My old client, Hammer and Spear, first introduced me to the L.A. Arts District four years ago, when they moved to the neighborhood, befriended everyone, and became a design destination and representation of what was to come. They knew the owner of Bestia and could get a table any night of the week, when it was the hardest reservation to snag in town. They met a local photographer—who they later partnered with—to form a printing company that pays homage to the neighborhood. They launched Saint Rita Parlor, a hand-crafted eyewear company made in DTLA, and have since helped propel the careers of other artists and designers with unique perspectives and stories. But this isn’t just a story about Hammer and Spear. It’s a story about why the Arts District has quickly become the most vibrant, creative neighborhood in the country right now. The foundation was built on community.
In a world full of big box retailers and cookie-cutter experiences, DTLA is full of talented individuals who had a vision for creating something local. Read on for a roundup of my favorite independent shops, bars, and restaurants that are all walkable in a city that rarely recommends walking anywhere.
Where to get caffeinated: Blacktop Coffee
Where to buy yourself some cool eyewear so you’ll fit in downtown: Warby Parker at Alchemy Works
Where to go to make friends and buy something gorgeous for your home: Hammer and Spear
Where to go to feel like you’re in the “art world”: Hauser & Wirth Gallery
Where to have a vegetarian lunch that doesn’t feel vegetarian (and a cocktail while you’re at it): Zinc Cafe & Market
Where to eat the best meal in LA for under $20 (beer included): Wurstküche
Where to have a cozy dinner: Church & State
Where to brag to your friends that you’ve been: Bavel
Where to be a pinball wizard: Eighty Two
Where to get a nightcap: E.R.B. (Everson Royce Bar)
Photos by Ashley Burns Photography
Arts District Los Angeles Bestia Blacktop Coffee Church and State Coolest Neighborhoods LA downtown Los Angeles DTLA Everson Royce Hammer and Spear Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles Arts District Salt and Straw The Pie Hole Wurstkuche Zinc