This Week’s L.A. Happenings: BYOBurger, The Canvas Cooler Project, All Bands On Deck

Now: BYOBurger Hits Downtown LA
Conceived by the guys who brought California-based The Counter, BUILT is giving guests the same premium burger with the luxury of creating their own in a new, fast-serve environment, which means cheaper burgers. Expect a college-age crowd (thanks to its location near USC) and, best of all, free on-site parking. Wait. Best of all: cheaper burgers.

BUILT Custom Burgers (3584 Figueroa St., Downtown) is now open. For more information, check out the listings at BlackBook Guides.

Thursday: The Canvas Cooler Project At Factory West
Red Bull invades West Hollywood with their Canvas Cooler Project at Factory West, giving 20 emerging LA artists the opportunity to showcase works. All artists will be given wings and caffeine buzzes, but only two winners will be sent to SCOPE Miami.

The Canvas Cooler Project is open to the public from 9pm to 12am. For more information on the Canvas Cooler Project, check out the site. For more information on Factory West, visit the listing at our BlackBook Guides.

Saturday: All Bands On Deck! At Santa Monica Pier
This 98.7 sponsored event is bringing all the cool cats to the Santa Monica Pier with a line-up that includes current buzz bands Poolside, Yacht, Baio, and Guns in the Sun. BYOPBR.

All Bands on Deck! begins at 4pm. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased here. For more information on Santa Monica Pier, visit the listing at BlackBook Guides.

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Farmhouse-Chic Italian RivaBella Opens In L.A.’s WeHo

It translates roughly as "beautiful river," and while you won’t actually find any romantic waterways coursing through Los Angeles, Innovative Dining Group’s new RivaBella will at least transport you to somewhere more rustic. Ignoring the by-now-overdone trend toward more intimate dining venues, RivaBella is Italian grandiose, with 8,000-square-feet (2,800 of those being al fresco) of old world, Tuscan Farmhouse-inspired romanticism–as imagined by the award-winning Studio Collective. 

Executive chef Gino Angelini (of the eponymous Angelini Osteria on Beverly) plays to his strengths, rejecting anything over-mannered, in favor of creative takes on Italian classics. Tagliatelle allo Zafferano Con Ragu di Prosciutto and Seppiolini Con Melograno appear aside his signature Lasagne Nonna Elvira, and an extensive wine cave assures the wine-obsessed are well tended to. For those seeking a more cosseted experience, the latter can be booked for private dinners. 

L.A. Openings: Eat Where Fatty Arbuckle Once Lived, Devour Berlin Street Sausages

Fatty’s Public House, on the edge of West Hollywood is named after silent-film actor Fatty Arbuckle, who once lived at this exact address. Now, the home is an airy pub with a big old-school "Hollywoodland" mural overhead, and they’re dishing out short-rib pizzas, Guinness bratwurst, burgers, and chicken and waffles. At brunch there’s a DIY Bloody Mary cart rolling around, and after a couple of those – if you squint hard enough up and down the street from the outdoor patio – you can still see old Hollywood just as it once was. But that’s just because you’ve accidentally internalized Instagram filters.

Just opened Downtown, Coco Laurent is a breezy, sun-lit French bistro serving beef Bourgogne, sandwiches, and an impressive by-the-glass red wine list. And Berlin Currywurst also just debuted in Hollywood with a beautiful beer garden and lots of sausages and beers.

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Lady Gaga’s Favorite New L.A. Hotspot & More

Is it really possible that west-siders will crawl through three congested highways to Studio City just for a pretty restaurant/lounge? Maybe. Possibly. Well, probably not. But… XEN Lounge, an inviting and versatile space put together by actor/producer Duane Martin, has everything you want in a West Hollywood or Santa Monica lounge. There’s an elegant private dining room, a glitzy bar, flat screens dedicated to NFL Sunday, and three outdoor spaces that include an intimate rooftop lounge and a rustic backyard spot dominated by a giant Buddha statue. Even if the coast crowd may shy away (they shouldn’t), the stars have already come out in full force. Will Smith, Stevie Wonder, and Lady Gaga have been by for the specialty cocktails and new American comfort food, like the mac and cheese muffins.

Speaking of Lady Gaga, the designer of Sixty-Six, the Thursday- and-Saturday-night only nightclub that opened last week in West Hollywood, has designed videos for the mega pop star – and it shows. Mirrors and golden hues and centrally-located DJ booth, oh my. This is an after-midnight kind of place. And then in Santa Monica, raw-food god Matthew Kenney opens M.A.K.E., a rooftop restaurant promising nothing cooked over 105 degrees.

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Los Angeles Openings: Smoke, The Famous

Where’s there’s smoke, there’s a restaurant’s sign on fire. Or something like that. Smoke, the new steakhouse in West Hollywood, gives the people what they truly want (in a nightclub): a sign bathed in open flames, a wall of water, DJ booths, granite table tops, and Wagyu beef grilled in a wood-burning oven. Sure, there’s a lot of eye candy going on here, but the menu is full of interesting small plates, charcuterie, and steak, steak, steak.

The next time you’re in Glendale and thirsty for whiskey, might we suggest stopping in the old Huntley-Evans building? The Famous, a new tucked-away bar with a wall-length leather booth, streaming black and white movies on the walls, and a piano on the stage, is the perfect spot for rattling ice in your tumbler.

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Los Angeles Openings: Laurel Hardware, Bow & Truss

If you’re like us and don’t know a socket wrench from a pipe cleaner, then the moment you step inside a hardware store you’re thinking, "Jesus, I need a drink." Well, then head to West Hollywood where Laurel Hardware has cleaned out the tools and set up communal tables, comfy booths, and one hell of a courtyard. The cocktails are infused, the meats are lean and red, and a fix-it guy can be dialed from one of the houndstooth lounge chairs pretty easily. What? You’re busy.

Up north, Spanish-style tavern Bow & Truss just opened up, offering Latin American dishes (yes, tapas) in a 3,000 square-foot dining room and a gorgeous 2,000 square-foot patio. We recommend the paellas, the tacos, and the charcuterie. And bypass the classic cocktails for one of their signature drinks:  the Lankershim Fizz.

Los Angeles Openings: Morinoya, AV, Link-N-Hops

Morinoya (West Los Angeles) – LA hero Chef Takayuki "Mori" Morishita does it again, this time in West Los Angeles.

AV (Hollywood) – Ballerina burlesque girls. Bottle service. Dance floor.

Link-N-Hops (Atwater Village) – Sausage gastropub that dares to offer one of the best vegan dogs in the city.

West Hollywood Bans Sale of Fur

Anna Wintour and Mary-Kate Olsen may have to rethink their wardrobes the next time they travel to West Hollywood, because the city has formally banned the sale of fur apparel, making it the first in the U.S. to do so. The city council recently approved this groundbreaking legislation in a unanimous 5-0 vote, proving the success of WeHo’s Fur Free West Hollywood campaign, which they hope to expand to other cities. While the start date of the ban has yet to be determined, high-end stores like Maxfield on Melrose have already voluntarily removed fur from their outposts.

This isn’t West Hollywood’s first foray into animal rights awareness; back in 1989 the city was deemed a “cruelty-free zone for animals,” banning a number of practices such as the declawing of cats and cosmetic testing on animals.

As proven by a number of designers, including Halston and Michael Kors, chic faux fur is totally achievable, so you’re not losing anything here but a guilty conscience.

The questions is, will other cities follow suit?