Where to Eat, Sleep, and Surf in Munich, According to Eyewear Designer Garrett Leight
There's more to the Bavarian capital than beer and Lederhosen.
Garrett Leight comes by the whole cool-kid thing naturally. The son of Larry Leight, the creator of pioneering eyewear label Oliver Peoples, Garrett shares his old man’s sense of style — an effortless blend of classic glamour and modern flair. But the thirty-five-year-old Angeleno is also blazing his own sartorial trail, having launched his eponymous eyewear brand, Garrett Leight California Optical, in 2011.
Garrett is most inspired by his native California, specifically Los Angeles’s Venice Beach, where the company is based, but it hasn’t stopped him from sourcing inspiration elsewhere — including Munich, Germany, where Garrett and his design director Elena Doukas travel for work every year. On the heels of their most recent trip to the Bavarian capital, we caught up with Garrett and Elena to get their top city picks — from where to shop to the best place to surf (really).
“For a traditional Bavarian meal, we’ll go to Augustiner-Keller, a large dining hall that serves giant portions of schnitzel and other classics. They also have plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, which can be challenging to find in the city. We love to sit downstairs, where they have old beer barrels as tables, but if the weather’s good, we recommend sitting outside. Once you’ve had your fill of Bavarian food, head to Brenner Grill, a restaurant and bar on the fashion-forward Maximilianstraße Avenue. It’s a steakhouse, but they also have great antipasti selections and seasonally-driven, veggie-centric dishes. Another favorite is Kismet, a small Turkish restaurant that has great food and a lively bar. There’s usually a DJ on the weekends and it’s kind of removed for the hustle and bustle of the main square, so it’s more of a locals’ spot.”
“MyTheresa is a Munich institution, with a killer shoe salon and a bright, open design that makes you want to shop for hours. They stock everything from Dries Van Noten to Prada, and the dressing rooms are prime for selfie-taking, with pink walls and rose-gold mirrors. We'll also visit two outposts of the optical shop Leidmann— one in Maximilianstraße, another in a residential neighborhood called Hohenzollernstraße. They carry the full Garrett Leight California Optical collection, and it’s always interesting to see how they bring the California sensibility to Munich. This one is a bit strange, but we never visit the city without dropping in at the Aesop flagship in Luitpoldblock. Yes, there are Aesops all over the world, but this is one of the most beautiful we’ve ever seen. It’s like they’ve taken an 80's-era office building and suffused it with a romantic, muted, Versace-esque theme, with marble counters, a rosy color palette, copper piping, and vintage furnishings.”
“The Viktualienmarkt is a famous outdoor market with an endless array of delicacy food shops selling grab-and-go bites and edible souvenirs. From there, you're a 20-minute walk from The Brandhorst Museum, which has an incredible American modern art collection. We especially love the Andy Warhols and the works by the late Los Angeles conceptualist artist Mike Kelley. You can easily see everything in under two hours, which makes it great for when you're short on time. Across the street is Buchhandlung L. Werner, a bookstore that stocks books on fashion photography, architecture, fine art, you name it. To get outdoors, we love walking through the Englische Garten and watching wetsuit-wearing surfers ride the waves of the Eisbach river."
“Cortiina is a cool, full-service boutique hotel located off Munich's tourist track. It has a nice residential feel — in the early days, we even showed our collection there. The rooms are large and contemporary, but still feature traditional Bavarian design accents. They have a great cocktail bar and the room service is excellent.”