Hidden Gems in Silver Lake


Silver Lake is one of L.A.'s most featured neighborhoods, named after one of two reservoirs around which it was drawn. Sunset Junction, Silver Lake's urban center, is located at the intersection of Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevards, two main L.A. streets that otherwise run parallel all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Until the mid-1950s, the Junction served as the site of the branching of two inter-urban railway lines. The neighborhood was also home to Walt Disney's first large studio from 1925 to 1939, located at Hyperion Avenue and Griffith Park Boulevard. Since then, the area has become renowned as a community that’s continuously in flux, home to a population that is diverse even by Los Angeles County's multicultural standards. Despite all the recent Silver Lake media coverage, it can still be hard to find the lesser known places worth visiting. Read on to discover Silver Lake’s must-see hidden gems.

Photo: Akbar

Akbar



While there used to be many more gay bars in Silver Lake, Akbar has been known as the hetero-friendly bar at the corner of Fountain and Sunset for more than 20 years. With rock 'n roll on the jukebox and a dance floor ready for nightly takeovers, Akbar is the place to be every night of the week. Be sure to take advantage of the rotating drink specials: $7 pitchers on Sundays, $3 pints on Mondays, $4 tequila shots on Tuesdays, and $4 Lyla's (a mix of whiskey and ginger beer) on Wednesdays. Don't miss Full Frontal Disco on Saturdays.

Bar Keeper, Silver Lake | Instagram: Bar Keeper

Bar Keeper



It's a hidden gem on a main thoroughfare, but you can’t miss Bar Keeper, thanks to its humorously creative storefront display. There's no place in town with a cocktail supply cache like Joe Keeper's Sunset Junction shop, with an impressive inventory of spirits, bitters, tins, glasses, fountains and much, much more. Bar Keeper is also one of L.A.’s best collection of gift ideas, regularly re-stocking vintage wares and the latest cocktail books to keep you up on your bar game.

Broome Street General Store | Instagram: Broome Street

Broome Street General Store



Broome Street General Store straddles Rowena Avenue, with its original location - a store-cafe with outdoor shaded seating and serving Gimme coffee and Cube sandwiches - and its new spot, a home goods store that has expanded its vintage sensibilities to include clothing, furniture, cooking ware and dining ware. Despite the name, you're not in New York; you're in Silver Lake, with access to local products like chocolates from Valerie Confections, pastries from Cake Monkey and jams from SQIRL.

Café Tropical in Silver Lake | Photo: @rowlme, Instagram

Café Tropical



Step into this Cuban Cafe at the corner of Sunset and Parkman, where the coffee is strong and guava-cheese pies and Cubano sandwiches are the prize. The neighborhood vibe is an eclectic mix of musicians, writers, artists, Spanish-speakers and more - great for people-watching, or even better, mingling. If you want to stay for a while, take advantage of the free wifi, in case the available reading material is too passé.

Cliff's Edge

Cliff's Edge



Cliff's Edge boasts a beautifully shaded, bungalow-like patio lined with overarching trees and an interior dining room with rustic, romantic stylings. Chef Vartan Abgaryan employs seasonal ingredients to construct imaginative, delicious dishes. Cocktails hold their own, too, with a solid list and occasional guest appearances by experimental mixologist Matt Biancaniello. Catch $1 oysters and drink specials on Thursday nights from 6-7 p.m.

Jay's Bar | Instagram: Jay's Bar

Jay's Bar



There's no place like a dive bar in a strip mall with 15 beer taps, $5 Old Fashioneds all day Friday, and $5 well drinks all day on Sundays. Jason Batten, who also owns the next-door New York pizza joint, Garage Pizza, also offers a handful of classic cocktails, whiskey flights, an impressive pub fare menu and a short wine-by-the-glass list to keep all drinkers and revelers satisfied. A few vegan options on the menu, to boot!

New Arrivals at Rockaway Records | Photo: @rockawayrecords, Instagram

Rockaway Records



Rare Beatles vinyl is Rockaway Records' claim to fame, as is their wide collection of memorabilia and of course, new and rare used records. In business since 1979 but in their present Silver Lake location on Glendale since 1992, brothers Wayne and Gary Johnson aggressively pursue entire record collections and concert collectibles to stock Rockaway with an impressive inventory.

Photo: The Satellite, Facebook

The Satellite



Once a gay disco called Dreams, this indie rock venue then became Spaceland, holding its first show in 1995, featuring Beck and The Foo Fighters. The venue has been a longtime home for many bands that started in the area, and is known as an incubator for the Silver Lake independent rock scene. In 2010, the promoter and owner parted ways, and the venue was renamed The Satellite. Today, the scene still lives on with nightly shows for up-and-coming as well as established bands.

Silverlake Wine

Silverlake Wine



This boutique wine shop on Glendale Boulevard focuses on educating the community about small production wines, holding weekly tasting events in-store on Sundays as well as Fridays at nearby Barnsdall Park, on the lawn of the historic Hollyhock House. Be sure to reserve your tasting ticket in advance. Also on offer is the "Wine of the Month" Club in three different tiers, as well as delivery on orders over $50 free of charge, so local wine aficionados can have their favorite vintages delivered straight to their door.