A simple guide to L.A. nightlife

People are always asking me where they should go out at night. Winston’s and Tropicana Bar are currently my favorite destinations — they both capture a spirit of L.A. that’s at once glamorous and effortless. Here are two articles I wrote for LA.com.


Like an Industry clubhouse

It may be an ultra lounge buzzing with Industry types, but anyone can slip casually–yet fabulously–past the doormen for a chic evening that, if done right, includes lots and lots of champagne (for the ladies) and whiskey (for the men).

Thanks to Teddy’s and Hyde, ultra lounges have become all the rage with their sophisticated décor and air of exclusivity. But they’ve also become a total spectacle (maybe even a joke?) with paparazzi waiting outside to get their blockbuster photo as doormen refuse entrance to those not named Paris, Nicole or Lindsay. Though long lines do form on weekend nights after 10:30pm, there’s no velvet rope drama outside Winston’s. Located on a sleepy stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard, the tiny bar sticks out solely because it’s the only business on the block without a sign. Inside, Winston’s is designed like an East Coast haunt: Exposed brick wall? Check. Filament light bulbs? Check. Dark wood everything? Check. The crown molding and framed pictures of sailboats are a charming New England touch, but Winston’s has totally nailed a NYC vibe, if New York bars were abuzz with agents, actors, screenwriters and the like. (It’s owned by Andy Fiscella, an actor repped by Endeavor, and has investors including producer Beau Flynn and GQ editor Chris Huvane.) Early in the evening, the dim lighting makes for a perfect date place. (Just ask Travis Barker and Shanna Moalker, who recently made out here despite their impending divorce.) When the clock strikes 11pm, however, it gets packed with eligible–and we mean seriously good looking and successful–dudes, making Winston’s the perfect place for lasses on the prowl to find a date.

Tropicana Bar

If you squint really hard, Lindsay Lohan kind of looks like Marilyn Monroe

SkyBar be damned! The poolside bar at the Roosevelt Hotel is bursting with laid-back Hollywood glamour. Neon lights illuminate fluttering palm tree branches; orange, white and grey linen loungers spread around the pool evoke a chic ’60s vibe.

Amanda Sheer Demme, who now co-owns the fabled Roosevelt Hotel, hopes to bring an eclectic mix of writers, artists, rockers and photographers here (as long as they’re not chasing the starlets in the parking lot). It’s the newest of the hotel’s triumvirate of bars. To pull together the Tropicana decor, she teamed up with prolific interior designer Dodd Mitchell. Mitchell kept the David Hockney blue-wave mural at the bottom of the pool but infused the rest of the venue with a luxe lounginess. The bar area—filled with couches, communal tables and a fireplace—now feels like a cozy outdoor den. It’s more spacious by the pool, where the DJ spins, though not the best spot to form an impromptu dance floor. As for the crowd: Jake Gyllenhaal and Eva Mendes partied here opening night; we spied Kirsten Dunst a few days later. Paris and Nicky Hilton, Chris Kattan, Hank Azaria and Simon Rex have since become regulars.