While Wilshire Center may be home to commerce by day, there's some edgy fun to be had within its four-mile radius at night. Not only that, but a number of top-flight restaurants stand ready to cater to every taste.
Who says your only option for a fun night out is Hollywood? Check out some of these highlights.
Brass Monkey: 3440 Wilshire Blvd. (213) 381-7047
Extreme karaoke is the Brass Monkey's deserved claim to fame. We're told patrons will wait for hours to take the stage for a number or two. It's a busy though on weeknights, but the scene's really hopping on weekends.
HMS Bounty: 3357 Wilshire Blvd. (213) 385-7275
Los Angeles magazine rated this neighborhood watering hole "best bar." And while regulars haunt the place weekdays for beveraged bliss and steak and seafood menu, the younger hipsters invade on weekends.
Wiltern Theatre: 3790 Wilshire Blvd. (213) 380-5005
There maybe no better concert venue in Los Angeles than the legendary Wiltern. This Art Deco-styled beauty is just the right size-not oppressively big like an arena, nor in-your-face cozy like a dive. Not to mention beautiful. In the mid?'80s, the Wiltern returned to its original 1931 glory after a careful and loving restoration. Oh, and did we mention that the sound system is superb? Lasting Wiltern memories abound-from Sinead O'Connor in 1990 to Concrete Blonde's farewell concert in 1993. Strongly recommended.
Rosen Brewery: 400 S. Western Ave. (213) 880-1636
Yes, a combination brewery and restaurant in the Wilshire Center. Word has it the liquids pouring from the establishment's burnished brew tanks are exceptional. You'll be dazzled by huge video screens that glow silently amid blaring rock music. In addition to the wide variety of brews, there's a full bar and a Korean-California menu.
La Fonda: 2501 Wilshire Blvd. (213) 380-5055
How about a Mexican restaurant, bar and dinner theater that's-hold on to your seat-really Mexican? Such is the case at La Fonda. Watch out for what is said to be one potent margarita. Also on hand are the mariachi band Los Comparos and the Ballet Folklorico. As we said, it's a dinner theater?the real thing.
Palm Tree LA: 3357 Wilshire Blvd. (213) 381-3388
Calling this establishment a cafe and sports bar doesn't cover it. It's more like a cavern, with 23,000 square feet of space housing a billiards section and a facility for bowling. The menu features Hawaiian pizza and even stir-fried octopus. Live music on weekends (jazz, R&B, pop).
Wilshire Ebell Theatre: 4401 West 8th St. (323) 939-0126
From 1927 on, the 1,270 seat Ebell has served as an atmospheric theater hosting the likes of Judy Garland and Agnes De Mille, Stevie Wonder and Marianne Faithful. History permeates this environ.
Grimoire (Friday nights at Monte Cristo's): 3102 Wilshire Blvd. (213) 252-9343
Would you believe a gothic-rock club? In the Wilshire Center? We kid you not. On Friday nights Sisters of Mercy fans can indulge themselves to excess in all their made-up glory. If one's unnaturally pale and thin to the point of anorexia, you will find him or her at Grimoire.
Taylor's Prime Steaks: 3361 West 8th St.
An urban steak house in the classic mold, Taylor's features dim lighting, red booths and awesome food. If meat's your thing, it's here, from filet mignon to lamb chops. Taylor's signature dish is the super-aged culotte steak. If you order the combination specials, you will be offered a choice of teriyaki (beef, chicken or salmon), vegetable tempura and sashimi. Call (213) 382-8449.
Atlas Bar & Grill
See description in "Entertainment and Nightlife." Features an eclectic Caribbean menu in a supper-club style.
See description in "Entertainment and Nightlife." Come here for a taste of real Mexican food.
Cassell's: 3266 W. 6th St.
Los Angeles magazine voted Cassell's "best burger in L.A." What it doesn't possess in atmosphere it more than makes up for in awesome burgers. Check out the horseradish potato salad. Call (number TK).
Woo Lae Oak: 623 S. Western Ave.
What every Korean restaurant should aspire to. Marinated meats and seafood are grilled at your table and served with rice. Before that, enjoy the vegetable dishes and kimchee. Call (213) 384-2244.
Soot Bull Keep: 3136 W. 8th St.
A do-it-yourself cornucopia of Korean dishes. You can choose from steak, short ribs, pork loin, baby octopus and other fare and cook the food yourself on a grill in the middle of your table. Add side dishes to your satisfaction. Call (213) 387-3865.
Shilla: 647 S. Vermont
Sushi your thing? Or do you speak meat? Either way, you'll delight to this establishment's international buffet of diverse offerings. Call (213) 387-5678.
See description in "Entertainment and Nightlife." Come to Rosen for the finest in California Continental cuisine.
Dragon Restaurant: 966 Vermont Avenue
For classy Mandarin specialties, try Dragon's wide selection of pork, beef, chicken and seafood dishes. Serves lunch, dinner and cocktails. There are 14 private banquet rooms. Call (213) 387-8833.
Cafe Metro: 3438 Wilshire Blvd.
Talk about class. The Metro offers a French bakery, a coffeeshop and organic coffee and teas. Or why not try the baguette sandwiches and fresh salads? Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free delivery with minimum order. Call (213) 382-7099.
Jeepney Grill: 3470 W. 6th St.
A meat lover's paradise, Jeepney's offers short links of grilled longanisa nestled on a bed of garlic-intense hamfried rice. Call (213) 739-2971.
Saka-e (in the Radisson Hotel): 3515 Wilshire Blvd.
Fine Japanese sushi, tempura and teppan-yaki. Call (213) 381-7411.