Beginning with the underground clubs that populated many of the vacant buildings in the 1990s to the Ace Hotel’s new occupancy at the historic United Artists Building on Broadway, the article navigates us through DTLA’s renaissance, suggesting that perhaps the world shouldn’t be looking at us as the model of car-centric suburban sprawl but of a stimulating, captivating city.
“Downtown isn’t a bet on hipsterism, not on dumplings or cocktails or cool shops or food trucks. It’s a bet on urbanism itself, a conviction that the past fifty years of outward, sprawling cul-de-sac development was just that: a dead end. That this is how we want to live, amidst the spark and jangle of humans pressed up against humans. Even in L.A,” summarizes the author Brett Martin.
Throughout the piece, he alludes to blocks that feel like snapshots of 1970s New York and the trappings of early-twentieth-century architecture. For instance, “At The last Bookstore,” he explains, “4,000 square feet of mezzanine— vaults, balconies, hidden passages, and all — has been turned into a cavernous maze of $1 books.”
Culinary success stories like Chef Josef Centeno’s Baco Mercat and Ari Taymor’s Alma (named Restaurant of the Year in 2013 by Bon Appetit) have become hubs for the growing downtown population and one of those rare destinations Angelenos from other neighborhoods feel compelled to drive to.
Aside from the Historic Core, the nearby Arts District scene has exploded as of late, alluring young professionals to locally-branded boutiques and standouts like Church & State and Bestia (named one of Los Angeles Magazine’s “10 Best New Restaurants of 2013”). “Downtown’s new denizens are overwhelmingly single, employed, and between the ages of 23 and 44—they eat out, drink well, and socialize like the city is their playground,” observes Martin.
Read the entire GQ article here.
If you have a curious palate, be sure to check out which of the above-mentioned restaurants are participating in dineLA’s Restaurant Week held from January 20 – 31.