Whether it's taking in a jalapeno-infused cocktail at the Black Market Liquor Bar or dancing Bachata in the lavish Infusion Lounge at Universal CityWalk, Universal and Studio cities hold truly distinct experiences. Universal City (and everything it encompasses including Universal Studios Theme Park and Universal CityWalk) is both the largest and longest continually used working film production studio in the U.S. and offers everything from exceptional restaurants to unpretentious but brilliant pubs and bars with much to do and see.
Originally promoted as "the strangest city in the world", Universal City is now christened as being "the entertainment capital of Los Angeles." Certainly living up to its name with local sensations and surprises thriving in every corner, Universal City and the area about Lankershim Blvd. is a prosperous and ever-blooming crosstown between Hollywood and the urban San Fernando Valley.
At once famous for fostering the nation's emerging film industry and helping Southern California's development, Universal City now holds one of the most successful film production studios and is also at the heart and haven for Hollywood's stars and elites wishing to relax in Valley settings. Directly adjacent to Universal City and tied to its history is Studio City, which contains some of the Valleys most entertaining venues and bars you're likely to find in Los Angeles. From blazing nightclubs to fantastic gastro pubs, Universal City, Studio City and North Hollywood, which borders both, keeps everything likely fitting any mood or setting.
Hosting some of LA's premiere nightclubs, the place to start is the Infusion Lounge. Two floors of sound blowing everything from top dance hits to salsa and everything in between, Infusion Lounge is a contemporary and sleek nightclub with a certain Latin energy delving into New Asian cuisine and nodding towards a Las Vegas impression. Just next door, at the famous Universal CityWalk, is Howl at the Moon, a groovy dueling piano bar in which audience participation is the rule. The Federal Bar on Lankershim Blvd. is another stop you don't want to miss, holding one of the Valley's finest gastronomical experiences in a speakeasy setting and dancing upstairs with live music by roaming DJ's.
Just down the street on Ventura Blvd. are two more outstanding gastro pubs which all at once are a marvel of understatement and gastro flare. Laurel Tavern has more than a dozen beers on tap to choose from and one of the most celebrated burgers in the entire Valley (also, try the roasted marrowbones). The unmarked and rustic Black Market Liquor Bar across the street on Ventura is another local favorite with some of the most creative drinks ever concocted and an ever-changing menu by Top Chef contestant Antonia Lofaso. The Fox and Hounds in Studio City is a great English style pub offering English fare and terrific live music on weekends, and Mareka presents organic cocktails which you crave for days on afterwards. On weekends, you can catch live and intimate jazz music in The Baked Potato or sign up for a salsa lesson in Mama Juana's Latin Lounge. - Pablo Belloso-Chavez
The corner of Chandler and Lankershim in North Hollywood has been the center of social and night life since the 1920s. You can take the metro down Lankershim to Ventura Blvd. taking in the scene and never having to drive or keep on riding to Hollywood or Downtown Los Angeles.