Hollywood is back. Again. Like a screen siren with a second, third and now a 21st-century act, there’s an ongoing resurgence underway. Roam once-overlooked side streets between Hollywood and Sunset boulevards to see the result of a major infusion of investment nearing $1 billion in hotels, restaurants, rooftop buildouts and splashy event spaces.
Mother Wolf, Grandmaster Recorders, and the Thompson and Tommie Hollywood Hotels, with their rooftop hot spots Bar Lis and Desert 5, respectively, Wes Avila’s Ka’Teen, Superba Food + Bread Hollywood and the 221-room Godfrey Hotel have boosted mid-Hollywood’s street life and attracted a glittery crowd to a neighborhood that’s clearly in transition.
Although Hollywood exemplifies L.A.’s harsh urban realities and its dystopian undercurrents, the historic enclave pulsates with nightlife. Since 2015, Netflix has bolstered its fortunes via an estimated 1 million square feet of leased office and studio space. There are even more upmarket residential and mixed-use developments to come such as the under-construction, twin, 32-story, 731-residential unit Palladium Residences (behind the Hollywood Palladium).
“It’s meant to be a transportative space,” says chef Evan Funke of the restaurant-of-the-moment Mother Wolf (1845 Wilcox Ave.) housed in the Art Deco former Citizen News Building, which was built in 1931. Since its late December launch under Funke and Ten Five Hospitality, the 8,600-square-foot, grand Italian, seasonally driven eatery has attracted A-listers from Beyoncé and Jay-Z to execs such as Jeff Bezos and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Mother Wolf’s draw is Funke’s ode to Roman cuisine in a setting reminiscent of an opulent European brasserie under Venetian glass fixtures. The open kitchen and best-in-class sound system add contemporary elements to the reimagined space, which took two years to complete. Above Mother Wolf is a purpose-built event space under expansive skylights with its own catering kitchen, also managed by Ten Five Hospitality.
The enterprise is a key outlet in the Relevant Group’s deep-pocketed plan to transform the storied block at Wilcox and Selma. Next to Mother Wolf is Mes Amis restaurant (opening imminently under chef Lincoln Carson), within the 11-floor, 190-room, comfortably posh Thompson Hollywood Hotel (1541 Wilcox). The Thompson opened in August and will ultimately “diversify the perception of Hollywood,” says Dan Daley, CEO and Co-Founder at Ten Five Hospitality and Partner at Relevant Group.
Each of these fresh hospitality spaces has a signature design and vibe. It’s an eclectic mix. Atop the Thompson Hollywood, the rooftop Bar Lis recalls the French Riviera’s 1970s jazzy heyday; the Tommie Hollywood’s rooftop bar and hotspot Desert 5 features a country band and hospitable, Western desert-themed décor. Ka’Teen, with its own curved reed tunnel entrance, is off the 212- room Tommie Hollywood’s lobby and is chef Wes Avila’s innovative take on Yucatan cuisine.
Hollywood’s musical past is preserved at Grandmaster Recorders (1518 N. Cahuenga Blvd.) by the team behind West Hollywood E.P. & L.P. Restaurant & Rooftop. The longtime recording facility has a brilliant new life as a modern Italian restaurant, cocktail lounge (cleverly reusing the former control room and recording studio), scenic rooftop bar and glam event space. Memorabilia from Grandmaster’s hitmaking rock ’n’ roll past is found throughout the warm, custom-finished interiors. Cocktails are top-notch with specialties changing seasonally; dine inside for elevated seafood dishes and starters including caviar cannoli and a daily selection of crudo.
At 12,000 square-feet, the Godfrey Hotel’s (1400 Cahuenga Blvd.) IO is Hollywood’s largest rooftop — primed for socializing with indoor/outdoor seating, 25-seat bar, firepits and dazzling sunset views. Nearby, the brunch crowd found a new go-to patio at Superba Food + Bread Hollywood (6530 Sunset Blvd.). The revitalized courtyard hums throughout the day and is a popular casual gathering spot for showbizzers.
Just north of Hollywood Boulevard at 1850 N. Cherokee Ave., the 24-room boutique, Regency-styled Prospect Hollywood hotel is another upscale addition. Interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard created the Prospect’s boldly graphic and colorful interiors.