Nighttime L.A. offers everything from opera and symphony, musicals and rock 'n' roll concerts, to comedy, theater and, of course, the movies. Each area of the city has its own set of entertainment attractions. Each also has a different set of places to go after the show, for late supper, early breakfast or just cocktails, coffee and conversation.
So, if Shakespeare leaves you with a craving for hot cross buns, or jazz inspires visions of pastrami on rye, where do you go after the show if you're Downtown?
The Downtown area has a thriving after-hours scene. What with the Music Center, including the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson, the Variety Arts Center and other places, the city attracts a considerable crowd in the evenings, especially on weekends.
After the show, you might try one of the following establishments, all of which offer tasty victuals and diverse ambiance for your late-night rendezvous:
Pacific Dining Car, 1310 W. 6th St., telephone (213) 483-6000. Valet parking. Reservations are welcome, but not necessary.
The Pacific Dining Car serves a full dinner menu 24 hours a day, and breakfast from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Steaks are a specialty, as are mesquite-grilled fresh fish, chicken and lamb. The breakfast menu is renowned for items such as Eggs Sardou (poached eggs with artichoke hearts, spinach and hollandaise) and Eggs Blackstone (with grilled tomato and crumbled bacon). Desserts anytime. Full bar, and one of the longest wine lists anywhere--300 varieties to choose from.
Earl Carroll Lounge, on the fourth floor of the Variety Arts Center, 940 S. Figueroa St., telephone (213) 623-9100. Valet parking $4, or $3 self-park just north of building. Reservations not necessary.
Open Friday and Saturday evenings until 2 a.m. for cocktails, the Earl Carroll Lounge offers a late supper menu between 10 p.m. and midnight. The chef is developing a new menu now, but crepes and other light fare are the highlight at the moment. Strictly vegetarian crepes available too. Late supper is also offered in the adjacent ballroom, at a $10 cover charge for late-night entertainment.
The Original Pantry Cafe, 877 S. Figueroa St., telephone (213) 972-9279. Free parking across the street at 9th and Figueroa streets. No reservations accepted. (Note: This is a popular place, so expect a short wait.)
The Original Pantry Cafe offers a full dinner menu 24 hours a day. The house specialties are roast beef, short ribs, steaks, chicken and chops. Breakfast is served from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. No alcoholic beverages, but excellent coffee.
Itchey Foot Ristorante, 801 W. Temple St., telephone (213) 680-0007. Reservations are recommended. Parking next to the building is $1.
The Itchey Foot is open till midnight on Fridays only (open till 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, till 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday). Offering a cocktail bar and full dinner menu, the fare is predominantly Italian-American, featuring lasagna, eggplant and the house specialty, seafood linguine. Casual dress and informal atmosphere.
Gorky's Cafe, 536 E. 8th St., telephone (213) 627-4060. Security parking across the street. Reservations not necessary. Outdoor dining optional.
This popular music bar and restaurant has an excellent menu 24 hours a day, and beer and wine until 2 a.m. Gorky's house specialties are its fresh pastas and omelets. On occasion the live entertainment (folk and blues music) continues until 2 a.m. The restaurant has acquired additional space and will soon be adding 120 more seats.
Otto Rothschilds Bar & Grill, 135 N. Grand Ave., telephone (213) 972-7322. Pay parking at the "5 Star" lot across Grand Avenue, or, if you're already in the Music Center, just walk to the corner of Temple Street and Grand Avenue.
Otto Rothschilds evening hours depend on how late shows run at the Music Center (they are physically part of the building complex), closing some nights as late as 1 a.m., others as early as 6 p.m. So call ahead. They serve an excellent light menu until closing--fettuccine, salads and raw bar fare. Full bar and trendy but cozy atmosphere.