FEATURES / HIGHLIGHTS

Best of Gay L.A. 2012
Our annual pick of L.A. favorites
Mike Ciriaco and Michelle McCarthy
9/13/2012

 


FOOD & DRINK


Best Reason to Scream
Like a Good Humor Man for the new millennium, The S'Cream Truck offers gourmet organic ice cream on the go. While their locally produced desserts evoke a responsible adult mindset, S'Cream aspires to create a fun and stress-free eating environment, reminiscent of your childhood summers. Flavors include Vanilla Chocolate, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Chocolate Mint Chip, Banana Chip and the highly recommended Milk Chocolate Crunch, as well as their signature S'Cream Balls. thescreamtruck.com

Best Gay Brunch
Meet me at the Bistro! The only thing better than a French brunch is a gay brunch. WeHo Bistro offers you the best of both. Owned and operated by business/life partners Jeff Douek and Jerry Teigen, the café formerly known as Salades de Provence offers a Francophillic menu that includes croques—both madame and monsieur—as well as every crêpe imaginable. Gluten-free crêpe options are also available. 1040 N. La Cienega Blvd., wehobistro.com  

Best Post-Workout Smoothie
Every healthy homo knows that after a hard workout, one's body needs protein to rebuild the recently broken-down muscle tissue. Fortunately, PowerZone is in stumbling distance of WeHo's 24 Hour Fitness, offering the best in protein shakes, fresh organic juices, organic fruit smoothies, Alkaline water and E3 Live. With over two decades of excellence in customer service, Power Zone offers the industry's leading sports nutrition products, and the best prices in town. 8576 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo. capitoldrugs.com

Best Broke Boy Bar
The only thing better than happy hour is a second happy hour. Fiesta Cantina offers not one but two happy hours every day. Enjoy two-for-one beers and cocktails from 4-8 p.m., and then again from 10:30-12:30 a.m. Throw in all-you-can-eat tacos for $5 every Tuesday, bottomless mimosas and bloody marys Friday through Sunday, as well as generous bartenders, and you have the ideal destination for a frugal boozer. 8865 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo

Best Straight Bar
The Abbey was initially a very successful gay mecca. So successful, in fact, that it began to attract gaggles of girls looking to dance and bask in the warm glow of gay male attention. Then, straight dudes started to patron the bar, hoping to snag one of these drunk fruit flies with minimal competition. Now this omnisexual oasis is the perfect destination to bring that hetero relative visiting from out of town. 692 N. Robertson Blvd., WeHo, abbeyfoodandbar.com

Best View of the City (From a Palace)
It’s not difficult to find the best view of Los Angeles—all you have to do is head to the historic mountain palace atop Hollywood. Yamashiro is a safe bet regardless of what you’re looking for—a stellarAsian-inspired dinner in the restaurant, happy hour drinks with a view at the Pagoda Bar or farmers market browsing during L.A.’s warm months. Before leaving, browse the public gardens for a little romance. 1999 N. Sycamore Ave., Hlywd. yamashirorestaurant.com

Best Post-Dodgeball Hangout
Ironic sports make you work up an actual sweat, so be sure to cool down properly afterwards—and we're not talking about stretching. Grab a beer at Gym Sports Bar, which has evolved into the Peach Pit of the dodgeball community. In fact, every Tuesday is devoted to the hipster-centric pastime, offering $3 pints, $11 pitchers of PBR or MGD 64 and $5 well drinks. 8737 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, gymsportsbar.com

Best Beach Bum Bar
West Hollywood and Silver Lake may seem to have a lockdown on L.A.’s fun gay eateries and watering holes, but there are plenty of reputable gay establishments outside of the city’s gayborhoods. If you find yourself on the Westside, be sure to grab a drink at Roosterfish, Venice's premiere (and also only) gay dive bar. The drinks are dirt cheap, the vibe is chill and the patrons are friendly. Toto, I don't think we're in WeHo anymore. 1302 Abbot Kinney Blvd., roosterfishbar.com

Best Late-Night Nosh
After 2 a.m. in L.A., options for munchies become limited. Maybe Swingers is a bit too hipster-y for you, while at Canter’s you’re likely to sit next to Albert Brooks. Kitchen 24 in WeHo is a gay boy's best bet for a post-bar binge. The waitstaff, clad in pink tops and chocolate brown bootie chokers, are appetizers in themselves. Must-try items include the Smac and Cheese and the homemade cupcake du jour. 8575 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo,  kitchen24.info


NIGHTLIFE

Best Dance Party
A Club Called Rhonda is L.A.'s premier destination for house, disco and polysexual hard partying. Presented every second Saturday of the month, Rhonda is the brainchild of promoters Gregory Alexander and Goddollars, a gay-straight duo that bring a balance to this eclectic party. After a successful run at the legendary haunt El Cid, Rhonda is currently kicking it at Los Globos, though you can expect the same stellar talent on the decks. 3040 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, rhondasays.net

Best Place to Lose Your Shirt
When the original Micky's was destroyed in an electrical fire back in 2007, West Hollywood nearly lost one of its most deliciously trashy gay bars. But two years later the WeHo nightspot reopened its doors, sporting an additional floor for partying, a full kitchen and a much-needed facelift. Still thriving to this day, Micky's offers happy hours Monday through Friday, 5-9 p.m., and Saturday 3-9 p.m. 8857 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, mickys.com

Best East Side Oasis
West Hollywood and Silver Lake are often separated by not only geographical distances but ideological ones as well. It’s safe to assume that if you abhor the WeHo nightlife scene, you might be more at home at Akbar, the East Side's friendly neighborhood watering hole. At this gay bar, you're more likely to find scruff and sleeve tattoos than waxed chests and designer labels. There’s no pretension here—only men, booze and a solid juke box. It’s also home to L.A.’s best summertime beer bust, Bears in Space. 4356 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, akbarsilverlake.com

Best ‘New’ Bar
When Revolver opened its eponymous revolving door in 1982, MTV was on the rise and a gay cruise bar that projected music videos and dispensed cheap drinks was the apex of cool. In the decades since, the site transformed into East|West, but now it’s back to Revolver, where the bar continues to show music videos and sling drinks for a more mature Baby Boomer generation. 8851 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, revolverweho.com

Best Twink Fest
After meandering around various venues in Hollywood, TigerHeat is back home at Avalon and order has returned to the twinkverse. The theatre, once a performance space for Judy Garland, is the ideal location for this pop-fueled party. Shirtless teenagers grind against each other on the ground level while the 21+ set admires from the balconies, cocktails in hand. DJ Ray Rhodes’ hard candy sounds round out this perfect Thursday night. 1735 N. Vine St., Hlywd, clubtigerheat.com

Best Raunch Fest
One of L.A.'s longest-running weekly boy parties, BFD seems more akin to the East Village sexcapades of the early 2000s, like XXX and Squeezebox. This isn't too shocking, since the mastermind behind Fubar’s Thursday night smut fest is New York ex-pat Mario Diaz. But the biggest draw is BFD’s unique competition. Well-endowed patrons are encouraged to show their goods, and the most hung walks away with a gift from the Pleasure Chest at night’s end. 7994 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, fubarla.com

Best Happy Hour
With so many happy hour options in Los Angeles, it’s hard to name one as superlative. But there’s only one gay happy hour of late that truly defies convention and looks beyond ‘cheap drinks for drunks just off work.’ Suckerpunch at Faultline, which takes place every Wednesday from 5-9 p.m., gives you not only imaginative drink specials (like $10 pitchers of Adios Motherf*ckers) but a quirky atmosphere, obscure rock gems and off-the-wall video clips. It’s also home to the occasional pop-up gallery show, tiki party and live performance. Best of all, get stamped when you walk in the door and drink for happy hour prices all night! facebook.com/LAHappyHour

Best Hangout
Eleven is like the Cheers of West Hollywood, making Fresh Fridays the party where everybody knows your name. Jeffrey Sanker and Steve Machuca team up to produce this weekly shindig, featuring the talents of some of the industry's most talented DJs and performers, including DJs Pornstar, Sean O'Grady and Justin Ryan. But the best part is grabbing a table and dishing on the rest of the room with your friends. 8811 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, eleven.la

Best Hump Day Hotspot
While many parties can be hit-or-miss from week to week, Stripper Circus has provided consistent debauchery since 2010. Presented by Paul Nicholls at Here Lounge every Wednesday night, the party energizes humpday with a kitschy carnival theme. Be sure to keep an eye peeled for resident carnies Rhea Litré, Billy Francesca, Allusia and Detox dishing out three rings worth of fierceness. 696 N. Robertson Blvd., WeHo, herelounge.com


RETAIL & SERVICES

Best Derm Abrasion
Don’t head into Artistic Element 2 tattoo shop in search of a tramp stamp, armband or tribal piece. You may be sentenced to the True Death. Do head in looking for cutting-edge biomech, new school, realism or any other mind-bending design your messed-up imagination can conjure up. Respected artist and Best Ink alum Roman Abrego opened up the shop earlier this year, and his staff was handpicked from the best and brightest in the industry. Even so, yes, it’ll still hurt. 7460 Melrose Ave., L.A., artisticelement2.com

Best Place to Fake It
As coastal dwellers, sporting a year-long shimmery glow is almost expected. But who has time to devote to lying out in the sun for hours—not to mention the health dangers that come with it? Chocolate Sun in Beverly Hills is the pioneer and creator of the very first all-natural, organic, sunless tanning solution. Its products are handcrafted entirely of organically grown and wild-crafted botanicals and herbs, pure essential oils and all-natural preservatives. 338 N. Canon Dr., 2nd floor, Ste. 7, Bev. Hills, chocolatesun.com

Best Place For the Clothes-Minded
Fred Segal has been referenced in everything from Less Than Zero and Clueless to Entourage and The L Word (“It’s the biggest lezzy hangout in L.A.”). For a store—on Melrose, no less—to remain the ‘it’ place over the span of several decades is no small feat. Fred Segal does so by staying on top of the latest fashion trends but always keeping it classy. Plus, there’s a café. How smart is that? 8118 Melrose Ave., L.A., fredsegal.com

Best Place to Role-Play
You can get trapped in the magical land of Halloween costumes that is Hollywood Toys & Costumes for hours. It is heaven—mecca if you will—for geeks who use any occasion as an excuse to dress up (don’t judge us). But normal folks will love it as well. It’s not just for Halloween, though. If you’re throwing a party—no matter what the theme—they’ve got party supplies at the ready. 6600 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd., hollywoodtoysandcostumes.com

Best Gayborhood Boutique
Centrally located in the heart of the Santa Monica strip, Brick 'n Mortar is not just a neighborhood clothing store—it’s a clothing store that embraces its community. In addition to offering uptown fashion, one-of-a-kind jewelry, home accents, gifts and skincare products geared towards a male demographic, BnM also houses gallery spaces featuring local artists and plays host to mixers, cocktail parties and events. It's the perfect place to invigorate your wardrobe and home. 8713 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, bricknmortar.co

Best Reason to Break Out Your Dolphin Shorts
If you’re feeling the need to work out but just need that extra something to get motivated—say, a screaming ’80s queen—you can actually go and work out with the Richard Simmons at his studio in Beverly Hills for only $25. The beloved fitness instructor and motivational coach—with his teased-out ’do and so-very-short shorts—is one of a kind, and he will make you sweat to the oldies. Oil up your legs, scrunch down your white socks, lace up those L.A. Gears and go! 9306 Civic Center Dr., Bev. Hills, richardsimmons.com

Best Hair Do
Shorty's Barber Shop. Don’t let the name fool you. You’re not going to have some old-timer with hair coming out of his ears giving you a “nice, respectable cut.” This place is young and hip—and they cater to both gals and gents. The décor is tattoo parlor-meets-graffiti artist loft. All haircuts come with complimentary loud music (the good kind), and the staff is experienced and knowledgeable. But more importantly, they are hot to trot. 755 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A., shortysbarbershop.com

Best Alternative to Going Commando
If the question is, “Just how short and tight can you get your swimwear and underwear?,” LASC’s answer is “Very.” This 4,000-square-foot WeHo clothing store’s tagline is “Everything for Men,” and one look at its catalog confirms it. LASC sells the best in men’s fitness, casual, T-shirts, tank tops, underwear and swimwear. In addition to their own brand, LASC carries lines from Nike, Puma, New Balance, Armani, Diesel, Speedo, Ben Sherman and many more. 8592 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, shoplasc.com

Best Forward-Thinking Pharmacy
Since its inception in 1987, AIDS Healthcare Foundation has worked tirelessly for those affected by HIV and AIDS—and is now the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the country. Part of that advocacy includes the AHF Pharmacy, which offers free HIV testing and services tailored to each person’s specific needs. Money raised by the pharmacy gets filtered back into caring for AHF patients and supporting its prevention and testing programs worldwide. 8212 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, aidshealth.org


CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT

Best Place to Let the Good Times Roll
The ladies of the L.A. Derby Dolls are the living incarnation of hell on wheels. This isn’t the cheesy “sports entertainment” version that became popular in the ‘70s. These are kickass athletes who sacrifice blood, sweat and tears out on the track, and the hits and spills are all 100 percent real. Teams such as Fight Crew, Tough Cookies and Varsity Brawlers sport players with names like Marina Del Rage, Janis Choplin, Gori Spelling and Fleetwood Smack. A night at the Doll House is a guaranteed fun time. 1910 W. Temple St., L.A., derbydolls.com

Best Science-Fiction Double Feature
If you want to relive some of your favorite flicks from bygone years, you can do so at the New Beverly, one of L.A.’s longest-running revival theatres. Rolling the finest in classic, independent, cult and foreign films since 1978, the New Beverly showcases fan favorites such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Goonies, Animal House, Ghost World, The Big Lebowski, Knocked Up and Up in Smoke. Plus, all showings are double features and only cost $8. 7165 Beverly Blvd., L.A., newbevcinema.com

Best Dinner & Porno
The eateries Vermont Kitchen & Bar and Rockwell have joined hands (and knocked down walls) with the live performance space Barre to become the new-and-improved Rockwell Table & Stage. Instead of three separate, square-footage-impaired businesses, there is now one big spot where patrons can eat and take in the cabaret performances with a little elbow room. What kind of performances? Movie-inspired live shows. This summer it was the works of Paul Thomas Anderson, and the Boogie Nights performances were equipped with a special hot dog menu. (10-inch Big Diggler, anyone?) 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz, rockwell-la.com

Best Car Catharsis
Driving in L.A. can sometimes make one want to resort to road rage. But that’s bad, m’kay? Instead, you can take out your hatred of every living creature on the 405 in a safe, controlled environment. Go Kart World provides the ultimate in recreational and competitive driving for all ages and skill levels. Just pick your track—super, slick, turbo, mini indy, kiddy or bumper cars—and kick it into high gear. If you get cut off, foul language and hand gestures are ill-advised. 21830 Recreation Rd., Carson, gokartworld.com

Best Path to Becoming a Streetwalker
The old saying is that nobody walks in L.A. While we’re fond of our cars, we’ll break out the cute walking shoes if a worthwhile occasion arises. The Los Angeles Conservancy is dedicated to preserving and revitalizing greater Los Angeles’ architectural heritage through advocacy and education. It offers eight regularly scheduled walking tours led by knowledgeable docents that uncover the past of Downtown’s historic buildings, including Union Station, the Biltmore Hotel, Angeleno Heights and Broadway. laconservancy.org

Best Bang For Your Two-Buck Chuck
Your attire will vary drastically depending on which night you hit up the Hollywood Bowl—your favorite indie threads to see Death Cab for Cutie, your Sunday best for the music of John Williams or your grandpa’s lederhosen to belt out “My Favorite Things” at the Sound of Music sing-along. And each one will look fabulous under the glimmering night sky. Everything is better with a picnic basket and a bottle of wine. 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hlywd, hollywoodbowl.com

Best Place to Wish Upon a Star
Griffith Observatory provides one of the best vantage points in the city— whether you’re an astronomy geek or you simply enjoy a great view. A longtime landmark in L.A., the Observatory only got better following an extensive renovation and expansion in 2002. Check out a live planetarium show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, view live transmissions of space events in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theatre, look to regions unknown through the Zeiss telescope or just look out over the L.A. skyline and try and spot the huge, gaudy, blue Scientologist building off Sunset. 2800 E. Observatory Ave., L.A., griffithobs.org

Best Place to Swing
If you haven’t been to the Dresden to witness the smooth-sounding lounge act of legends Marty and Elayne, you haven’t truly experienced L.A. The duo has been doing its thing at the Dresden since 1982. They made an appearance in Swingers, playing their extra-special version of the Bee Gees’ classic “Stayin’ Alive.” You’ll find Marty sitting behind the drums or playing upright bass, while Elayne swings it with piano, synth and flute Tuesday through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1:15 a.m. 1760 N. Vermont Ave.,  Los Feliz, thedresden.com


READERS' CHOICE
Frontiers asked our readers to weigh in on their favorites at FrontiersLA.com. Here are all the nominees and winners!

Favorite New Restaurant
1.    Pitfire Pizza, WeHo    
2.    Umami Burger, The Grove, Mid-Wilshire
3.     Laurel Hardware Restaurant, WeHo
4.    The Parish, Downtown L.A.
5.     Sadie, Hollywood    

Favorite Local Business
1.    Rough Trade, Silver Lake
2.    Andrew Christian, WeHo    
3.    Book Soup, WeHo    
4.    Celebration Theatre, Hollywood    
5.    Candle Delirium, WeHo    
6.    Urban Pet / Moon Shine Grooming, Silver Lake    

Favorite Local Website
1.    LAist.com    
2.    TheEastsiderLA.com    
3.    CurbedLA.com    
4.    LGBTPOV.com    
5.    ThrillList.com     

Favorite Shopping Destination
1.    Beverly Connection, L.A.    
2.    Time Travel Mart, Echo Park     
3.    Space 1521, Hollywood    
4.    LASC, WeHo    
5.    Fred Segal, L.A.

Favorite East Side Personality
1. DJ Ryan Jones    
2. Mario Diaz    
3. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence     
4. Shawn Morales and Ryan Kirk    
5. Chris Bowen and Victor Rodriguez

Favorite West Hollywood Personality
1. 'Rosas' Lady    
2. Paul Nicholls    
3. John D'Amico    
4. Woody Woodbeck     
5. Tom Whitman

Favorite L.A. Drag Diva
1. Jackie Beat    
2. Miss Barbie Q    
3. Detox    
4. Rhea Litre    
5. Vicky Vox

Favorite Daytime Drinking Locale
1.    Classic Beer Bust, Faultline, Silver Lake
2.    Sunday Funday, The Abbey, WeHo   
3.    Bears in Space, Akbar, Silver Lake    
4.    Size, Here Lounge, WeHo
5.    The Standard Hotel, WeHo     

Favorite Happy Hour
1.    St. Felix, Hollywood    
2.    Fiesta Cantina, WeHo
3.    Tortilla Republic, WeHo     
4.    Spring Street Bar, Downtown L.A.    
5.    Nic's, Beverly Hills   


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  1. Dino Hillas posted on 10/07/2012 10:46 PM
    Dear Frontiers Magazine... I have to comment on your favrotie pick restaurant, "Laurel Hardware".. Last Friday evening my date and I walked over to the restaurant holding hands to have dinner and we were awkwardly turned away by their bouncer, who happened to be smoking a cigarette, (While doing his job), I might add, because of their strict dresscode. Now I have to say my date and I were dressed better than the hetrosexual men and women they were allowing into their bar and restaurant. We were so shocked, that we didn't realize until we walked away that we were simply discriminated against, because we are homosexual. Now I have learned from other people who live in the area, (female friends) that they do not favor "the boys" in their establishment.

    Now I am a resonsible 52 year old gay male, a business owner and my date is 47, both of us are responsible men and knew, when we are being akwardly turned away. I have placed a call to the mayor of West Hollywood, will take this matter to the media and file a formal complaint to the Attorney General.... I am shocked that in 2012, we have to encounter such unpleasant behavior from a West Hollywood business.

    Dino Hillas
    Los Angeles, CA
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