Hidden Gems in Beverly Hills
Explore the LA neighborhood that’s known around the world as the epitome of luxury and style
Originally an obscure Spanish ranch that grew humble lima beans, Beverly Hills is today one of the most famous neighborhoods anywhere. Known for Rodeo Drive’s high-end stores and their celeb clientele, and fantasy real estate with prices to match, few places are so synonymous with blue skies, palm trees, expensive cars and the high life.
Read on for some of Beverly Hills’ hidden gems that’ll help you navigate this tony enclave like a seasoned A-lister.
Beverly Gardens Park - Rose Garden
The Rose Garden at Beverly Gardens Park lies along a two-block stretch of the northside of Santa Monica Boulevard, between Foothill Road and Alpine Drive. This manicured urban escape includes two metal dome trellises, a water fountain, a columned walkway, and lighted bollards for nighttime visits among rose beds housing numerous varieties of these colorful and fragrant favorites. After fully inhaling the Rose Garden, stroll the granite jogging/walking path to enjoy further features of the astoundingly well groomed 18-acre Beverly Gardens Park, including the Wilshire Electric Fountain, Doheny Fountain, and its comprehensive Cactus Garden.
The Cigar and Whiskey Bar
After the Maybourne Hotel’s exclusive Ten Pound bar fell victim to the pandemic, the hidden spot above the high-end property’s restaurant was revamped as simply the Cigar and Whiskey Bar. The dimly-lit, wood-paneled den now boasts a larger selection of fine cigars – more than 1,000 from the Caribbean and Central America – and, while still offering an impressive choice of special reserve and small batch whiskies, has expanded to also serve a wide array of liquor. Whether lounging on a banquette or at a low-slung balcony table, the Cigar and Whiskey Bar is a quietly decadent, in-the-know meeting place and a prime, if pricey, postprandial retreat. Ask at the front desk to be escorted up to the private hideaway.
Upon completion in 1928, Greystone Mansion was the most expensive home in California, costing oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny the equivalent of around $65 million in today’s money. Now a public park, it hosts special events such as the Beverly Hills Flower & Garden Festival and is booked frequently for film and TV projects, appearing in everything from Spider-Man to The Bachelor. A 46,000-square-foot monument to Tudor Revival architecture, Greystone Mansion made headlines in 1929 when Doheny’s son was fatally shot in a guest bedroom in an apparent murder-suicide with his secretary. The mansion itself is viewable only by appointment, but you can visit the gardens for free, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
Originally opened at the end of World War II, Nate’n Al’s has served classic deli favorites to generations. This storied hangout has long been a favorite meeting place for movie industry personalities, agents, and executives, most notably the late Larry King (who would drop in almost daily). Now under the ownership of legendary entertainment executive Irving Azoff and his wife Shelli, both longtime customers, Nate’n Al’s continues to both satiate regulars and convert newbies with high quality takes on time-honored deli staples like potato knish, stuffed cabbage, chicken pot pie, and potato latkes, plus lovingly made soups, egg-based dishes, breakfasts, and bagels.
Nozawa Bar - SUGARFISH Beverly Hills
With just 10 seats and a story steeped in L.A. culinary lore, Nozawa Bar oozes sushi exclusivity. The intimate, traditional omakase bar located within Sugarfish Beverly Hills offers just two, ten-person seatings per night at $225 per person for 20 courses. During two decades of his Sushi Nozawa restaurant in Studio City, one of L.A.’s first traditional omakase parlors, Kazunomi Nozawa became known as both the “Godfather of Sushi” and the “Sushi Nazi,” but there’s no doubting the Sugarfish co-founder’s impact on SoCal’s thriving Japanese dining scene. Get a front row seat at Master Chef Osamu Fujita’s bar and brace to have your mind blown.
A 1930 Art Deco landmark on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Hamilton Drive, the Saban Theatre was a popular movie palace for decades before being transformed into a stage theatre in 1981. The stately venue, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places, has since hosted everyone from Kenny Loggins to the late, great Olivia Newton John. Now “powered by” Sterling Venue Ventures, operators of a string of Southland concert venues including the Canyon in Agoura Hills and Burbank’s Starlight Bowl, the Saban continues to host household-name legacy acts and international dance and music ensembles.
A popular stop for tours and Halloween trick or treat photos, the Spadena House is an incongruously Hansel and Gretel-looking home (yes, someone lives there!) on the corner of Walden Drive and Carmelita Avenue. Originally constructed in 1921 in Culver City as offices and dressing rooms for director Irvin Willat’s silent films, it was moved to its current location five years later. This flagship of Storybook architecture became known as “The Witch’s House” due to its fanciful, deliberately dilapidated design, tiny leaded windows, and intentionally overgrown garden. A beloved beacon of eccentricity and a living relic of L.A. film history, the impeccably kept Spadena House still sporadically appears on screens, including in 1995’s Clueless.
Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM
Cupcakes have earned a cultish following over recent years, to the point where the trailblazing Sprinkles bakery chain, founded here in Beverly Hills in 2005, even offers 24/7 sweet fixes from ATMs at many of its stores (and a few standalones). These pink devices don’t actually make cupcakes, but instead dispense the same sophisticated, handcrafted treats you’ll get at a Sprinkles counter. Each is restocked several times a day to ensure freshness and uses closely guarded technology to gently move boxed cakes to the customer dropbox. Lines are sometimes longer at Sprinkles ATMs than at the counters inside and tend to be busiest when the bakeries are closed overnight.
Virginia Robinson Gardens
The legacy of Virginia and Harry Robinson (of Robinson’s department store fame) lives on through both philanthropy and the open-to-the-public Virginia Robinson Gardens. Built in 1911 around a Beaux-Arts mansion, it was the first estate in Beverly Hills before the city was even incorporated as such. However, the lush gardens of the 6-acre property had slipped into disrepair by the time of Virginia's 1977 passing. Willed to Los Angeles County, the estate was listed on the National Register of Historic Places the following year and underwent significant restoration. Visitors can now take docent-led tours, by appointment only, for $15 for adults and $6 for children.