If there’s one city that you really need a local’s guide to, it’s the diverse and sprawling ‘City of Angels’, Los Angeles. I lived there for four years myself and was skeptical at the beginning, but very quickly fell in love with the city and it still kind of breaks my heart that I’m not there. Today I speak with a brilliant entrepreneur, friend and Aussie expat currently living in Los Angeles, Sophie Lovejoy! Sophie is the founder of the gorgeous Sydney/Los Angeles based pyjama brand, Sant and Abel. She shares my deep appreciation for this sun-soaked entertainment capital of the world and she’s the ultimate go-to gal for a local’s perspective on Los Angeles. Take it away Soph!
Sophie Lovejoy, founder of Sant and Abel pyjamas, on the right in her new ‘Weekend at the Parker’ collection.
Your Favourite Place That Only Locals Know About
Mandeville Canyon. It’s the most beautiful hiking trail in the Santa Monica Mountains with spectacular sweeping views across the ocean. It’s also one of the very few off leash hikes for dogs in LA.
Sophie’s dog Daisy at Mandeville Canyon – image by Sophie Lovejoy
Your Favourite Popular Place that is a Crowd Pleaser for a Reason
The Broad (rhymes with road), a contemporary art museum in Downtown. The $140 million dollar building is architecturally stunning inside and out and houses the private collections of philanthropist Eli Broad, along with temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Attendance is free to the public, giving you access to some of the most incredible works from the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jasper Johns, Damien Hirst, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and many more. Following an afternoon at The Broad, head down the road to Perch for a cocktail (see below). Insider tip: Since admission is free, the lines can be lengthy to get in, therefore I recommend hiring someone from TaskRabbit to stand in line on your behalf! 🙂
Your Favourite Restaurant
It’s a tie between Dan Tana’s and Republique. Dan Tana’s, a very classic Italian restaurant, was made famous in the 50’s due to Frank Sinatra who performed next door at the Troubadour and was looking for a bite and drink post-show. Expect old school red check table cloths, Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling, arrogant waiters dressed in tuxedos who are incredibly endearing particularly when you become “a local”, and the all time best chicken parmigiana. You can also expect to see high profile celebs and power players on any given night who go there to hide and experience an old school Italian charm which never changes.
Dinner at Dan Tana’s – image by Sophie Lovejoy
Republique is a modern French restaurant set in the most incredibly designed but not remotely ostentatious building. Communal tables and private tables are dotted throughout the building and the atmosphere literally buzzes from the moment the doors open at 8am till close at midnight. Breakfast is mouth watering with an array of the most delicious treats baked daily from renowned pastry chef and co-owner Margarita Manzke. The sandwiches for lunch are some of the best in LA and Margarita’s husband, Walter Manzke’s shared dishes for dinner are the most creative and well put together ingredients, it’s hard not to order the whole menu.
Republique interior and pastry case – image by Sophie Lovejoy
Your Favourite Bar
Perch in Downtown. You enter through a beautiful, historical building which is intrinsic of the architecture in Downtown but so rare to see anywhere else in LA. Then you hop inside a rickety elevator and wonder if it’s ever going to get you to the rooftop. You get to the mezzanine roof top, walk around a corner and ride another rickety elevator up one more flight, then you step out to a sweeping view across LA. The cocktails, view and atmosphere are fantastic. AND, it’s a mere five minute walk from The Broad.
Your Favourite Store
I’m a massive foodie and love cooking so I always seem to gravitate towards Williams Sonoma near my place in Beverly Hills. I always adore the selections and displays at the Taschen book store and I love a number of stores on Abbot Kinney Blvd, a thriving shopping strip in Venice which is getting better and better.
Your Favourite Hotel
LA has some great hotels. The new Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills has a great roof top restaurant and bar. The new La Peer Kimpton hotel in West Hollywood has been so beautifully and cleverly designed, I love hanging out at the bar there and Shutters in Santa Monica is always my favourite beach front location.
Your Favourite Way to Spend Time Outdoors
Beach runs from the Venice Wharf to Marina Del Ray first thing in the morning with Daisy. No better way to start the day! Also heading out to Malibu (despite the traffic) for a long lunch at Malibu Farm on the pier.
The Most Interesting Person You’ve Met in Los Angeles
Gray Malin, the photographer. I met Gray through my friend who used to work for him. I had long admired his work so it was a real highlight to meet him. His work is a simple concept but executed so well. Gray has since become a very good friend and I am even more inspired by his ideas and creative talent. Looking at his work ethic gives me a huge boost with my own work at Sant and Abel.
Ideal date night in Los Angeles
This is a unique one and best to do during Daylight Savings… book a sunset tour at Stahl House, a modern style home in the Hollywood Hills which was built in 1959 on a site very few ever thought would be achievable for construction. The sweeping views of the entire city of Los Angeles are incredible and it is considered one of the most iconic representations of modern architecture not in only Los Angeles, but around America. It was also made famous by a photograph showing two women leisurely sitting in a corner of the house with a panoramic view of the city through floor-to-ceiling glass walls.
Following the sunset tour at Stahl, go to Pace (pronounced Pach-ay) for dinner. It’s a secret gem, cozy and romantic on the nearby Laurel Canyon Blvd with a menu created around the local agriculture. Finish the evening at the iconic Sunset Tower Hotel’s Tower Bar on Sunset Blvd for renowned Sundae – the best!
Anything else that a honeymooner needs to know about LA?
- Hike to the Griffith Observatory
- Hire bikes and ride along the boardwalk between Santa Monica and Venice or all the way to Manhattan Beach for a big day out
- Walk along Rodeo Drive
- Do a tour of celebrity homes – it’s cheesy but fun!
Malibu Beach, California via Sant and Abel Instagram
About the author Sophie Lovejoy’s Sant and Abel: Sydney/Los Angeles brand Sant and Abel’s 100% pure cotton range is about providing classic, sophisticated sleepwear with personality so you can feel comfortable sporting pyjamas at any time of day. Made for men, women and kids using the softest and most breathable cotton. They’re the perfect pyjamas for you and your bridesmaids to get ready in on the day of your wedding!