8. Kulak’s Woodshed, North Hollywood
One of the best local gatherings of musicians, by musicians for musicians in the city. More specifically, singer-songwriters. Kulak’s Woodshed hosts an open-mic every Monday night at 8 p.m. and features some of the best talent you’re going to find.
Admission if free, though patrons are encouraged to donate and throw a few bucks into the basket, or into the tophat, or into whatever is being passed around that night; since that is how the owner and founder, Paul Kulak pays his bills and funds the entire operation. It’s what’s kept the place going for over 15 years.
Now there’s no bar, or really any food served at all besides self-serve snacks in the back, and most of the audience is seated in armchairs, futons, or upon a large bed in the middle of the room. Yes, a bed. But don’t let that fool you. Its unorthodox set-up is one of many things that makes it so appealing, along with the great music.
Bluesmen and harmonica players, acoustic balladeers and troubadours, rappers and the occasional stand-up comic all pass through this place and help to create one of the most intimate, engaging, often moving, and maybe even romantic vibes you can experience in Los Angeles.
7. The Grove, Hollywood
I’m a fan of the Grove. There I said it. Now you might have heard of this place, and I’m sure some LA hipsters out there who know the city well might be looking at this one thinking, “Really, dude?” To which I say “Yes, really,” because there’s no way that I can not include this place, since its damn near magical, and yes I said magical. So what?
With it’s storefronts, movie theatre, bookstore, restaurants, cafes and altogether festive atmosphere, the place seems like it was constructed for the sole purpose of charming anyone who walks through it; designed specifically for a first or second date or any date down the line. That being said, it may strike some as being a little contrived, which is the most common criticism I hear from people.
I’ve got no rebuttal for that, other than “C’mon dude, lighten up.” Look, no matter who you are, there’s no way this place can fail in supplying atmosphere and a little romance during a night out with a special woman. I’ll take the lights, the charm, and the Sinatra music playing in the background any day. And I’m pretty sure she will too.
6. Mulholland Drive, Hollywood
Disclaimer: this is not for a first date, unless it’s her idea…which would be weird but also maybe pretty cool.
Suffice it to say that if you are the one who suggests driving through the dark and mysterious road located at the highest drivable point atop the Hollywood Hills at night—on the first date—then there’s a small chance she might think you’re a little creepy.
At spot number six is Mulholland Drive because actually driving through it is spontaneous, adventurous, mysterious and beautiful all in one.
The fame, or infamy, of the Hollywood Hills alone adds to its dark and exotic appeal. The beauty comes in at the many stops you can make throughout the drive, stops designed for drivers to pull over and take in the city at night, offering a spectacular view of the lights shimmering below. It’s truly not worth making the drive at all without pulling over at one of these points, getting outside the car and basking in the glory of one of young America’s greatest cities.