For many years, Highland Park in Los Angeles was a relatively unknown and quiet residential part of town. The last few years, however, tell a different story: 20- and 30-somethings, lured by the neighborhood’s affordable rents and proximity to downtown Los Angeles, have moved in and are giving local entrepreneurs the incentive to open restaurants, bars and fashionable boutiques. Much of the rebirth is happening on Figueroa Street, now a vibrant thoroughfare full of pedestrians.
Highland Park Bowl
A bar, restaurant and bowling alley all in one space: originally a popular bowling alley dating back to 1927, this sprawling space was a punk rock music venue until a local hospitality company, 1933 Group, took it over and restored to its former glory with the original bowling lanes, candy machines and placards. There’s also a Neapolitan pizza restaurant and four bars. Bowling is $50 per hour per lane; each lane accommodates six people.
In 2016, a former clothing store became a Mediterranean restaurant serving refined dishes in a laid back setting of high vaulted ceilings, copper tables and a long white marble bar. Renata Rokicki, the executive chef, aims to create approachable dishes using seasonal ingredients such as Moroccan spiced fried chicken and a citrus salad with pistachios and ricotta. Most dishes can be shared, and there’s also a strong cocktail program. A meal for two people with a cocktail each is about $60.
Tinfoil Liquor & Grocery
Is this year-old establishment a deli, a liquor store or a grocery? Jeremy Fall, the owner and a Los Angeles restaurateur, will tell you that it’s all three. The front of the store is stocked with high-end but affordable spirits, wine and craft beer as well as basic groceries; in the back is a hidden deli where patrons will find high-quality sandwiches made with house cured meats, breads baked in-house and made from imaginative in-house sauces such as sambal ranch. A six-inch sandwich, the smallest size, is $8.
The Quiet Life
Opened in late 2015, this airy men’s store with high ceilings and exposed brick walls is the place to peruse items from the eponymous brand. A team of four designers turn out the beanie hats, woven button down shirts, jersey T-shirts and other pieces from an atelier inside the store. The attire is sometimes simple, sometimes edgy but always comfortable and meant for everyday wear.
This long, minimalist boutique, opened in late 2016, sells one-of-a kind Japanese-inspired items. Among the finds are elegant ceramic tea ware, singing bowls traditionally used in meditation, art objects like handmade ceramic Buddhas, meditation stones and casual clothing spun with organic cotton and linens.