First stop is Arcadia’s Arboretum, a little gem tucked slightly outside of LA proper. If you appreciate the grand transformative splendor of Prospect Park, then the twenty-minute drive is worth it to explore a spot that once served as Gilligan’s Island’s lagoons and Tarzan’s jungle. Instead of Lefferts Historic House, the Arboretum offers “Lucky” Baldwin’s Queen Anne Cottage; and instead of a zoo, it has peacocks and cod fish.
After communing with nature, it’s obviously time for retail therapy in the form of vintage Americana. Heirloom, a recently opened Little Tokyo boutique offers a refreshing 70s Army Surplus store vibe to an otherwise fusty block with its diaphanous Harley tees, canvas Converse and leather dog-tag necklaces.
Next, we head to the left coast equivalent of our beloved Bedford Avenue, Sunset in Silver Lake, to peruse the well curated antique-meets-local artists like Jimmy Marble and Gregory Beauchamp at the LA equivalent of Modern Anthology, ReForm School. We revel in beachy influences at Vivier and Bently, the studio space turned boutique from Clare Vivier and jewelry designer Kathryn Bentley. The adobe brick meets hippie surfer sensibility feels like it could be a collaboration between Brooklyn-based Collina Strada and Mary Myer. The tipi-like dressing room wins us over.
Deciding it may be a long night, we preemptively stop at the immaculately designed Handsome Coffee Makers, where the truly handsome baristo explained there was no sweetener present because the coffee is that good; and we got a tour of the Probat roaster in the back from co-founder Chris Owens.
After an exhausting day of total sobriety, it was finally time to dip into the perfectly crafted design and cocktails at Harvard and Stone. The WWII-vibe feels Universal Studios backlot worthy, but paired with the scruffy bouncer, attention to detail and whiskey-based menu, it allows us to recall our dear Maison Premiere or the recently opened St. Mazie. The rotating cast of bartenders composes a new menu in the back R&D bar every night and we witness a special treat as head bartender Matt Wallace uses his smoke machine (!) to add an extra kick to the cocktails.
Beautiful girls in fur stoles and sailor hats gather round the local showcase band; if you’re in on a Saturday you’re audience to their burlesque performances. This is no dive bar, but a beautiful West Coast interpretation of the current nostalgia for Depression-era elegance.