When you walk into BoHo, a new gastropub in Hollywood next to the ArcLight theater, you feel a bit like you're walking into your grandfather's den -- if your grandfather's den had 25 beers on tap and were full of hot ladies. (Your grandfather can dream.) Occupants aside, BoHo is bursting with kitschy knickknacks, gaudy oil paintings and mismatched lights and furniture.
Created by Kristofer Keith of Spacecraft Design, BoHo was conceived as a neighborhood-friendly pub, the kind of place where regular folks can pop in for a bite and a beer without breaking the bank or putting on their fancy pants.
"It's almost like you're dining in a junk store," says Keith. "I call it beautifully ugly." At first glance, the place can feel a bit disingenuous. Because BoHo possesses a cute, almost Disneyland-esque sense of poverty, it's easy to wonder if all this grubby stuff is part of an expensive scheme aimed at dressing down.
In truth, that's not the case. Owned by club maven Adolfo Suaya, the restaurant was until recently a slicked-up joint called Charcoal. Unlike BoHo, Charcoal was at a loss for a concept and never flourished. When Suaya contacted Keith, the designer was given 90 days to turn the place into something new and told not to spend much money.
Keith, who generally specializes in lush, upscale looks, immediately starting thrifting. He says he even pillaged his own collection of old flower paintings. He had a lot of them. "I'm weird like that," he says.
Employees also rummaged through their garages and brought in old junk, which Keith would then "edit."
In this way, BoHo is the ultimate green, recession-friendly restaurant. Nothing but a walk-in cooler is new; even the bar is built with the wood from Charcoal's tables.
Chef Andre Guerrero's market-driven menu is creative, filling and meant to be shared. Standout items include a crispy kalbi barbecue pizza, which comes with sides of chile paste and kimchi; a rich but delicate onion soup made with oxtail broth and smothered in Gruyere; moist short ribs in a tangy sauce served with buttered spaetzle; and an exotic octopus salad.
Open for a little less than a month, BoHo is, Keith says, beginning to take off. The only downside so far is that people are stealing the kitsch.
"I had about 10 teddy bears, and now there are only five," says Keith. "But I bought them for a buck a piece, so I'll just buy more."
Where: 6372 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
When: 5 to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5 p.m. to midnight Fridays, noon to midnight Saturdays, noon to 11 p.m. Sundays
Price: Small plates, $6 to $16; pizzas, $10 to $14; big plates, $14 to $24; beers, $6 to $9; cocktails, $9 to $12
Contact: (323) 465-8500