An epic drought followed by what looks to be an epic El Niño: 2015's been a strange one, Los Angeles — but a damn good'n nonetheless.
We found hand-tooled Rolexes and plush meteor shower hideouts. We stumbled upon hiking trails bearing deep and sometimes dark histories. We had a chat with Laird Hamilton.
And we profiled some of the coolest cats hiding away in these here hills, from a beatnik bootmaker to a helicopter photog to a guy hiding enough whiskey in his garage to end the Prohibition.
Oh, and our website received a prettly little facelift.
Let’s take a look back.
Grab your tissuebox.
Two Museums, One Throne?
The Broad finally opened at the end of the summer with some 2,000 works of modern art and a delicious restaurant from a French Laundry vet inside. A couple months later, the Petersen Automotive Museum opened, home to hundreds of cars and a number of eye-popping interactive vehicular exhibits. If you've only got time for one, hit the Broad: it's got one of the country's most impressive collections of contemporary art, and the vault housing everything not currently on display is a sight to behold in and of itself.
Hoarders: Gentleman's Edition
We kicked off a new series, The Collectors, with TV producer Jonas Bell Pasht’s impressive vintage suit collection. Then we profiled Marcus Fan, a rare whiskey archivist whose palate is revered by nearly every major mixologist in town.
We visited the living rooms of the 1% to figure out how to style our own. We learned from a local architect how to give your kitchen a fully automated sci-fi makeover. Hell, we even got a tutorial on how to hide your TV — and all its unsightly cords and cable — in plain sight.
Small Hotels, Big Business
Hotel Covell in Los Feliz is a tiny spot modeled after a fictional Hollywood character, and it was one of many boutique concepts to open this year. We went ahead and created our first Hotel Guide to help you keep track of them all.
Speaking of Hollywood...
Tourist trap. Vagabond blues central. Grimy ... Hollywood is still all of these things. But now that Mama Shelter, Birch and Grandpa Johnson’s have opened, the neighborhood is trending in a direction worthy of our Dinner Plan series.
Two interesting documentaries received funding this year: first, The Grand Olympic, a retrospective on the arena that begat L.A.'s early wrestling and boxing history. Then there was the strange story of the Compton Cowboys, an African-American cowboy crew that’s been patrolling Compton since the late 1800s.
Water You Waiting for?
This year began in a major drought, making a device like Eva — the smart shower that conserves water — worth your hard-earned pennies. But El Niño is fast en route, and if you’re heading for those bigger waves, you’d do well to listen to pro surfer Jordy Smith’s advice on surfing the incoming swells.
InsideHook LA, Illustrated
We gave you solid tips on everything from how to pose for pictures at the Oscars to how to scowl properly at bad drivers to a geezer’s guide to Coachella. And we gave them to you with pretty illustrations care of lead designer Mike Falco.
The Great Outdoors
To help you get the most of LA's endless summer, we dropped our first ever Camping Guide. We also took to the woods with the backcountry travel guides at Shoestring Adventures and elevated our fireside cooking game thanks to Fireside Provisions. We even highlighted some great hideways for taking in the Perseid Meteor Shower. That was historic.
Clothing Went Custom
MadeWorn — the eerie bohemian brainchild of beatnik tailor Blaine Halvorson — opened on an idle stretch of Fairfax, and inside its ivy-covered wood walls you'll find a bevy of handmade duds with a fine-art pedigree. For the tamer of sartorial spirit, Franc Milton and Acustom Apparel are two super accessible and versatile new options that stitch clothes exactly to your liking.
And We Gave Our Website a Kick in the Pants
If you’re reading this list, then you’re fully aware that our homepage underwent a little renovation recently. It has a guided search feature to help you find all of the things you need in just a few clicks. On the horizon, more video, like the one our creative director Danny Agnew just made in collaboration with TAG Heuer.