LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - It’s been half a century since Hollywood’s Golden Age and once again, Tinseltown is aiming to recapture its former glamour and magic.
Tattoo parlors, trashy souvenir shops and bleary-eyed lost souls still line Hollywood Boulevard. But with the Oscars now firmly entrenched in the district that is in the midst of a $1 billion, 30-year redevelopment, many locals are hoping its heading back to its former glory days.
Reuters correspondents with local knowledge provide hints to make the make the most of 48 hours in Hollywood in the lead up to the Oscars on Sunday.
7 p.m. - Kick off your stay with a cocktail at the kitschy, cool Beauty Bar that stands out on Cahuenga Boulevard, where small new clubs with velvet ropes are popping up all the time.
9 p.m. - Splash out at the new, chic Asian-fusion cuisine hotspot East Restaurant and Lounge owned by Hollywood nightlife impresario David Judaken on Hollywood Boulevard. Make sure to grab one of the “confession” booths and order the ‘Drunken Tofu.’
11 p.m. - Head down to Vine Street to walk the red carpet staircase at the brand new $350 million W Hotel that is banking on Hollywood’s revival as an entertainment hub.
Check out the hotel’s hot new club, Drai’s Hollywood, on the hotel’s rooftop, with an open air bar and pool deck. Head inside to dance or lounge in the banquettes.
9 a.m. - Head to 101 Coffee Shop on Franklin to shake off the hangover with signature items like the Cajun catfish and eggs as you get comfy in the 60s and 70s style retro brown leather booths.
11 a.m. - Head down Hollywood Boulevard’s “Walk of Fame” and over to the Kodak Theater where the Academy Awards are held. Walk the “plastic carpet” before it turns red later in the week and check out the statue of a man called Oscar on the ground floor at the end of the run.
12 p.m. - Head a few doors down to Grauman’s Chinese Theater for a quick tour. It opened in 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s film ‘The King of Kings.’ Compare your footprints with those of the stars like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
2 p.m. - Mingle with a bit of old Hollywood and grab some lunch at Musso & Frank’s Grill where the likes of Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway once lingered. Listen out for Hollywood types who still come here to talk business and make sure you enter through the back like the locals have been doing for years.
3 p.m. - Keep walking along the Walk of Fame and opposite the historic Egyptian Theater built in 1922 duck into the alleyway and discover the rare vinyl LP store ‘As the Record Turns,’ a cozy alternative to the nearby independent music chain Amoeba Music that both attract die hard music fans and collectors.
4 p.m. - Keep heading back down the boulevard for a quick shop at the Hollywood & Highland Center where you will find boutiques such as Louis Vuitton and entertainment such as retro bowling alley Lucky Strike Lanes.
6 p.m. - Start your night off sitting at the bar at one of Hollywood’s oldest gathering spots, Boardners, just off Hollywood Boulevard.
7 p.m. - Walk around the corner and grab a drink at Miceli‘s, billed as the oldest Italian restaurant in L.A. complete with singing waiters. It has been family owned and operated by the Miceli family since 1949 and has hosted everyone from Richard Nixon to Julia Roberts.
9 p.m. - Switch back to new Hollywood with a visit to The Hungry Cat located down the end of the courtyard alley off the Sunset + Vine retail complex for fresh fruit cocktails and seafood entrees between $15 and $25 in a modern setting.
11 p.m. - If there is nothing playing at the famed outdoor venue The Hollywood Bowl, head next door to The Hungry Cat for a late night visit to the intimate Ivan Kane’s Cafe Was for nightly rock/jazz stylings and singer-songwriter sets.
10 a.m. - Head to The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel that opened in 1927 and had the likes of Clark Cable and Marilyn Monroe stay before undergoing a major renovation in 2005. Peek inside the famed Blossom Ballroom, the site of the first Academy Awards in 1929, that reopened last year with the $ 4 million restoration of its original design elements.
12 p.m. - Catch a short cab ride along Hollywood Boulevard to ‘Fresh Pressed,’ where kids, adults and friends can collaborate with designers on hand to create your own T-shirts. Create slogans or scribble artwork to print the designs you like in under 30 minutes for $40.
Wander next door to “Everything’s Jake” where stylish guys can shop for vintage suits and strum guitars and head across the road to a sprinkling of vintage and high end clothing stores. Grab lunch at Umami Burger with their own secret signature ketchup.
2:30 p.m. - To experience the buzz of the Oscars and try to catch a glimpse of the stars head to the Kodak Theater where the Academy Award ceremony will begin a few hours later.
Or for a different type of star gazing go to Griffith Park to climb up to the Griffith Observatory that sits on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood, offering a view of the Los Angeles basin.
5 p.m. - Finish the day while wandering back through the heart of Hollywood with a snack at hot dog joint Skooby‘s. Order the L.A.-style 100 per cent Turkey Frank that promises all natural Turkey, no nitrates (except for sea salt) and only 90 calories for that new Hollywood healthy glow.
Editing by Patricia Reaney