.) Drop in on a Wednesday, when they religiously spin Zeppelin tunes.

Looking to channel your inner chanteuse?
Bar 1200, the old whiskey bar at the Sunset Marquis, can hold around forty-five rock stars in post-show decompression mode — or about a hundred young starlets, well-packed. The level of debauchery is more Lana del Rey than Courtney Love these days, and thanks to the NightBird recording studio just downstairs, so is the clientele. Have a few cocktails and you may find yourself putting on an impromptu performance.

Dante Nolleau

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CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

L.A. spans some 500 square miles on the Pacific Coast of Southern California.

WHY GO

Though it’s a mind-bogglingly varied place, ready to contradict every preconception, it’s not hard to encounter the high-gloss L.A. of our imagination — show business, impossibly beautiful people, legendary nightlife, bank-busting shopping, perfect weather and all.

HOW

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the major air hub on North America’s West Coast, with direct domestic and international flights aplenty.

TABLET TIP

Once in town, you’ll need to get comfy in a car. L.A.’s public transportation system exists somewhere between unhelpful and altogether unknown. But really, poor public transit is beside the point, for what would the place be without its car culture?

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