From the driving, to the parking, to the not knowing where to drive or park, dinner in L.A. is harder than it should be. That’s why we created Dinner Plan — your itinerary to a damn good time.
This week: we hit up Jonnie and Mark Houston, twin proprietors of some of L.A.’s most iconic nightlife spots (No Vacancy, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, Breakroom 86), to see what a typical night out in Hollywood will look like for them this summer.
It’s the best base for a saucy night: delicious and won’t weigh you down. Sugarfish on La Brea is a Houston favorite. Mark goes for the Nozawa with an albacore belly a la carte and unagi for dessert. Pro tip: have an assistant run over ahead of time and get your name on the list so you can avoid the wait. Bonus pro tip: Jonnie has Postmates deliver it to him so it’s ready and packed for the Hollywood Bowl, along with a bottle of wine and a flask of something stronger (and we’ve got your flask cocktail recipes right here).
Next Stop: The Hollywood Bowl
Steely Dan. Electric Light Orchestra. Bloc Party. The Hollywood Bowl is stacked with solid shows this season. “The most amazing thing about the Hollywood Bowl is that the lineup just gets better and better throughout the year, with unexpected acts all the time,” says Jonnie. “And who doesn’t like a concert with fireworks to get the night started?”
Showtime: Good Times at Davey Wayne’s
Mark heads over to his ‘70s house party at Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. “A sno-cone and some camper cocktails, and then I watch the roller show on the roof,” Mark says. Then he moves on to a smokier cocktail like an old fashioned. Regarding the roller show: if you haven’t seen it, you need to go. Two Olympic roller skaters do a ‘70s-themed dance on the roof of a gazebo that hangs over the trailer bar. The crowd watches directly below as the skaters twirl perilously close to the edge. The concept is a nod to their father’s hot dog and roller skate rental business, Twin Castles, a Santa Monica concern that was named after Jonnie and Mark. “It failed after a year,” says Mark. “And there went our college funds.”
The Hub of the Night: No Vacancy
Both brothers head to No Vacancy at the apex of the night. “It’s great post-Bowl for two reasons,” says Jonnie. “We’re usually hosting the band’s after party, and it’s the next stop off the freeway entrance from the Bowl’s parking lot, so it’s convenient.” Mark is likely already there, drinking a Monkey’s Shoulder on the rocks and watching the tightrope show. Then it’s band-backed burlesque followed by some rug-cutting.
Munchies: Hollywood Thai
“Part of being in this business is knowing how to sober up after a long night of drinking and entertaining,” says Jonnie. “You want to get the job done, but you don’t want to have a heart attack on street food.” To keep it reasonably healthy, they go to Hollywood Thai. Ask for the cold tea in a mug — you’ll see why. And get a freshly chopped coconut to rehydrate. Then a bowl of something soupy, which will also help replenish your system. Then do some karaoke — it’s good for the adrenaline.
Last Stop (We’re Not Done Yet): The Speek
Recharged? Good. Next stop is the Speek, the brothers’ newest business. The Speek is a set of private, ‘60s mod-inspired rooms at the Line Hotel in Koreatown. Stocked with full bars and vinyl for spinning, you’re good here until you drop. Literally. You can sleep here. Then get brunch at Commissary in the morning.
Photo credit: DYLAN+JENI