6 Restaurants Reviving LA Nightlife While Following Safety Protocols
While we still can’t party like we did before the coronavirus pandemic, local restaurants like Tao, Nobu and Delilah are reviving LA nightlife.
If you look past the mandatory temperature checks at the hostess table, and the masks and visors worn by the waitstaff, a Saturday night at the TAO Group concept Beauty & Essex becomes an escape from the COVID-19 pandemic shaping our current reality.
The restaurant at the Dream Hotel in Hollywood reopened in mid-July after doubling the size of its patio to accommodate more outdoor tables to comply with the State of California’s orders for indoor operations to end (again) on July 1.
Guests at Beauty & Essex are escorted through the dining room, past empty tables once occupied by LA’s elite, to an alfresco setting below twinkle lights in an alleyway. There, servers visit tables set six feet apart, not only to deliver inventive cocktails and upscale menu items, but also to provide guests with a taste of normalcy.
Nightlife venues and celebrity haunts have had to pivot in response to the coronavirus in order to stay profitable and relevant. For these restaurants, reviving LA nightlife has meant amping up outdoor dining availability and making menus more delivery friendly by adding items like cocktails to-go.
1. TAO Asian Bistro
Serving vibes that will sustain us until it’s safe to experience nightlife again is celebrity favorite TAO. Beauty & Essex’s sister restaurant also at the Dream Hotel is a Hollywood staple for its Asian-inspired dishes, which are normally enjoyed in the two-story restaurant, but are currently served on the outdoor patio under Chinese lanterns.
Dinner at Beauty & Essex and TAO, or a nightcap at The Highlight Room on the rooftop, will require a reservation that can be made on Opentable.com. To-go orders and delivery are also an option, as well as virtual chef experiences that let you cook alongside a TAO Group chef. Make Ginger Honey Salmon from TAO, or the Chile Spice Dry Aged Burger from Beauty & Essex during the class.
6421 Selma Avenue, Hollywood; 323.593.7888; taolosangeles.com
2. Employees Only
In early August, West Hollywood’s Employees Only made a transition similar to TAO’s by transforming its parking lot along Santa Monica Boulevard into an open-air pop-up called the Social Summer Club. The restaurant, which is known for its artisanal cocktails, serves drinks like the Citrus Cooler and Cucumber Retrograde to guests who sit at picnic tables under umbrellas every day of the week except Mondays.
Sharing their space with other local businesses, the restaurant collaborates with The Barber Truck Co to offer on-site appointments for haircuts, blowouts, braids and more. Other partnerships have included a taco cart presented by Tacos Tu Madre, classes led by Urban 728 Yoga and homemade Italian dishes by Orso Pasta.
Seating is first come, first served for cocktails and bites. Guests will need to book an appointment for haircuts (@thebarbertruckco), and reserve a spot for yoga classes (@urban728yoga).
7953 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 323.536.9045; employeesonlyla.com
West Hollywood’s Olivetta from Matt and Marissa Hermer of the Draycott in the Pacific Palisades was on pace to become a local staple when only a few months after opening, the pandemic brought business to a halt. On July 1, the restaurant paused all operations in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s orders, but by late August the restaurant announced it’d partnered with La Peer Hotel to serve dishes by chef Michael Fiorelli every Tuesday through Saturday. Similar to the Melrose location, which offers four different rooms to dine in or sip drinks, the residency at La Peer offers poolside tables as well as a private rooftop for ordering wood fired pizzas and cocktails.
Reservations can be made at Resy.com.
627 N. La Peer Drive, West Hollywood (temporarily); 310.307.3932; olivetta.la
This beloved nightlife destination from The h.wood Group, known for its boujee dinners and bottle service, started offering alfresco dining on its makeshift West Hollywood patio in late August, complete with its signature mint green Art Deco seats and flower wall. Menu favorites, such as the Shrimp Linguine and Grilled Tuna Steak, are available outdoors every Thursday through Saturday.
Reservations can be made at delilahla.com. Pro tip: Claim your table as soon as possible because the restaurant is already booked weeks out.
7969 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 323.745.0600; delilahla.com
5. The Nice Guy
Not long after Delilah launched its patio accommodations, sister restaurant The Nice Guy started offering alfresco dining at its West Hollywood digs. Toward the end of August, the cozy cocktail bar introduced patio and sidewalk seating, separated by plexiglass dividers, where guests can enjoy signature Italian plates and drinks.
Outdoor dining reservations on Tuesday through Saturday can be made by phone, and pickup or delivery orders can be made daily through Postmates.
401 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles; 310.360.9500; theniceguyla.com
6. Nobu Malibu
We could all use some coastal breezes and sushi on the patio at Nobu Malibu right about now. The Peruvian-Japanese restaurant by celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, set on the west side of the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, reopened its patio dining in early June to offer favorite dishes like the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna or the King Crab Tempura Amazu.
With limited seating capacity, it’s best to make a reservation in advance by phone. Pick-up and delivery orders, including cocktails to-go, can also be made via Postmates.
22706 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; 310.317.9140; noburestaurants.com/malibu
*If there’s a venue that should join this list, let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.