Word of Mouth: LA’s Silver Lake, Old and New

Navigating a neighborhood that's seen immense growth and change

The vibrant LA neighborhood of Silver Lake is home to modernist Southern California houses, multiple shopping areas with cafes and coffee shops, and a large reservoir surrounded by dog parks, meadows, and historic architecture. It’s also a place that—like so many others—has seen immense growth and change since the late 1990s. For all the food stands and old cinemas, there are countless upstart destinations that continue appearing all over the neighborhood. Here we have gathered some of our favorite places—new and old—and pay homage to those that give the area its old-school charm along with those that offer refreshing zest.

Image courtesy of Palisociety

Silver Lake Pool & Inn

Silver Lake Pool & Inn, by the Palisociety team, boasts 54 rooms and suites along with a pool deck, an indoor/outdoor bar, and Marco Polo, a restaurant helmed by Casey Lane. The courtyard—covered in lush trees and striped umbrellas—features pretty Moroccan and Italian tiles. With influences drawn from Silver Lake’s history of Mexican Modernism and Old Hollywood glamour, Palisociety’s Avi Brosh worked with Electric Bowery to achieve their vision. Guest rooms have leather armchairs, terrazzo counters and nightstands, along with prints by Block Shop and Alexandra Berg and photography by Laure Joliet. With many local restaurants and shops nearby, the hotel feels like a relaxing vacation sanctuary in the middle of the city.

by David Hartwell

Neutra VDL

To understand some of the architectural history of Silver Lake, take a tour of Richard Neutra’s original Los Angeles home and studio. Born in Vienna, Neutra came to the US and worked with Frank Lloyd Wright in the midwest before moving to LA in late 1920s, where he worked with Rudolph Schindler before focusing on his own projects. His house, Neutra VDL, was originally constructed in 1932 but rebuilt after a 1965 fire. Now under the stewardship of Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Architecture, the house is open for tours every Saturday. The beautiful house also hosts art installations twice a year, with an upcoming show by ceramicist Shio Kusaka.

Courtesy of Black Cat Bar

Black Cat

Reopened under its original name in 2012, the bar and restaurant Black Cat has a plaque outside that commemorates its historical significance. On New Year’s Eve in 1967, undercover police at the LGBT bar assaulted and arrested patrons who kissed at midnight. After weeks of organizing, the community returned to stand in front of Black Cat to protest the police brutality. The current owners (who also run West Hollywood’s Village Idiot) pay tribute to the LGBTQ+ community with photos from the protest, as well as memorabilia. On Sunset Boulevard, Black Cat is open seven days a week and offers a pub-style menu (prawn cocktails, wedge salads, seasonal fish, and hangar steaks) and their cocktails are creative riffs on classics with a series of four variations of mules and a daily punch.

Image by Fried Chicken Sandwich Studios

Ma’am Sir

From traditional to modern interpretations, LA is brimming with quality Filipino restaurants. At Ma’am Sir, chef Charles Olalia serves the flavors of the Philippines in a festive, tropical setting with a full bar. Lumpia topped with uni, lechon and pancit noodle dishes, sliders filled with house-made longganissa sausage, and branzino sinigang topped with shrimp, bok choy, and tamarind are just some of the highlights. The cocktails complement the meals with ingredients like pandan, calamansi, and lime leaf. For more Filipino flavors, newcomer Spoon & Pork also serves lunch and dinner nearby with casual comfort food options from fried chicken adobo to mushroom salpicao.

by Julie Wolfson

Barkeeper and Vinovore

Joe Keeper opened the original Barkeeper Sunset Junction location back in 2006 but recently moved to a larger spot with a tasting room on Hoover St. Now there’s space to display their vast collection of vintage barware, curated selection of spirits and bitters, and every conceivable utensil and accessory a home bar could need. A back room often plays host to tastings—recently by Uncle Nearest, Teeling Whiskey, and Compass Box. Next door at Vinovore, Coly Den Haan and Dean Harada specialize in wines by women winemakers.

Image courtesy of Dayglow Coffee


Los Angeles is a city full of coffee shops, with Silver Lake offering many: from the architectural Dinosaur coffee to the first LA Intelligentsia in Sunset Junction. One of our picks, Dayglow, serves coffee from over a dozen roasters—with La Cabra from Denmark, Sey from Brooklyn, Little Wolf from Massachusetts, and Taylormade from Norway on the current roster. Founder Tohm Ifergan opened Dayglow to showcase coffee roasters that reflected his globetrotting adventures while working as a touring musician. Also, their speciality coffee drinks often pay tribute to filmmakers. The current Suzy Bishop pairs espresso and milk with vanilla pine syrup and applewood smoked salt to reflect the scenery and themes in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.

by Julie Wolfson

Maury’s Bagels

What began quietly as a stand at the Sunday Hollywood Farmer’s Market grew in popularity and now Maury’s has a brick and mortar location in Silver Lake. Owner Jason Maury Kaplan’s goal is to make great bagels—whether traditional or contemporary. Classics like sesame and poppyseed sit in traditional wire bakery baskets next to za’atar iterations. The menu has several bagel sandwiches options including lox and whitefish, as well as kippered salmon, sable and labneh with vegetables. Locals and visitors alike queue up here, and Kaplan is bringing the community together at this nostalgic corner store. Not far away, on Sunset, Millie’s Cafe is also a staple of the neighborhood. Founded in 1926, the cafe offers classic breakfasts—many that aren’t in line with the stereotypical LA health-obsessed diet.

Mohawk General Store

On Sunset, Mohawk General Store opened in 2008 and has since expanded (with two other locations) to offer all kinds of goods from accessories to homeware, apparel and skincare products, records and more from all over the world. Close by, other stores like Virgil Normal and Graf Lantz are also worth a visit. The latter’s boutique showroom displays accessories and homewares that fuse German, Japanese and Californian influences. For graphic novels, comic books, and zines, visit Secret Headquarters, which has existed in various states and locations for decades.

Hero image courtesy of Palisociety