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Welcome to a world of travel, entertainment and culture, curated from a global collective of writers, photojournalists and artists. Each article of our award-winning magazine is sure to inspire, no matter which of our destinations you call home.
            Back to Open Skies

Travel to Los Angeles


Arts District, Los Angeles

1 February 2015


Los Angeles’ Arts District draws you into its maze of warehouses and factories covered in eye-catching street art. Once an industrial hub, then a haven for artists, the past decade has seen this Downtown LA (DTLA) enclave flourish into an epicentre of all things culinary and crafty. Restaurateurs, gallerists and artisans thrive in this burgeoning neighbourhood, as does Hollywood’s A-list: Kevin Spacey’s Trigger Street Productions works out of the 1925 National Biscuit Company building; scenes from The Fast And The Furious and National Treasure were filmed here. A new generation of loft dwellers has an appetite for pop-up shops, sustainable food and small-batch coffee. The future holds more change, with the anticipated completion of One Santa Fe, a US$160 million apartment and retail complex, as well as plans to transform the former Coca-Cola factory into creative office space. There’s even talk of a new hotel. Visit this part of east Downtown LA before it loses its Wild Wild West feel.


Visionary duo Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung started their business on a whim. To promote the works of friends, the filmmaker and graphic designer put on art shows, which, as fun as they were, fell short on the sales front. To make art affordable, they began creating limited-edition vinyl artist wallets – and bingo! Poketo (pronounced Poh-KEH-toe) was born. Eleven years later, the married couple manage a multi-disciplinary business: their online shop sells homewares, stationery and accessories by global artists; they’ve collaborated on projects with Fortune 500 companies including Nike and Target; and the brand’s two Los Angeles-based retail stores offer an extended range of goods and exclusive lines. The flagship, located in this playful loft space, offers a Pinterest-worthy display: there’s whimsical fine jewellery from Myers Collective, specially-made speckled geometric mugs by local ceramicist Ben Medansky and a rotating selection of the signature wallets. A belief in “art for your everyday” grounds Poketo’s workshops, events and, of course, art shows. International shipping is available. 820 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles | Tel: +1 213 537 0751 | poketo.com


New Yorkers Kimberly Helms and Jared Stein have encapsulated the Angeleno wellness ethos on an industrial stretch of Mateo Street. What was once a paper factory is now The Springs, a 13,800-square-foot holistic sanctuary. More urban oasis than hippie central, the space houses a juice bar; spa with acupuncture treatments and an infrared sauna; pop-ups selling beauty potions and accessories; a lounge area with Wi-Fi; a yoga studio backed with a floor-to-ceiling mural by Christina Angelina and Ease One; and a full-service restaurant serving organic keg wine. The raw vegan menu by chefs Michael Falso and Ian Martin has made a fan out of Moby – and the musician comes in for dinner every week. Drop by at 1pm on Monday through Friday for a free 30-minute meditation class. You may spot Gwyneth Paltrow. 608 Mateo St., Los Angeles | Tel: +1 213 223 6226 | thespringsla.com


Portland-based Stumptown is a favourite amongst the coffee intelligentsia, and it’s fitting that the brand’s first California café and roasting facility opened in DTLA. The shop luxuriates in space and transparency, its light-filled storefront rich with the smell and sound of grinding coffee. At one end of the wooden coffee counter a built-in pastry case displays Sugarbloom Bakery treats – the kimchi spam Musubi croissant is umami-good – and at the other a barista pulls espresso shots from the gleaming La Marzocco. The piece de resistance is a 60kg Probat roaster, on view to customers behind glass. There’s also a Chemex station for single-origin pour-overs and a tasting room that hosts cuppings. Bag some beans for home; the Hair Bender house blend makes one of the smoothest brews. 806 S. Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles | Tel: +1 213 337 0936 | stumptowncoffee.com


Angel City Brewery is a playground for over-21s. Established in 1997, it wasn’t until 2013 that the brewery and public house opened in the historic John A Roebling Building. The huge space offers plenty of seating, an area for darts, walls with art on display, a store selling branded apparel and accessories and a bar with10 beers on tap. The small-batch offerings include White Nite, a golden stout tinged with coffee and the dark and smooth Vanilla Porter. Custom flights of five beers are available for US$9. A food truck is parked outside nightly; otherwise, Angel City is happy for you to bring your own. Take a brewery tour – they’re held throughout the week – and come by on Thursdays, when the triangle lot up front turns into a farmer’s market from 5pm to 9pm. 216 Alameda Street, Los Angeles | Tel: +1 213 622 1261 | angelcitybrewery.com


Raan and his wife Lindsay Parton run the gallery-like Alchemy Works. Open since November 2013, the breezy boutique is constantly evolving. “The store design was intended to be raw and dramatic, but it is also very transformational as most fixtures aren’t permanent, so it can move around easily to feel different each season,” says Lindsay. Almond Surfboards from Newport Beach lean against the wall; Warby Parker sunglasses and optical frames beckon under a suspended glasshouse; a dried flower installation by Tokyo’s Green Fingers greets customers by the door (it will be switched out in spring). Favourite finds include the LA-made Weiss Watches; Rodin oils and candles; and Harry’s men’s shaving sets. Anchoring the 2,000-square-foot shop is a 1971 Sabot sailboat that retails for US$2,500. Pop into adjoining Blacktop Coffee, order an espresso and sip while you shop. 826 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles | Tel: +1 323 487 1497 | alchemyworks.us


Apolis, literally translated from Greek as “no city”, was founded by brothers and global citizens Raan and Shea Parton. The purveyors of menswear and accessories employ artisans from around the world to empower local communities. “Advocacy through industry” is how they put it. A thoughtful selection of crafted creations fills their shop: check wool-and-silk scarves from India; LA-made Indigo Wool Blazers, tailored to fit; and an Alpaca Travel Kit, hand loomed by a Peruvian co-op. Their Market Bag, made in Bangladesh, is its own success story – what started as an order of just 50 bags now comes in myriad versions thanks to collaborations with brands including Kinfolk, Poketo and Old Faithful Shop, Vancouver. Kudos to the duo for being selected to join the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Their upcoming apparel collection will show at New York Fashion Week, and there’s a glass partnership with Chivas Regal scotch on the horizon. 806 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles | Tel: +1 213 613 9626 | apolisglobal.com


Burrowed at the end of a gritty alleyway, Bestia is one of the Arts District’s brightest stars. Voted Top Newcomer in Zagat’s 2014 Los Angeles Restaurant Survey, the revamped coal warehouse evokes a butcher shop vibe, with chopping-block tables and meat-hook chandeliers designed by Studio Unltd. The Italian menu excels in nose-to-tail cooking, including melt-in-your-mouth roasted bone marrow, gutsy veal tartare, and house-cured meats from the charcuterie bar. That said, there are delicious options for the meat averse: grilled whole Branzino; squash and ricotta gnocchi; Kabocha squash soup; and for lovers of uni, a smoked sea urchin bottarga and chicory salad. Homemade and in-season ingredients define executive chef Ori Menashe’s approach, whose wife, pastry chef Genevieve Gergis, makes a decadent tangerine-topped crème fraîche pannacotta. Will it stand its ground against the newly-introduced Pink Lady and candied persimmon crostata? Only time will tell. Dinner reservations are recommended. 2121 7th Place, Los Angeles | Tel: +1 213 514 5724 | bestiala.com


A few blocks from Bestia, in what used to be the loading dock of a manufacturing building, the Factory Kitchen offers authentic Italian cuisine. The dining room, heavy on exposed concrete, attracts a convivial, low-key crowd served by a personable waiting staff. Chef Angelo Auriana champions his roots in the open kitchen with traditional regional dishes: tender porcetta; pappardelle; and the popular mandilli di seta, a silky handkerchief pasta in a light pesto sauce. Earlier this year, the restaurant introduced The Factory Bar menu. For less than US$10, you can order Jidori chicken liver mousse with crushed pistachios; melted cheese, truffle shavings, crostone and fegatini di pollo; and fonduta di formaggio. Director of Wine Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi curates an Italy-centric list, with bottles from Alto Adige to Veneto. For dessert, order the cannoli. 1300 Factory Place, Los Angeles | Tel: +1 213 996 6000 | thefactorykitchen.com