Ahh, yes: The “everyday” life of a Hollywood celebrity. It’s a story so many people love to follow. (A guilty pleasure, really. We get it.) And with the Oscars coming up on Sunday, all star-gazers have their eyes on Los Angeles.
But what we really want to know more about is this: In the life of glamorous leisure around Los Angeles, what do the rich and famous do when they’re not in the spotlight? Where do they go? What are their favorite local hidden gems that they keep secret from the rest of us? To fuel up, wind down, get fit, or do a little celebrating… hopefully with a gold statue-man in tow.
Just in time for the Academy Awards, we asked one of L.A.’s most prestigious concierge duos, Brandon Perkins and Jordan Contratto of B | Panache these questions. Known as the “go-to” for most celebrities to schedule activities and itineraries, these well-connected fellows kindly shared with us an itinerary custom created for a celebrity… or anyone looking to find a true taste of the good life in Los Angeles. If you’re looking to experience Hollywood like you own the town, here’s where Brandon and Jordan suggest you go:
9467 Charleville Boulevard, Beverly Hills
Jordan: This stuff is the caffeinated nectar of angels! Aharon Vaknin is the Walter White of cooking coffee, and you can even watch him work the onsite roaster. Order anything and they’ll make it; I ordered a Gibraltar so many times, they actually put it on the menu!
Insider Tip: If you buy grounds to take home, talk to Aharon first, he’ll walk you through the best ways to prepare it.
Alfred Coffee & Kitchen
8428 Melrose Place, West Hollywood
Brandon: A charming coffee shop along the luxe boutiques of Melrose Place. Brews from Stumptown and pastries from FarmShop are served by trendy baristas outfitted in Rag & Bone. Sit on the patio for people watching and pick-up some truffles at the connected gourmet chocolatier, Compartes, on your way out. I like the ones infused with 18-year Macallan Scotch!
Insider Tip: Behind Alfred’s is a little-known, back-alley restaurant called Croft Alley. A great place to nosh like a local.
2600 Franklin Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills
Jordan: Everyone’s going to tell you to go to Runyon Canyon–and, sure, there are a lot of celebrities hiking over there. But there’s a whole lot more dog crap and tourists mixed in! Franklin Canyon is right above Beverly Hills, with easier parking, and a hike that takes you around beautiful Franklin Lake. You’ll be shocked by how quickly things can get rustic and remote-feeling within this city.
Inside tip: No “California style” rolling stops! There’s actually cameras in the stop signs… and the fines are steep!
8126 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood
Brandon: This is a well-established yet underrated hair salon in the heart of Melrose. Owner, Ginger Boyle, emphasizes continuing education, so all the stylists are at the top of their game. For a men’s cut, go for Sam or Casey. For color, get Dean. The cheery support staff leave an impression too, so don’t even think about passing on the complimentary hand and neck massages, especially from Nora. I nicknamed her Magic Fingers!
Insider tip: Arrive early and head upstairs to sip cucumber water on the sunny outdoor terrace.
8452 Melrose Place, West Hollywood
Brandon: Originally, Violet Grey catered to celebs inside a Chateau Marmont bungalow, but they’re now accessible to all at their recently opened penthouse on Melrose Place. They offer a highly edited collection of luxe beauty products used by Hollywood’s top makeup artists and skincare specialists. To make it into the boutique, each product must meet the “Violet Code,” which is basically a seal of approval from influential names in beauty and film. Ladies, if you don’t have the time to shop every cosmetics counter at Barneys, this is the place for you.
Insider Tip: All staff are professional makeup artists. If you’re planning to purchase a few hundred dollars worth of products, book an appointment in advance and they’ll do your make-up for free.
7475 Beverly Boulevard
Brandon: This buzzy new “food hall” has quickly become a neighborhood favorite. It’s part eatery, part epicurean market, a la Jones on Third and Farmshop. For breakfast, I keep it healthy with a cold pressed juice, avocado toast and greek yogurt with organic house-made granola. If you need a caffeine fix, get the Black Cat Cold Brew; it’s Intelligentsia iced coffee brewed for 24 hours and fresh on tap!
Insider Tip: The pastries are piled high at 8:00 am, but they go quick. Get there early if you want first dibs.
143 South La Brea Avenue
Jordan: In this town, you are often bombarded with people and places that are trying very hard to be something, so high quality and good execution without the pretentiousness is a refreshing find. Sycamore’s sandwiches, pastries and whole vibe is confident, laid back and delicious.
Insider Tip: With a pecan sticky bun and a bottle of cold brewed coffee, nothing can stop you!
8905 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood
Jordan: This is not the kind of Mexican food that you binge on when you hate yourself — although that kind has its merits as well. This is a culinary experience in a unique indoor/outdoor space that’s a scene at night and beautiful sanctuary during the day. I hesitate to tell people it’s vegan, because too often they equate that with inaccessibility. Gracias Madre has an exciting, flavorful, and innovative organic menu that fully satisfies even the most carnivorous appetite.
Insider tip: This close to Mexico, we take tequila seriously and the bar here is a rarefied menagerie of small batch and unique independent selections. Take the opportunity to expand your palette.
8700 West 3rd Street
Brandon: Avoid The Ivy tourist trap and head to this L.A. institution instead. Chef Suzanne Goin and sommelier Caroline Styne offer an intriguing selection French Med fare, as well as charcuterie, cheeses and a seriously impressive wine list. Sitting on the attractive patio is a must, but whatever you do, order the bacon-wrapped parmesan dates. If you’re like me, you’ll eat them like popcorn, so just tell your server to keep em’ coming.
Insider Tip: If you’re not lucky enough to snag a patio seat, request a window table in the upstairs wine room. You get a little fresh air and a nice view of the patio below.
Jordan: Their buyers are just exceptional. A client texted us a pic of Kim Kardashian in London once, asking us to get the Chanel boots she was wearing A.S.A.P. We called Chanel in Vegas and Paris and they both told us that they were ‘sold out worldwide’. And wouldn’t you know, Maxfield’s had two pairs.
Insider Tip: They’ve got the new stuff, but the real gems are in their vintage collection.
Just One Eye
7000 Romaine Street, Los Angeles
Brandon: There is nothing else like this in L.A. It’s an uber luxury boutique for fashionistas in the know. They brilliantly combine art and fashion with a carefully curated collection of luxury designers, modern art, vintage collectables, one-of-a-kind furniture and home decor. They’re also known for their designer/artist collaborations, featuring limited edition wearable art, like Converse shoes by Nate Lowman and leather Nile crocodile backpacks by Damien Hirst. When you start wearing famous art, you’ll know you’ve made it.
Insider Tip: For the fashionable adventure seeker, my personal stylist friend, Nicole Pollard, recommends the Ulysses Tier 1 Disaster Relief Kit, created with the help of US Navy Seal vets!
141 South Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills
Brandon: It’s new, unknown, sleek, and with incredible attention to detail. They keep it discreet and exclusive, but most importantly, it is the best overall massage experience in L.A. By far!
Insider Tip: The soaking tubs are exclusive to the couple’s treatment rooms, so it’s best to book with your significant other
8360 Melrose Avenue #104, West Hollywood
Brandon: Everyone is drinking green and this is where to go to get your trendy, high-end health tonic on Melrose Avenue. They use only local produce, and the scene is superbly stylish.
Insider Tip: All juices are made onsite daily. If you go between 8 -10 am, you’re sure to get a juice cold off the press!
6750 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood
Brandon: One of L.A.’s most respected art galleries and a nice alternative if you want to avoid museum crowds. It showcases spectacular, cutting-edge exhibitions from renown local and international artists such as Lari Pittman, Liz Larner, Gillian Wearing, Matthew Barney and Raymond Pettibon. They recently upgraded to an impressive museum-like space in Hollywood. Check them out and be sure not to miss their current exhibition by Anish Kapoor. It’s a real stunner.
Insider Tip: Sneak upstairs to the rooftop sculpture deck where you’ll get panoramic views of L.A.
MOCA Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood
Jordan: In the shadow of the “Blue Whale”, this MOCA branch is a smaller satellite of the larger spaces Downtown. But the exhibits are intelligently curated and in tune with the themes of L.A. like film (Steve McQueen) and fashion (Bernard Wilhelm). Plus it’s smack in the middle of WeHo, across from the park and library, and walking distance to the best stores and restaurants — a perfect cultural respite without having to get back in the car.
Insider Tip: The best design, architecture, and interior decor firms in the country have showrooms in the PDC. If you’re redoing your house or office and you just came into some money, go check it out!
718 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood
Brandon: This is a nondescript, tiny slice of Paris right next to a dry cleaners and donut shop. Celebrity chef, Ludo Lefebvre, cooks up non-fussy, French Bistro dishes served at counter-top only seating. You’ll literally be rubbing elbows with people. A perfect night for me is a melt-in-your-mouth omelette and a couple of Manhattans.
Insider Tip: Reservations aren’t taken, so it’s best to come solo or as a pair. Be prepared to wait, especially at primetime.
Usually a Downtown loft
Jordan: Out of selfishness, I didn’t want this one on the list. But the cat is pretty much out of the proverbial bag that this Supperclub offers the best ten courses of jaw-dropping, pupil-dilating foodsmack you can find anywhere in LA. The creativity and engineering behind each dish is confounding. For a foodie, I imagine this experience as akin to what an art aficionado must have felt at the first exhibitions of Basquiat or Pollock: intimidating brilliance.
Insider Tip: Explore the space, and the kitchen. There is likely no top culinary team in the country that will so warmly invite you to have a look at how they operate.
B | PANACHE is a bespoke travel design company and personal concierge service dedicated to the city of Los Angeles and run by Brandon Perkins and Jordan Contratto. For almost two decades combined, these tastemakers have been the go-to resource for luxury travelers, celebrities, magazines, and other media. To learn more about what B | Panache does and have them plan your L.A. itinerary, visit bpanache.com.
All images in this post were photographed by Jessica Sample.