How West Adams, one of LA’s oldest neighborhoods, continues to evolve

Along West Adams Boulevard between South La Brea Avenue and Fairfax in central Los Angeles, you’ll find bustling new businesses like The Alsace Hotel, a warm, design-focused 48-key hotel and Danny Elmaleh’s food and drink (also behind the nearby favorites Mizlala and Johnny’s). Hip coffee shops like Highly Likely have sprung up and are breathing new life into one of the city’s most diverse and historic neighborhoods, once home to personalities like Marvin Gaye and Johnnie Cochran. That’s how you make it a day.

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Southern restaurant Alta Adams

Andrea D’Agosto

On the wall

The Band of Vices art gallery has two locations on the boardwalk, Sacred House and CoLab, the latter of which is an incubator for emerging artists to share their work. In the sprawling Sacred House, Founder and Creative Director Terrell Tilford curated a recent exhibit titled “Gaze,” featuring vividly painted portraits of Baltimore artists Monica Ikegwu and Tommy Mitchell that powerfully portray black youth.

lunch break

Do as the locals do and stop at Tartine for an excellent cup of coffee (and a sweet treat for later) to sip while you wait in line at Wally’s Pollo for a half or full pollo asado cooked over a live fire and served with handmade tortillas and all the fixings. There are picnic table style seating for an alfresco feast.

bring it home

See locally made pottery, homeware and jewelry in Antiqua, where Israeli-born owner and silversmith Iris Yona also displays some of her own work. For clothes, head to the old neighborhood anchor Runway Boutique LA, where Fatima Dodson combines her love of Afrocentric, bohemian fashion with vintage finds.

part of life

In 2015, the creators of long-standing indie hip-hop label Delicious Vinyl, which spawned artists such as Tone Lōc, The Pharcyde and Young MC, created a pizzeria that has become a central hub for residents of West Adams and its music community. In pre-pandemic times, Delicious Pizza hosted epic block parties with DJ sets and pop-up shops. The live events have yet to return in full swing, but the pizza is still great, especially the Hawaiian one, which will silence any purist who claims fruit doesn’t belong on a pie.

Tasting Notes

Jaela Salala brings her own flair to Adams Wine Shop, with an emphasis on low-priced bottles produced by black and female winemakers. Sit outside and enjoy a flight, or buy a bottle to take away next to Alta Adams, the Southern restaurant headed by Chef Keith Corbin. Or, local tip: enjoy a bottle of carbonated Lambrusco with your slice of Delicious pizza.

Sit and enjoy

Chef Avner Levi and his team at Cento create regionally inspired Italian pasta with a California twist. For dinner, book a table on the terrace among the olive trees and lavender, or sit at a counter in the open kitchen and watch the team prepare beautiful dishes such as the crimson beet spaghetti with poppy seeds, brown butter and ricotta or the decadent chicken liver crostini .

This article appeared in the April 2022 issue of: Conde Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here

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