On my recent trip to Los Angeles I based myself in West Hollywood, home to some the most fabulous cocktail bars in the city. I planned to write up my ultimate guide to the best cocktails in this very cool neighbourhood. However, I soon learned that I was going to have to find some pretty effective hangover cures if I was going to be able to get out there night after night and sample the best that West Hollywood has to offer by way of cocktail refreshment (all in the name of research). And what better place than L.A. to find the most celeb-endorsed hangover cures? Urban sweat lodges, IV drips, comfort brunches and so much more…
After much trial, and some error, I present to you my ultimate guide and ratings (out of 5) of West Hollywood’s best cocktail bars and hangover cures.
Cecconi’s, part of the Soho House group, is a modern and very stylish Italian restaurant on the corner of Melrose Avenue and Robertson Boulevard. The staff were friendly and welcoming, the dining room and bar all understated sophistication. The vibe: L.A. cool.
We sidled up to the chic marble bar and ordered a couple of classics: a margarita and a negroni. The margarita had the right amount of zinginess from the lime and just the right amount of buzz from the tequila. And as for the negroni – a classic cocktail made to perfection. If I closed my eyes, I was in Milan.
Overall rating: 5 (walk of fame) stars
Estrella, up on Sunset Boulevard, is named after the circus girl from the Joni Mitchell song “Ladies of the Canyon.” Its interior evokes the boho-creative vibe of Laurel Canyon, where it draws its aesthetic from. Its side terrace has an L.A. boho and cosy feel.
I arrived at social hour and partook of a Kalimotxo (red wine, Mexican cola and fresh lime) on the terrace. Surprisingly good! The cola jolt and lime counter the alcohol, resulting in a particularly refreshing aperitif.
Overall rating: 4 lightning bolts
Eveleigh is only a few doors up Sunset Boulevard from Estrella, and it really is something just a teeny bit special. The terrace at the back is surrounded by trees, through which peek the lights of the city spreading out like a twinkly blanket. We could could have been up in the hills and far away from the craziness of the city as far as we could tell.
Of course the Eveleigh cocktails were impeccable (possibly enhanced by the gorgeousness of the surroundings). My recommendation: the Rose cocktail (vodka, lemon, aperol, agave, orange oils). Mmmm-mm-MM!
Overall rating: 5 La La Land Soundtracks (“City of Stars, are you shining just for me?”)
Catch LA is seriously cool. Atop a roof on Melrose Avenue, there are spectacular sunset views of Downtown LA and the Hollywood Hills. The crowd is beautiful, but not intimidatingly so. The design of this seafood restaurant and bar is an Instagrammer’s dream. Flowers, vines and fairy lights creep and hang across the walkway to the main dining area which I can only describe as beach-industrial. It just works so well.
Word of warning on the cocktails: they are delicious but they are lethal. The East Coast Kali and the Watermelon Felon both pack a double punch – delectably tantalising but pretty strong.
Overall Rating: 4.5 Hollywood starlets (minus 0.5 for the severity of hangover the next day)
For a mild hangover, the first step on your road to recovery is a coffee. But not just any coffee from any old coffee chain. It has to be quality, it has to be premium, and preferably made by an Australian barista.
In West Hollywood, look no further than Paramount Coffee Project (PCP) on N Fairfax Avenue. PCP started as a collaboration between three coffee experts in Sydney, and they have brought their genius and craft to West Hollywood.
The flat whites are exquisitely smooth and pack enough of a caffeine-infused punch that it did alleviate my hangover to bearable levels, allowing me to go about my day of shopping on Melrose with a positive mental attitude to match that of the enthusiastic locals of WeHo.
Cure Rating: 4 jumping coffee beans
What better better way is there than a quality brunch to chase the hangover blues away? Brunch doesn’t usually cure my hangovers, but it sure does make me feel a lot better when I’m going over the details of the night before, and collating my list of people I need to apologise to.
I have three recommendations for brunch in WeHo:
1. Hart and the hunter
The Hart and the Hunter on Melrose sums itself up perfectly as ‘rustic country’ meets ‘southern influenced’. The breakfasts are hearty and comforting (as well as some healthy and lean options, this is LA after all). And it has a low-key, relaxed atmos.
For me, the mushroom toast with scrambled eggs did the trick, and made my post-Catch hangover anxiety subside in a haze of carbohydrates.
Cure Rating: 5 wholesome scrambled eggs
PCP got a mention for its coffee (see above), but it scores equally well for its delightfully whimsical brunch menu. The Paramount breakfast – scrambled eggs, mahon, worcestershire mayo, tomato jam, salt & pepper biscuit – is just a little plate of pure savoury joy that put a spring back in my step.
The charming little garden at the back is the perfect spot to soak up the sun and re-energise.
Cure Rating: 4 salt and pepper biscuits (seriously, you have to try them to know what I mean)
3. taste on melrose
Taste on Melrose deserves a mention in the brunch category. Its terrace is a fabulous place from which to watch the locals of WeHo. The breakfasts are decent enough (try the lobster benedict), but it is probably the brunch cocktails that are the most effective part of the hangover cure equation. If hair of the dog is your thing, drag your hungover bones down to Taste on Melrose and get a “brunch mule” into you.
Cure Rating: 3.5 mimosas (it’s 5pm somewhere)
When I heard that there is such a thing as an urban sweatlodge in West Hollywood and that it can help you to detox after a night out (among other health benefits such as weight loss and stress release), it piqued my interest. When I heard that the Kardashians do sweat lodges, I didn’t let that put me off.
I turned up at Shape House on Robertson Boulevard, suffering from the double whammy of mild hangover plus jet lag. I was given sweat pyjamas to change into and then taken in to my little curtained-off infrared bed, which I can only describe as kind of like a high-tech sleeping bag on a bed-type structure. I was given some water and a remote control to watch Netflix and left to sweat it out for the next 55 minutes.
The bed heated up to about 70 degrees celsius. The first 40 minutes or so were very relaxing. Quite cosy actually. But the last 10 to 15 minutes were hard going. It gets HAWT! It was a relief to get out and chill out (literally) in the Relax Room.
I have to say the sweat lodge was a game changer. Afterward, I felt like I’d just done a workout (in a good way). My skin felt so soft. I felt virtuously healthy. My hangover and jet lag slipped away and I slept like a baby that night. I would definitely do this one again.
Book online or call to make an appointment for a cleansing sweat.
Cure rating: 5 kilograms (that’s how much lighter you feel after a good sweat)
Vitamin IV drip
IV drip hangover cures have been around for a while now, and their benefits have been widely confirmed. It would have been rude of me not to give it a try.
I had my hangover cure drip at Cienega Spa on N La Cienega Boulevard. The staff were so lovely and helpful, and put me at ease as I’m a tiny bit squeamish about needles. I did reassure them that I wouldn’t pass out though.
How wrong I was. I almost passed out when my lovely nurse put the needle in. After a juice box and some fruit chews I was fine and sat watching the world go by from the comfort of my recliner chair, IV drip doing its thing.
I didn’t feel hugely different after the drip though, even though I really, really wanted it to magically transform me into an enthusiastic, go-getter with energy to spare.
Friends of mine have done it before and experienced a major improvement after an excessive night the previous night, so I wouldn’t write it off completely. It might just have been my squeamishness at play that turned it into a less than successful experiment.
Book online or call to make an appointment.
Cure rating: 1 juice box for 1 squeamish wimp
This was by far my favourite hangover cure. I turned up for a spin class at Cycle House on Melrose that was led by instructor, Nichelle.
All I can say is that Nichelle is awesome. Her Beyonce-level energy and fierceness was infectious, and I worked harder in her spin class than I have in any other spin class before (and I spin regularly).
There is such a difference between spin classes in L.A. and spin classes in London. In L.A. when the instructor says “How you all doing this morning?”, the whole class erupts in a raucous chorus of “awesome!” and “woo!”. In London, when the instructor asks the same question, everyone looks around awkwardly until someone at the back says (barely audibly), “Good thank you.”
I sweated in Nichelle’s spin class as much as I did in the sweat lodge. I also got a massive endorphin rush from the class. My hangover was banished to hell, where it belongs.
Book online, or call up to reserve a bike.
Cure rating: Wooooo!!!!! (5 “o”s and 5 exclamation points)