LA’s Music Scene from Local Expert Chris Martins

Local Music Expert Chris Martins - LA's Music SceneIf you’re a music lover, there’s no better place on earth than Los Angeles to experience the thrill of the music industry. From world renowned concert halls to underground venues, mega record stores to mom and pop vinyl shops, LA has got it all. On this four day Featured Trip, our Music Expert and former News Editor at SPIN magazine, Chris Martins, has curated the best places to dive head first into LA’s vast music scene. From the hybrid record shop/music venue Amoeba to the famous Hotel Café, this Featured Trip will take you to all of the best places to see a live show. Chris also shares his favorite record shops, famous LA hotspots, and of course his favorite LA bars and restaurants. This post features his explicit comments on each of the venues.

Chris Martins – LA’s Music Scene

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By Chris Martins

DAY 1

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ELLIOTT SMITH WALL

Elliott Smith Wall - LA's Music Scene

This mural decorating the Solutions! speaker-repair shop was immortalized on the cover of Elliott Smith’s Figure 8 album and serves as a memorial to the late local troubadour.

FORAGE

A fancy cafeteria that updates offerings based on the produce of their approved home-growers (normal people). Pair the farm-fresh delights with Nawlins iced coffee and an insane pastry.

VACATION VINYL

Cozy community vibes and a very friendly, deeply knowledgable staff. Worth visiting just to peep the metal music micro-genre sorting system, but they’ve got other types too (and tapes!).

DIABLO

Ignore the fact that they call themselves an “urban taco fabricator”. It’s a branding issue, not an eating one. Fine-dine takes on tortilla-hugged classics. Get the churros.

HOLLYWOOD BOWL

Hollywood Bowl - LA's Music Scene

If you have the chance, just go. There’s nothing quite like looking down on this mammoth historic bandshell surrounded by woods surrounded by city. Cheap seats are fine. Just go.

HOTEL CAFÉ

Hotel Café - LA's Music SceneIconic, but located in an alley. Smack-dab in the midst of Hollywood, but humble and high-quality. A wonderfully warm place for acoustic performances, with a full bar to support.

 

DAY 2

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SQIRL

The Kokuho Rose brown rice bowl is a worthy distraction, but the burnt brioche toast (nearly two inches thick) with ricotta and SQIRL’s own preserves is everything. Best jam in L.A.

SILVERLAKE RAMEN

If you eat pork, you *must* get the tonkotsu ramen (and spicy is best). Customize your bowl with egg and extra veggies, but don’t forget to open with the crispy rice + spicy tuna sushi.

THE SATELLITE

The Satellite - Chris Martins: LA's Music Scene

Formerly known as Spaceland, this hole is quintessential Silver Lake: cheap crappy beer, ancient pool table, occasional sloshed K. Sutherland sighting, and a million-and-one bands.

THIRSTY CROW

Thirsty Crow - Chris Martins: LA's Music Scene

Hit happy hour to fuel up on $5 Bulleit-backed old fashioneds. The kind of place where the bartenders don suspenders, but you can wear whatever. Scrappy jazz combos often play, too.

DAY 3

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GUISADOS

Skip the veggie options, go straight to the braised meats, and you can’t go wrong. Pro hacks: add chorizo to the quesadilla, and horchata to the iced coffee. Superb handmade tortillas.

ORIGAMI VINYL

Origami Vinyl - Chris Martins: LA's Music Scene

Located a couple of doors down from The Echo, this vinyl shop sports a “local music” section that’s jam-packed with cheap gems from future stars and would-be one-hit wonders.

ELF CAFÉ

Elf Cafe - Chris Martins: LA's Music Scene

Hearty, home-y vegetarian fare that’ll make you forget meat was ever a thing you cared about. The menu changes often but order the richest-sounding stuff and you’ll be thrilled.

BOOTLEG THEATER

A pleasantly dive-y bar, a couple of humble but solid music rooms, and the best booking company in town (The Fold). The free residency nights (Sunday, Monday) are always a good bet.

DAY 4

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INTELLIGENTSIA & SUNSET JUNCTION

The iconic entryway to the music-obsessed Silver Lake ‘hood. Sit at Intelligentsia coffee long enough and you’ll see bass god Flea stopping in at his music conservatory next door.

SQUARE ONE DINING

Square One Dining - Chris Martins: LA's Music Scene

Best brunch on the East Side. Their french toast has the power to convert savory-nazis to sweet-junkies, and their benedicts are perfect. Plus: cheesy grits with glorious lardon chunks.

 

AMOEBA MUSIC

Amoeba - Chris Martins: LA's Music Scene The biggest, bestest independent record store in the country. Two stories of tunes with a massive used section, rare finds, countless cassettes, posters, and anything else you’d want.

 

 

THE TROUBADOUR

John Lennon was tossed out for heckling the Smothers Brothers. Charles Bukowski met his wife after a reading here. The Eagles wrote a song about it called “Sad Cafe.” Legend.

THE ECHO & ECHOPLEX

Echo and Echoplex - Chris Martins: LA's Music Scene

Two spaces in one building: the top tiny and crowded; the bottom built like a grade-school cafetorium. But the lineups always offer the most excellent in modern indie everything.

Want to explore LA some more? Check out our Discover LA page to find more restaurants, bars, museums, shopping, and more!

 

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