Up to Date: An After-Dark Guide to Hollywood, Los Angeles

Discover some of best places in Hollywood to take a date after the sun sets in Los Angeles
Discover some of best places in Hollywood to take a date after the sun sets in Los Angeles | © choness / iStock / Getty Images
Photo of Leon Beckenham
17 September 2021

Century-old cinemas, burlesque shows and movie-starring restaurants provide a romantic roll call for a cast of courting couples in LA’s dating hotspot.

While most of the big studios have moved on, and you’re not likely to bump into as many movie stars these days, few places still conjure up an image of glitz and glamour like Hollywood. But like Los Angeles as a whole, it’ll come as little surprise that the dating scene in Tinseltown can be tricky to navigate. So whether it’s an app-enabled first meeting or you’re a few stages along, read on for where to go for the perfect Hollywood date.

The Dresden

Restaurant, American, $$$
Map View
2CWH6E9 The Dresden Room in Los Angeles
© REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo
Stepping into the Dresden, don’t be surprised if you feel a twinge of familiarity – it’s been featured in numerous movies and TV shows, from Swingers to What Women Want. And it’s easy to see why. Their wonderfully atmospheric cocktail lounge is a perfect slice of vintage Hollywood and a top spot to start or end a date. In between, you can shimmy into a white booth in their dining room and speculate about which of the hundreds of celebs who’ve visited might have sat right where you are.

La Descarga

Nightclub, American, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
La Descarga
Courtesy of La Descarga
Artfully recreating the thrill of a 1920s speakeasy, access to La Descarga is up some stairs and through a hidden wardrobe. Once inside, you’re immediately transported to a Cuban Prohibition-era bar, complete with carved wood paneling, a wrought-iron balcony and a phenomenal choice of rums. Regular live music and burlesque shows turn up the heat, plus dancing with your date is always an option. There’s a dress code, so you’ve got a good excuse to pull out your best threads.

Griffith Observatory

Building, Museum, Park
Map View
Los Angeles, California, USA downtown skyline from Griffith Park.
© Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo
High up on the Hollywood Hills, Griffith Observatory has long been a popular spot where couples go to crank up the romance. The panoramas over Los Angeles are truly dazzling, and particularly dreamy at dusk when the sea of lights gradually flickers on over the city. You can get a bit more elevation from the observatory roof, plus you can geek out over a show in the planetarium inside, featuring immersive 360-degree films and projections.

La Poubelle

Bistro, French, $$$
Map View
La Poubelle, Los Angeles
Courtesy of La Poubelle
As authentic a slice of Parisian gastronomy as you’ll find in LA, this Hollywood fixture has been delivering oh-la-la to romancing couples since the sixties. From coq au vin to escargots, this cozy French bistro serves all the classics, plus other dishes from around the Mediterranean. It’s all chunky wood tables and vintage posters inside, while sidewalk seating adds to the European cafe-culture feel. If you want to impress your date with your knowledge of French, La Poubelle means “the trash can.” Romantic, non?

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  • Vista Theatre

    Theatre
    Map View
    T1R3KW Mar, 2019 The Vista Theatre in Los Angeles, California
    © Barry King / Alamy Stock Photo
    Another iconic piece of Hollywood history, this single-screen movie theater has stood on the same spot for almost a century. From its neon-illuminated Art Deco frontage to sumptuous Egyptian film-set-style interiors, a date here is to be transformed back to the times of the Silver Screen. They show everything from art-house flicks to the latest blockbusters, with late-night screenings perfect for a post-dinner-date experience.

    Gigi’s

    Restaurant, French, $$$
    Map View
    Gigi’s restaurant
    Courtesy of Gigi's
    Swanky without being snooty, Gigi’s quickly established itself as one of the hottest restaurants in town – with its instant star-quality attracting some “hey, isn’t that…” clientele. It’s loosely French, but the tightly produced menu meanders between seafood towers and shrimp cocktails to whole roasted bass and steak tartare. Velvet booths and banquettes provide comfort where it counts, while cocktails are just the right side of experimental.

    Dream Hollywood

    Boutique Hotel
    4.3/5 (941 Reviews)
    Dream Hollywood
    Courtesy of Dream Hollywood / Expedia
    Price Drop
    Now from $233 per night
    Set just south of Hollywood Boulevard, this uber-swish hotel is part of a complex that includes a range of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Its party-focused vibe feels like a microcosm of 21st-century LA nightlife and is a popular haunt with the see-and-be-seen crowd. From its lofty rooftop pool to its numerous nightspot options, you might struggle to find a reason to leave. Rooms, too, are neutral havens of calm, with floor-to-ceiling views over the city – and the iconic Hollywood sign, if you’re lucky.
    More info
    These recommendations were updated on September 17, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Leon Beckenham

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