The Los Angeles Hipster Guide
The East Side of Los Angeles is booming: Almost everything noteworthy—from restaurants to boutiques—is popping up over in Los Feliz, Echo Park, Silver Lake, or Downtown. Here’s where LA’s most pace-setting crowd hangs out.
Amoeba6400 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood | 323.245.6400
Though there are two other locations in San Francisco and Berkeley, this Hollywood location, which occupies an entire city block, is the largest. The diverse music selection spans two floors, and an entire room devoted to jazz.
Apolis826 E. 3rd St., Arts District | 855.894.1559
Apolis is the brainchild of brothers Raan and Shea Parton, who started the social enterprise (they've officially been a B Corporation for years) back in 2004. Their mantra is "advocacy through industry," a guideline that drives their manufacturing both in the Los Angeles garment district and at factories overseas, where they employ artisans at fair wages regardless of their location. While it's undeniably fun to shop their website (you can see where each product was manufactured, alongside info about the people who made it), their flagship store in the Arts District is by far the best place to get a sense for the brand. Inside the gorgeously appointed shop, you'll find tailored men's basics and luxurious accessories like leather luggage and their famous burlap farmers market bags, which have achieved a cult-like following in LA. Check their calendar to attend one of their community events, where they bring entrepreneurs, artists, and other tastemakers to their space for talks and performances.
Bassike1918 Lincoln Blvd., Venice | 424.228.1102
If you're looking for the perfect (and organic) T-shirt, look no further. Australian brand Bassike (pronounced “basic”) has been on our radar (and in the goop shop) for a while now—in no small part because it does great soft cotton jersey T-shirts that hang perfectly. Everything is made from organic and sustainable cotton, yet every piece is luxurious, modern, and structured. The first brick-and-mortar in the states is in Venice—the heart of LA’s surf and skate culture, which is a nice match for the brand as it has its roots in the Australian surf town of Avalon. Light-filled and spacious, the interior echoes the line itself—sleek and modern, with neutral tones and architectural shapes. Do not leave without rifling through the kids' section.
Broome Street General Store2912 Rowena Ave., Silver Lake | 323.570.0405
In addition to the delicious lattes, homemade sandwiches, and old-fashioned candies and trinkets, this general store stocks an equally excellent selection of homewares, including perfectly minimal white ceramic bowls, gardening tools, kitchen supplies, and more.
Calder Blake11708 Washington Pl., Culver City | 310.397.3600
Tucked away on Washington Place near the Mar Vista/Culver City border, Calder Blake is an oasis of timeless basics that are intended to last, from simple made-in-the-States cotton jersey tees to solid tank dresses, ribbed bodysuits, and simple cotton pants. All of owner Amanda Blake’s designs channel a minimalist, utility-driven elegance, complemented by a small selection of accessories and home goods, like jewelry from artist Erin Considine and pottery from LA native Victoria Morris.
Creatures of Comfort3902 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake | 323.486.7978
Along with their own expanding line of basics, Creatures of Comfort's industrial racks are lined with labels like Patrik Ervell, Rachel Comey, J.W. Anderson, Perks and Mini, and more. They now have an outpost in New York, as well.
Dream Collective1404 Micheltorena St., Silver Lake | 323.660.2000
This jewelry line has garnered a bit of a cult following in LA. And we get why: The subtly organic pieces—inset with semiprecious stones—feel unique and slightly imperfect.
East/West Vintage727 N. Broadway, Ste. 115, Chinatown | 213.761.5393
Conveniently set up inside the same Chinatown strip mall as Roy Choi’s Chego, this teeny but beautifully curated vintage store is arguably one of the best in L.A. It’s also the place you want to be when hunting down the perfect pair of vintage Levi’s—the selection here isn’t necessarily vast, but each piece is lovingly chosen, washed, and repaired by the owners themselves to look its best. There are also band t-shirts, army jackets, and a few racks of dresses—all in excellent shape. If pins and patches are your thing, the semi-annual pin-and-patch parties are a totally gold mine.
Elizabeth and James189 The Grove Drive, #O-30, West Hollywood | 323.647.7111
Elizabeth and James recently opened their first stand-alone shop here in LA, and the edit brilliantly reflects designers Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen's proclivity for easy layers and simple jewelry. So it should come as no surprise that for the month of August they teamed up with another goop favorite, Love Adorned, to curate a small shop-in-shop—vintage fine jewelry, blessing stones, Suzanne Sullivan ceramics, plus leather zip pouches hand-painted by artist Jimmy Sheehan. Photos: Tristan Kallas
Flowerboy Projects824 Lincoln Blvd., Venice | 310.452.3900
This airy spot on Lincoln is kind of the perfect trifecta: Part café (plus donuts!), part home goods shop, and part florist. The taste level here is spot-on, as it's the sort of place where you might swing by for a latte and emerge with five hostess gifts and a stunning bouquet.
Formerly Yes954 S. Broadway, Downtown | 213.332.4254
Founded on the design principle that less is often more, Formerly Yes (which formerly used to just be online-only), now occupies an airy boutique Downtown—just a stone's throw from the Ace. Much likes its site, the offerings are extremely winnowed down and edited, i.e., you'll find only design classics, like Braun alarm clocks, Japanese platters, and Iittala tumblers.
Garbstore Case Study603 N. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park | 323.549.9668
This shop sits just a little bit north of La Brea's busiest shopping stretch (which seemingly welcomes a new boutique every week). You'll find designer Ian Paley's line of classic, heritage-style basics, along with pieces from Engineered Garments, Rydal Sports, and Garbstore x Reebok sneakers.
Mohawk General Store26 Smith Alley, Pasadena | 626.440.1603
Now three locations strong, this general-style store offers generally guy-centric range of clothing and accessories (there are a handful of great picks for women), along with really beautiful home goods. Expect to find Isabel Marant jumpsuits (for her), Engineered Garment pants (for him), along with Want Les Essentials laptop sleeves, Cire Trudon candles, and Fort Standard trivets. The originals are in Silver Lake.
Obsolete11270 Washington Blvd., Culver City | 310.399.0024
If you're looking for an incredibly long farm table, or a bed from an orphanage, look here. Everything here is insanely cool and patina'd, from the perfectly restored furniture to the truly one-of-a-kind finds. They've elevated store design and arrangement to an art, too, making this a fun place to browse.
Ooga Booga943 N. Broadway, #203, Chinatown | 213.617.1105
This deeply under-the-radar shop, located on the second floor of a Chinatown office building, is more like a gallery than a boutique. You'll find an Opening Ceremony blouse, hung next to a vintage poster, a one-off book, and a Mended Veil necklace. They opened a second location downtown, known as Ooga Booga 2 or Ooga Twooga.
Opening Ceremony451 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood | 310.652.1120
Occupying Charlie Chaplin's former dance studio, this second home to the much-loved New York City-born retailer (there are locations in Nolita and on the first floor of the Ace Hotel in NoMad) is one of our favorite places in L.A. to shop: The brands—from Christopher Kane to Altuzarra—are equal parts hard-to-find and excellent, and the maze-like rooms make it feel like a fun treasure hunt.
Otherwild1768 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz | 323.54.OTHER
Owner Rachel Berks focuses exclusively on artist and designer-made clothing, jewelry, pottery, posters, and prints. This is one of those stores where you never know what you're going to find, whether it's a simple turquoise drop necklace or a Gravel & Gold toiletry case, emblazoned with line drawings of boobs.
Poketo374 E. 2nd St., Little Tokyo | 213.537.0751
A testament to owners (and real-life couple) Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung’s creativity and taste, this color-happy shop in Little Tokyo somehow manages to look entirely different from visit to visit. While the core categories—home décor, stationery, accessories, and kids—stay the same, the assortment is constantly updated to keep up with the latest and greatest in design and still meet Poketo’s playful aesthetic. Expect to find Japanese stationery, tabletop pieces from Danish firm HAY, beautiful art books, and so much more. There's also a sister location in Culver City and in The Line Hotel.
ReForm School3902 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake | 323.906.8660
Near the popular junction of Santa Monica Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, this favorite shop has a curiously curated array of goodies from handmade pottery to children's toys, graphic t-shirts, jewelry, handbags, and stationery. Nearly everything in the shop feels like a brilliant find, making this a particularly good place to shop for special gifts.
The Last Bookstore453 S. Spring St., Downtown | 213.488.0599
A hugely successful used books and record shop may seem like an anachronism but this shop keeps expanding. Partnering with local institutions like CalArts and Crossroads Cultural Center, there’s a comprehensive schedule of open mic nights, readings, and talks.
Vacation Vinyl3815 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake | 323.666.2111
This great little record store features a tight edit—but that shouldn't dissuade you from asking them to help you track down something that's not out on the floor. During the week, they're open until 9pm.