Sip craft beer and soak in the uber-cool vibes of L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood. [Photos: (left) Krislyn Komaro, (right) Danielle Bernabe]
Ask any L.A. local for current city trends and they’ll tell you that one of today’s most exciting neighborhoods in Los Angeles is Silver Lake. Long just a normal community situated due north of downtown — with its only claim to fame a since-drained reservoir — Silver Lake has since morphed into a vibrant enclave for young, creative professionals who adore its laid back vibes and hip lifestyle.
A solid place to spend a day or night, here are some of the neighborhood’s must-see spots, from quiet coffee shops that serve up high-end Joe, to raucous clubs perfect for seeing music’s buzziest new act, and everything in between.
Grab a Drink at The Thirsty Crow
Silver Lake is home to a bevy of bars that cater to many tastes, whether you’re looking for something simple or a bit more upscale. None exemplify the neighborhood, however, more than The Thirsty Crow. Located on Sunset Boulevard (the famed street that cuts through the neighborhood), the bar is known for its hipster clientele, including a plethora of writers, actors and musicians who range from successful creatives to classic wannabes.
Along with a soundtrack that jolts from obscure ’60s tunes to ’90s rap, and intriguing libations doled out by expert bartenders, the bar is also well-known for an incredible selection of over 100 whiskeys and around 60 small-batch bourbons. In fact, the Thirsty Crow is such a L.A. staple, it was immortalized by the acclaimed singer-songwriter Father John Misty in his 2015 track “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Thirsty Crow,” which he probably wrote in order to keep the masses away from its grassroots charm.
Indulge in Ice Cream at Milk
While Los Angeles may be healthy-eaters paradise with its array of salad and juice shops, the city also knows how to serve up a cheat meal for the ages. For those of us who don’t worry about counting calories, there’s no better way to splurge than at Milk on Silver Lake Boulevard. Known for its expansive ice cream menu (flavors include classics like Rocky Road and unique tastes like Fruit Loops), the cafe also dishes out a mouth-watering selection of gourmet ice cream sandwiches and baked goods. Whether your craving delectable chocolate chip cookies or a massive sundae, Milk will satisfy your sweet tooth for good.
Eat Weekend Brunch at LAMILL
Hitting brunch on a Friday or Saturday afternoon is a ritual among Los Angelenos, and the go-to spot for many Silver Lakers is LAMILL. Known for its single-origin coffee and brunch staples like Eggs Benedict and Belgium waffles, the chic spot features outdoor and indoor seating and attracts a trendy clientele of creatives on power lunches to young parents with their kids. If time is tight, LAMILL also offers coffee and their fresh-baked line of goods to go, including decadent Gruyere and mushroom muffins.
Sip a Coffee at Intelligentsia
Intelligentsia has a stellar reputation for doling out some of the best coffee in the United States and after one sip, it’s easy to see why. Painstakingly sourced and shipped from around the world, the powers-that-be behind this sunny Sunset Boulevard spot have a passion for coffee and strive to make the entire experience akin to the culture that encapsulates the wine industry. Perhaps more interesting than Intelligentsia’s coffee is its clientele, which includes a fair share of both would-be and famed screenwriters who can typically be spotted on any given weekday pecking away on a sea of Macbooks at the cafe.
Feast on Ramen and Pork Buns at Silverlake Ramen
This isn’t the ramen you ate in college. One of the most popular eateries in Silver Lake is Silverlake Ramen, which is packed to the brim on most days thanks to an expansive menu that features its famed Tonkatsu Ramen, a pork broth-powered bowl of veggies and meat that’s become a local favorite. Throw in some of the joint’s equally soft and sweet pork buns, or their mouthwatering chicken karage (which is chicken that’s both marinated and fried), and you have yourself a meal that will make you forget all about scrounging for pennies in your dorm for the supermarket version.
Catch a Show at The Satellite
Los Angeles is known worldwide for its live music scene. This is, after all, the city where acts ranging from The Doors, Maroon 5, and Bruno Mars all have humble origins. To see tomorrow’s next great act, Silver Lake’s famed Satellite music club is a safe bet. The venue features a genre-spanning lineup of rap, alternative, rock, funk, and electronic, and is big enough that you’ll never feel cramped. While most shows require tickets (in advance or at the door), doors typically open up to the public and the music venue becomes a vibrant bar after the night’s show comes to a close.
Go Thrift-Shopping Along Sunset Boulevard
One quality that makes Silver Lake unique is the fact that it’s both high end and homey, and for proof look no further than the shops that inhabit its aforementioned Sunset Boulevard.
Take an afternoon walk down the bustling street and you’ll find thrift shop after thrift shop, both rundown and chic, selling an array of yesterday’s fashions that still make a statement if worn today. In addition to its hip clothiers, the street also boasts a bevy of record shops hawking both used and brand new albums, no doubt a treat for music aficionados young and old.