This One-mile Neighborhood in Los Angeles Is Making Hollywood Cool Again

What's old is new again in The Vinyl District.

Interior of Bar Lis at the Thompson Hollywood

Michael Mundy

Neighborhoods are said to go through life cycles — from growth to stability, decline, and then revitalization. Hollywood, California, is well into its revitalization stage.

Thanks to a slew of new openings, and revivals of old favorites, the neighborhood is having a real moment. And nowhere is that more evident than the "Vinyl District," a smaller enclave between Hollywood and Sunset boulevards. It's a destination worth re-exploration, thanks to palpable energy that harkens back to the neighborhood's golden era, celebrating the music and entertainment industry that began there nearly a hundred years ago. 

"There's no disputing that Hollywood has come out swinging in 2022, and there are still a lot more properties to come online in the buzzy Vinyl District," Grant Smillie, cofounder of The Botanical Group, told Travel + Leisure. The Botanical Group oversees The Vinyl District's 15,000-square-foot restaurant, rooftop, and lounge, Grandmaster Recorders. 

Dj playing a set at Studio 71, Grandmaster Recorders

Courtesy of Grandmaster Recorders

"Grandmaster Recorders kept its original namesake, but it's a far cry from the humble recording studio that was part of the Hollywood fabric from 1971," Smillie said. "It's been completely transformed to incorporate a new-world Italian dining room, expansive rooftop lounge, and 71 Studio Bar in the original recording room where iconic artists and bands recorded."

Grandmaster Recorders isn't the only place bringing fresh energy to Hollywood, a destination many locals thought had long since gone stale. The Aster, a private members' club and hotel, also opened its doors in October 2022 under hospitality brand Salt Hotels.

Guest room at The Aster in Hollywood

Sam Frost

"Its location is legendary and truly the heart of Hollywood — for us, the perfect location. We are excited about so much activity in the area, including new hotels, restaurants, and the entertainment industry," David Bowd, the founder and chief executive at Salt Hotels, told T+L. "All our properties have strong community ties from local purchasing, recruitment, partnerships, and charitable support. The Aster will be no different, and we are in the process of making strong local connections that will help businesses and enrich our members' experience."

And just down the block, Amoeba Music, a mainstay on Sunset Boulevard for two decades, has moved to a new Hollywood Boulevard location in the Vinyl District. Its previous location is getting new life, too, with the Lighthouse Art Space, where visitors can expect immersive art and music experiences.

Whether planning a visit, a restaurant dinner, or a late night of dancing and cocktails under the stars at a rooftop lounge, you'll find culture and luxury in Hollywood's Vinyl District. Here's where to stay, hang, and dine when you do. 

The Best Hollywood Hotels in the Vinyl District

Interior guestroom at the Thompson Hollywood

Trevor Tondro

Opened in December 2021, tommie Hollywood is for the modern traveler seeking convenience, originality, and a casual atmosphere. Guest rooms and lobby spaces are comfortable and functional, with a midcentury California vibe and city views. 

Thompson Hollywood, located near the iconic Hollywood & Vine intersection, is a luxury hotel featuring a stunning lobby and plush guest rooms designed by London-based Tara Bernerd & Partners and building architect Steinberg Hart. The trellis-covered entrance leads to a stylish, sophisticated lobby bar and expansive seating areas. 

Opened in August 2021, The Godfrey Hotel Hollywood offers 220 guestrooms, one of LA's largest rooftops, event spaces, bars, restaurants, and interiors designed by The Gettys Group of Chicago. Its curated art collection features interactive custom art-deco pieces, including a brilliant "I Love You" sculpture at the hotel's entrance. 

The Aster, a private members' club and hotel — named for the native Los Angeles flower — opened in October by award-winning hospitality brand Salt Hotels. "The Aster is led by hospitality and a strong focus on the guest and member experience. It is truly unique with so many offerings under one roof, including members' lounges, workspace, screening room, recording studio, Cabernet lounge, pool, wellness facilities, and large suites all tied up with great service and hospitality," Bowd said. 

Dream Hollywood, on the corner of Selma Avenue and North Cahuenga Boulevard, opened in mid-2017 with a unique indoor-outdoor lobby, clever artwork, chic style, and design by architecture firm Rockwell Group. A rooftop pool, lounge, restaurants, lavish guestrooms, and suites continue to make this early arrival to the district a popular choice.

Casual and affordable, Mama Shelter LA opened in 2015, joining several other Mama locations around the world. The hip, friendly, and lively hotel features 70 rooms, a restaurant, and a rooftop with panoramic views of Los Angeles.

Where to Eat — and Drink and Play — in the Vinyl District

Rooftop at Grandmaster Recorders

Wonho Frank Lee

Grandmaster Recorders features three distinct experiences: an elevated Italian & Australian-inspired restaurant, a studio cocktail bar, and a rooftop lounge with panoramic views that include the iconic Hollywood sign. Its historic location began in 1920 as a silent movie theater. From 1971 to 2016, it served as a recording studio where Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, and others created their megahits. Helmed by an all-star culinary team, Australian Head Chef Blake Shailes offers a distinctive new take on New World Italian Cuisine.

The Rooftop boasts cozy seating, terrazzo tables, and a panorama that includes the glittering lights and the Hollywood sign. At 71 Studio Bar, rock 'n roll memorabilia and clever cocktails create the atmosphere. In a nod to the building's years as a recording studio, the bar will only play music made between 1971 and 2016. 

Bar Lis, a chic rooftop lounge and celebrity hotspot, conjures the spirit of the French Riviera in its decor, style, and vintage movie photos, with live evening entertainment, cocktails, canapés, and an extensive list of wines and champagnes. Plush sofas with striped fabrics, indoor and outdoor seating, greenery, and a European-inspired fountain are surrounded by views of the Hollywood Hills and the city.

The Terrace, open for breakfast, lunch, and late afternoon light dishes at Thompson Hollywood, features poolside dining and cocktails and seating under bright yellow and white umbrellas for the perfect Instagram moment with city views in every direction. 

Newly opened Mes Amis, by celebrated chef Lincoln Carson, presents a new generation French-inspired brasserie that evokes the vibrant spirit of eateries along the Grands Boulevards of Paris.

Ka'Teen, which neighbors tommie Hollywood, is inspired by the Mayan city of Tulum and the culinary history of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Native Angeleno chef Wes Avila combines local ingredients with ancient traditions in dishes like Pescado Zarandeado and Nopalito Salad. Its outdoor setting, casual menu and specialty cocktails create an appealing tropical atmosphere. 

Desert 5 Spot brings the casual roadside hangout style of Southern California's desert towns to the rooftop at tommie Hollywood. The indoor-outdoor music venue and cocktail lounge feature honkey tonk, jukebox, and an in-house band along with beer, wine, food, and "Make it a Cactus" margaritas that serve up to ten.

Blending Italian and Japanese cuisine, Magari is led by chef Yoshiyuki Okuno, James Beard award-winning chef consultant Tony Messina, and Sicilian-born executive chef Enrico Merendino. The unique menu includes crudos, house-made pasta, and signature dishes. Find Magari on Sunset near Gower, with outdoor seating, a spacious bar area, and modern decor. 

Named for the lemon groves that once flourished in the area and celebrating its agricultural traditions, Lemon Grove has opened under the direction of chef Marcel Vigneron. The restaurant is located on the expansive rooftop of The Aster private club and hotel.

Caico e Pepe at Mother Wolf

Courtesy of Mother Wolf

Mother Wolf features the Roman-Italian cuisine of Evan Funke, with extravagant decor and the pastas, pizzas, and dishes that have earned acclaim for Funke's restaurants. The menu's highlights include fiore di zucca (stuffed squash blossoms) and carciofi alla giudia (artichokes) in the stuzzi (small plates) section. (And, in case you were wondering about the name, Mother Wolf refers to the mythological wolf who raised the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, without whom we might not be enjoying Funke's exquisite Roman cuisine.)

Citizen News, a completely renovated 1930s art deco building, was once home to the Hollywood Citizen News local newspaper. Now reimagined as a two-level event space and entertainment venue, its convenient location between the Thompson Hollywood and tommie Hollywood hotels adds to its appeal as an event destination.

I|O Rooftop, located on the seventh floor of The Godfrey Hotel, features indoor and outdoor space with a stunning bar and cocktail lounge and a spacious poolside deck. On the hotel's ground floor, restaurant and bar ALK (About Last Knife) serves Southern California-style cuisine in a casual art-filled space with a retro vibe.

Highlight Room at Dream Hollywood, one of the first glam outdoor rooftop venues to arrive in the Vinyl District, features a pool, cocktail lounge, and grill with views of the Los Angeles skyline. The Lounge at Highlight Room on the hotel's 10th floor is the place for dancing, live performances, and DJ music every Friday and Saturday from 11 p.m. - 2 a.m. Tao Asian Bistro, along with Beauty & Essex, remain Hollywood favorite dining spots.

Just a mile away, Providence is Hollywood's quintessential seafood restaurant helmed by celebrated L.A. chef Michael Cimarusti and co-owner and general manager Donato Poto.

Also nearby, L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele of "Eat, Pray, Love" fame is a Hollywood must that serves a full menu of world-famous pizzas (don't skip the pasta, especially the spaghetti alla nerano), along with cocktails, wine, and gelato. The establishment also has plans to expand to Long Beach, Santa Barbara, and New York later in 2022.  

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