One of Hollywood’s most exciting new openings is Grandmaster Recorders, a former recording studio that combines 50 years of musical history into a cocktail lounge, a rooftop bar and an expansive Italian restaurant. The Botanical Hospitality Group nightspot incorporates memorabilia from the legendary space that hosted the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Kanye West, David Bowie and many more.
The complex falls within the area dubbed the Hollywood Vinyl District for its concentration of music-oriented spots. “Hollywood is going through a huge transformation, and we’re really excited to be part of that,” Botanical co-owner Grant Smillie tells Variety.
Try selections from the cocktail program, like bespoke martini service with a caviar “bump” or NFTs — Negronis for the table — in bar located in the former recording booth, which is decked out in glam gold. In the next room, an enormous disco ball — sourced from “Dancing With the Stars” — provides a backdrop for the musical entertainment in store. “The 71 studio room bar is the most interesting piece of it,” says Smillie. “We retained its original footprint so that the drum room, control room and main recording room are all intact. It was key to me that we should keep that particular piece.”
Upstairs in the airy restaurant, culinary director and head chef Monty Koludrovic takes a New World approach to Italian food. Incorporating ideas from his Australian background, he creates “food Nonna would recognize but not necessarily cook herself.”
Sourcing items from suppliers from the L.A. suburbs, Australia and more — such as TransparentSea Farm shrimp, Weiser Family Farms produce and Peads & Barnett pork — Koludrovic designs dishes like insalata di pesce (on the extensive crudo menu), sourdough cavatelli with slow-cooked lamb, burrata with truffle and crunchy chili and a stew of mussels, clams, fish and Maine lobster with a side of lobster grits. The chef shows off his favorites on La Casa Mangia four-course tasting menu, or order mains cooked over the woodfired grill like barolo-glazed wagyu beef cheek or the salt-crusted Bistecca Fiorentina porterhouse steak.
His wife, pastry chef Jaci Koludrovic, gives classic tiramisu a musical twist: A chocolate disc tops the dessert, with the restaurant’s logo printed on the edible record label. But don’t miss her whole passion fruit sorbet, with the refreshingly tangy fruit stuffed into its own shell.
Atop the building, a more casual bar menu offers fried stuffed olives, panini and chicken vodka parm, along with a stellar view over Hollywood.
1518 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood