Not too long ago, Downtown Los Angeles was better known as a melting pot for the immoral and nefarious. It was sketchy and dangerous and no one went there unless they had to, especially after dark. But all that has changed over the past few years. From homeless to hipsters, addicts to artists and dealers to diners, Downtown is quickly becoming the new hub of L.A. nightlife. The newest project in the city’s gentrification is L.A. Live. The collection of shops, activities and restaurants is like an oasis around the Staple Center. If you haven’t been there in a while you’re in for a big surprise.
Hours: Daily 5 a.m.-10 p.m.
The pulse of Downtown LA is pretty fast paced and a good dose of Java usually helps keep in stride. Illy Espressamente sits in the lobby of the JW Marriott Hotel. With it’s sleek design of red, silver and white and authentic Italian style, Illy Espressamente offers light gastropub fare with emphasis on coffee and tea. Whether you get your caffeine on the fly or sip it leisurely in the cafe or outer hotel lobby to people watch, this is one place you don’t want to skip.
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Hours: Sun 11 a.m.-1 a.m.; Mon-Wed 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Thu-Sat 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
This isn’t your parents’ bowling alley. Plush seating, cozy dining areas, posh VIP, surround sound, DJ’s and electronic art shows are just a few elements in the Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge experience. And with items like grilled burgers, chicken pot pie and short ribs so tasty you might forget you’re there to bowl.
Hours: Lunch Daily 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Dinner Sun-Wed 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Thu-Sat 4:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.; Happy Hour Daily 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
Relaxed, stylish setting, private dining and patio seating are only part of the charm for this authentic brand of true Mexican dining. The menu hosts an array of bold flavors and unique creations like empanadas de jaiba and chile ancho relleno that will keep you coming back for more. And if that’s not enough to get you in, there’s always their daily happy hour.
Hours: 10 a.m.-Dusk daily
Move over Downtown Standard Hotel, Ion has arrived. Hip, swanky and the right amount of pretentious cool has transformed the fourth floor of The Marriott Hotel into one of LA’s coolest rooftop bars. Ion is the ultimate break from reality with its own unique skyline view and heated pool. Signature cocktails and appetizer menu are offered year round.
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Looking for a little carnivorous indulgence before your team goes into battle? Then Lawry’s Carvery is where to head before a big game. Eight to 12 ounce prime rib platters, hand carved roast beef, turkey, chicken and of course prime rib sandwiches are all made to order and served hot and juicy, just the way they should be. But Lawry’s Carvery knows the players aren’t the only ones trying to beat the clock. All to-go orders are packed special so you can still eat it as hot as it would be if you ate it in the restaurant.
Related: Best sandwiches in Los Angeles
Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.