Annual survey covers 625 bars ~ clubs and lounges in the greater LA area, partygoers pay a high price for the high life; downtown is still Up; enterprising entrepreneurs blaze new territory; area is voted top-rated newcomer.
Zagat Survey has announced the results of its 2007/08 Los Angeles Nightlife survey.
The guide covers 625 of the hottest and coolest nightspots in L.A., from the Valley to Beverly Hills, including beer specialists to karaoke bars, cocktail experts to meat markets. The results are based on the collective opinions of 3,115 avid, local late- nighters who went out an average of 1.8 times per week, which is roughly 291,000 nights of "market research."
High Rollers: One thing is for sure: Angelinos definitely pay to play. According to this year's surveyors, the average cost of a drink in L.A. is $10.66, an astounding 11.5 % jump from last year and pricey when compared to the cost of a drink elsewhere: New Orleans ($6.92), San Francisco ($9.01) and New York City ($10.12), only Las Vegas ($11.86) is more expensive.
"In virtually every city where we survey nightlife, the average cost of a drink has soared over the last two years," said Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey. "Surveyors also report going out less often than they did a year ago. It's hard to say, but the former trend may be causing the latter."
News-Making Neighborhoods: As the new loft apartments in downtown Los Angeles fill up faster than you can say "Ketel One and seltzer please," so do the swanky nightspots. A few of this year's key downtown newcomers include Bordello, The Edison, sophisticated Library Bar, and whiskey-centric Seven Grand. As the area becomes more residential, it's not surprising that local watering holes follow as 56% of surveyors say they primarily go out to establishments in their own neighborhoods.
Enterprising nightlife entrepreneurs are taking a fresh direction, realizing that NoHo has enough space and proximity to Hollywood to become its own buzz-worthy destination. Eight-18 and Lucy's 51 have all the style and amenities of their counterparts over the hill, but they're not nearly as expensive or pretentious. And with the arrival of commie-chic Bar Lubitsch, and the paparazzi-free (for now) alternative Winstons, West Hollywood has become inexplicably blazing hot.
Take a Seat: When asked how they feel about bottle service, only 17% say it's a fun way to party. In contrast, a whopping 52% say it's a "rip-off." Any nightclub owner who banks on the publicity that a star-studded space provides, should note that 88% of surveyors say they either don't care or would be less likely to go to the places frequented by celebrities.
"Zagat surveyors are real, local people who eat, sleep, work and play in L.A.," said Gary Baum, local editor of the 2007/08 Los Angeles Nightlife guide. "And as much as we hate to admit that the celebrity lure influences their decisions, the simple fact is that you can't sit down in many top nightspots unless you're famous -- or you reserve a table with bottle service."
Newcomers: The only constant in the ever-changing nightlife scene is change. And this year, surveyors welcome Top-Rated Newcomer Area, where, be warned, "if you're not dressed like young Hollywood" and buying a bottle, "good luck penetrating the door." Following close behind are Les Deux, dripping with "flashy heiresses" and "overexposed superstars," and Boulevard 3, a former athletic center that boasts "playful" touches like a "sunken dance floor in the old pool."
Midnight Snackers: After a long night of hard partying, 42% of surveyors say they prefer to grab a bite. Today's lounges are making sure patrons don't even have to leave the premises. Celadon, Eleven, and Parc are leading the way with seriously good late-night menus that go way beyond the basics.
Top Rated by Category:
- Across the Pond - Coach & Horses
- Karaoke Bar - Brass Monkey
- Bar - Tiki-Ti
- Margarita Specialists - L'Scorpion
- Beer Specialist - Cafe Boogaloo
- Meat Market - Area
- Decor - Mixville Bar
- Most Popular - Yard House
- Dive - Joe Jost's
- Service - Hotel Bel-Air
- Frat House - 3rd Stop
- Sports Bar - Wild Goose
- Gay/Lesbian Bar - Abbey
- Theme Bar - The Chalet
- Jazz Club - Vibrato
- Wine Bar - Little Door
About the 2007/2008 Los Angeles Nightlife guide
For the first time in its 28-year history, Zagat Survey has significantly changed the look of its guidebooks. The guide now features new color graphics, icons and an easy to navigate special features section. The 2007/2008 Los Angeles Nightlife guide ($14.95) was edited by Gary Baum and Bill Corsello and can be found at local bookstores or by calling (888) 371-5440. Ratings and reviews can also be found on ZAGAT.com and ZAGAT TO GO, for mobile phones and PDAs. www.zagatsurvey.com