Summer in the City
West Hollywood is the hottest playground for party-hard glamour girls, especially this summer.
With The Real L Word returning on July 12, our imaginations will again be drawn to the lascivious, long-haired Sapphic subculture of Los Angeles, where lesbian lives intersect against a backdrop of glamour, drama and palm trees. Perhaps the most iconic L.A. turf is that of West Hollywood, located at the base of the Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills. This city, with its easy-to-navigate grid of streets and shopping precincts is the perfect place to strut your stuff, party like a reality TV star, or simply chill out.
Where to Stay
The Ramada Plaza West Hollywood (ramadaweho.com) offers a centrally-located option for lesbians who want style on a budget. The Loft Suites have separate bedrooms, pull-out sofas, living areas, and their own kitchens, which will appeal to those who enjoy self-catering (Trader Joes is less than a block away). The property has a kind of hip rock 'n’ roll vibe, and no wonder because it stands at the end of Route 66 on the site of the old Tropicana Motel, where musicians like Janis Joplin and Debbie Harry once partied.
Ramada Plaza West Hollywood
What to Do
Famous for Sunset Strip and Santa Monica Boulevard, the art, fashion and design district known as The Avenues (avenueswh.com), running between Santa Monica Blvd. and Beverly Blvd., is the latest hot spot for people watching and upscale retail therapy. From Diesel to Dolce & Gabbana, give yourself a fashion makeover and then reward yourself with a bite at one of the trendy nosheries like the Urth Cafe, which serves only certified organic coffees and teas. Cool yourself down with a fro-yo at the lesbian-owned Yogurt Stop. The very hip Misti Cooper, a former DJ originally from Oregon, is onto a delicious thing with this pump it yourself high calcium, low cholesterol yogurt with flavors such as Lezbionic Tonic, Girl Power Pistachio and the fat-free Milk My Harvey Chocolate.
Those who think West Hollywood is a vacuous place can dispel this stereotype with a visit the new West Hollywood Library. That’s right—we said library! The new 32,000 square foot, LEED-certified building is a design statement with stunning artwork, and features an extensive LGBT collection as well as events that bolster the local gay and lesbian community. The LGBT section is reportedly the largest publicly accessible, circulating collection of its kind and space has been set aside to grow the collection from its approximate 5,000 items through the acquisition of other prominent LGBT collections.
West Hollywood Library
Get your gay history on at Revolver video bar (revolverweho.com), a West Hollywood institution for gays in the 1980s and ’90s at the height of the music video craze. Revolver, named for its revolving front door, was a landmark destination where gay pop culture vultures sample signature cocktails and critique the latest video releases. The new Revolver preserves this tradition with retro screenings, sing-alongs, theme nights, karaoke, drag, and drink specials.
Where to Eat
The Ramada is within walking distance of a number of good restaurants, but two stand out especially. Cafe La Boheme (cafelaboheme.us) is a theatrical and romantic establishment, the perfect place to go to see and be seen while seducing your date. Executive chef Christine Banta turns out classic French-inspired dishes with a contemporary twist. With its opulent red interior, chandelier and private booths, you’ll fancy that you are in your own Moulin Rouge. To eat with the cool kids, the Australian-owned Eveleigh (theeveleigh.com) has an open, farm to table atmosphere and serves up a delicious array or small and large plates. The menu is an omnivore’s dream come true, and there is plenty to choose from for fussy eaters. Pescatarians, vegetarians and meat eaters are all well catered to with a creative array of small and large plates. Everything we tried, from the pot-roasted mussels to the hangar steak, was perfectly cooked and delicious. The cocktail menu and wine list also offer inspired choices. The Spring Sangria, made from Australian shiraz, apple brandy, figs, pears, red grapes, cinnamon, star anise, and cloves will give you all the social lubrication you’ll need for your evening.
Cafe La Boheme
Where the Girls Are
The Ramada is right across the road from The Palms, the long-running, friendly, old-school dyke bar. It’s a great place to drop by for a beer—Ellen and Melissa have been rumored to pop in over the years. If The Palms is the most iconic lesbian watering hole, then The Abbey is L.A.’s most famous mixed gay bar. The Abbey (abbeyfoodandbar.com) was voted best gay bar in the world by Logo TV, but it’s more than just a bar. With outdoor seating and a menu featuring modern American comfort food it has become a destination which offers everything you could want in one night under one roof. But if all you really want is girls, girls, girls, then Friday night is lesbian night at Here Lounge (herelounge.com/nights/friday). Organized by Courtney Caron and the Truck Stop Girlz, the night boasts plenty of drinking, dancing and debauchery, Real L Word-style! If you want to hang with the cast of The Real L Word for real, then Juicy at The Factory every Saturday is your best bet. Juicy (juicyclubla.com), which has a pumping nightclub vibe complete with top female DJs and go-go dancers was most recently hosted by dreadlocked darling Whitney Mixter, but should a Real L Word alum elude you, we’re sure you’ll find other more attainable eye candy.
A night out at Juicy with Whitney Mixter and girlfriend Sara Bettencourt
To plan your summer sojourn go to visitwesthollywood.com.
Summer Music Mania
Launched by the West Hollywood Marketing & Visitors Bureau, the Summer of Music campaign celebrates West Hollywood’s music heritage and summer even schedule through a weekly sweepstakes and grand prize giveaway. Music fans can enter to win one of eight weekly prize packages that include a hotel stay and a music-themed gift. Each weekly prize has a value of $400 or higher. To enter, go to visitwesthollywood.com/summerofmusic (click on Enter Sweepstakes) or facebook.com/westhollywood.
If you are a budding songwriter, write an original song inspired by West Hollywood and submit a video performance for the chance to win a $5,000 Ultimate Rockstar Getaway prize package that includes four nights at the Sunset Marquis hotel, VIP access to the Sunset Strip Music Festival, $1,000 spending cash, and other music experiences. For full details on prizes, contest rules and to enter, go to visitwesthollywood.com/summerofmusic (click on Enter Original Song Contest) or at facebook.com/westhollywood.