Awards season’s social marathon is upon us. For event planners, Los Angeles and New York City have what it takes to entertain and entice the glitterati. Venues pull out all the stops with of-the-moment menus for showbiz’s particular eaters, free-flowing craft cocktails and vintage bubbles. Eye-popping decor is a given. Here are some new or newish places that will please the glammed-up crowd this awards season.
Above It All: 18 Social at Hotel Indigo Los Angeles
Downtown L.A.’s latest venue options include the 350-room Hotel Indigo, close to the Nokia Theater and Staples Center. There’s a nod to old Hollywood in the hotel’s graphic wall coverings. Hotel Indigo opened in April with more than 21,000 square feet of meeting space: the neon-accented 18 Social is the hotel’s view-rich 18th floor bar and lounge where there’s a private room for 50 or space for 200 via a buyout.
899 Francisco St. Los Angeles, 213-232-8800, ihg.com
Divine Cucina: Eataly L.A.
The partners behind Century City’s Eataly L.A. designed the custom space to host all kinds of events, from small private dinners (up to 35) in the glass-walled La Scuola di Eataly cooking school to galas for 1,000 at Terra, the still-to-come top floor restaurant and event deck. Buyouts of the massive emporium are possible, too. There’s a dedicated entrance and private valet turnoff on Avenue of the Stars.
10250 Santa Monica Blvd., at the Westfield Century City, 213-310-8000, eataly.com
Premium Digs: Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
Catering at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills is by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, from the sheltered terrace at his eponymous restaurant to the rooftop pool deck (150-400 guests). The Astor ballroom is relatively intimate, sized at 150-seated guests compared to the vast International Ballroom at the adjacent Beverly Hilton.
9850 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-860-6566
Cleo Third Street
Shared plates and fresh, flavorful Mediterranean-inspired cuisine is the calling card for executive chef Danny Elmaleh’s Cleo. The latest edition is in midcity Los Angeles, on a prominent corner fronting the Orlando Hotel. There is 6,300 square feet of flexible space including a second-floor private dining room. Capacity is up to 225 for a standing reception, 150 seated. Look for Cleo outposts in South Beach, Nassau, Bahamas and in New York City at the Mondrian Park Avenue.
8384 W. 3rd St., 323-579-1600, cleorestaurant.com
Hollywood Fun House: Beauty
Deep in the heart of Hollywood on Cahuenga Boulevard, Tao Group’s versatile restaurant/bar/lounge has several sumptuously outfitted spaces that can be easily privatized. All is hidden behind a decorator perfect and open-for-business pawnshop that serves as the entrance. After the big reveal, there’s a skylit dining room under sparkling crystal chandeliers with a secluded upper level and private dining for 44. If the weather is fine, the outdoor lounge is great for gatherings.
1615 Cahuenga Blvd., 323-676-8880, beautyandessex.com
Beverly Hills exclusivity:
Make a grand entrance through CUT by Wolfgang Puck’s tiered dining room at the Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel, or enter discreetly via a side entrance — either way, the 24-seat Petit CUT private dining room awaits. CUT’s meat-centric menu is available and Wagyu beef sliders are always in demand.
9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-777-3711, fourseasons.com/beverlywilshire
Open-Air Team Building: Catalina Aerial Adventure
Seeking an outdoor event space and wholesome team building opportunities? On Santa Catalina Island, a newly installed aerial ropes course offers plenty of action for groups. The trails are suspended within a grove of eucalyptus trees in an oceanfront canyon above Descanso Beach, all above Catherine’s Terrace, a 1,900-sq.-ft. indoor/outdoor oceanfront meeting room/ballroom, with room for 20 to 200. The outdoorsy options (including a zip-line course and climbing wall) are a fresh alternative for event planners considering G-rated activities.
Descanso Canyon Road, Avalon, 877-778-8322, visitcatalinaisland.com
Skyline Adjacent: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn
Set on the Brooklyn side of the East River, the 194-room 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge has views of lower Manhattan from many guest rooms, the Rooftop Bar (450-person capacity) and the 10th floor hospitality suite/boardroom. The plant-filled lobby and East River and Brooklyn Bridge Park-facing cafe are made for informal meetings; there’s 20,000 square-feet of event space in total. A 50-seat screening room has full HD-Digital projection and an 84-inch x 140-inch screen.
60 Furman St., Brooklyn, 347-696-2500, 1hotels.com/brooklyn-bridge
The Lobster Club
Architect Peter Marino is the maestro of retail design (Barney’s New York and Beverly Hills, and Chanel Beverly Hills) and fashionable hotels (Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara). Within the iconic Seagram Building, the Japanese-influenced bistro The Lobster Club from the Major Food Group is Marino’s first U.S. restaurant. It bursts with color, art and custom fabricated sculptures. Private dining rooms hold 10 to 50 guests; the entire highly visual and textured space can by booked for 120 seated guests or 250 for a cocktail reception.
The Seagram Building, 98 E. 53rd St., New York, 212-375-9001, thelobsterclub.com