The great LA exodus is upon us. No, it’s not because of active fault lines or an oat milk shortage - it’s because of Coachella, the gigantic music festival that takes place every April on a bunch of worn-down polo fields in a desert retirement community. Or, as those who remain in town call it, “The greatest two weekends of the year.”
That’s because when 100,000 people invade Indio, we get a city devoid of traffic, lines, and the general chaos that comes with getting around LA on a weekend. It also means some of the city’s coolest bars and restaurants are a little less packed for a few short days. So seize the opportunity - here are 10 spots you’ll finally get to see the inside of.
It’s an LA breakfast staple, and it’s almost always busy. On an average Saturday, the line stretches around the corner and up the hill towards Silver Lake. But during a Coachella weekend, you won’t have to wait as long for the crispy rice salad, or the sorrel pesto bowl that changed the city’s breakfast game. Come with a group, so you can sample a few of those classics, but also try some new stuff, like the Saturday biscuit, or the flat tot - which is basically a really good latke.
Mh Zh is only a few years old, but it’s already become one of the most popular restaurants in Silver Lake. And that means there’s a line out the door every single night. However, now that half the neighborhood is dancing around the desert in $300 denim panties, you’ll actually be able to get in pretty quickly. The small menu changes regularly, but be sure to order whatever hummus they have that night, plus some grilled vegetables and a few big plates of meat. Heads up: They still don’t have a liquor license.
A citywide evacuation is the only thing that could empty out this bakery, and given that Coachella is the closest thing Venice has to one of those, now’s your chance to check it out. You won’t even have to hover like an anxious ghost to get a table in the back. You really can’t go wrong with any sandwich on the menu, but if you leave without getting the tuna conserva and the porchetta melt, you’ve messed up.
Republique feels like a cathedral for excellent French food, and it normally has the crowds to match. But not this weekend. Even if it’s not quite fully-booked, it will still be buzzing with people eating escargots and massive platters of house-cured charcuterie. Don’t be afraid to ask for help navigating the wine list here, because it’s roughly as thick as one of the later Harry Potter books.
Want to reconsider your work/life balance? Head to Konbi on any given weekday, and wonder why no one has a job anymore. This daytime spot on Sunset has a near-constant wait to sit at its 15-person bar, except maybe when all the regulars are out in the desert listening to Maggie Rogers. The best things here are on the breakfast menu - the Japanese breakfast set with eggs, fish, and miso are good, and the croissants are in the running for the best pastries in LA.
You still won’t get a table reservation this weekend. But walking in and grabbing a seat at the bar? That’s far more feasible. Given that Felix makes some of the best pasta in the city, you should definitely focus on that section of the menu - the rigatoni, tonnarelli cacio e pepe, and orecchiette are all fantastic. But if you leave without getting at least two orders of the focaccia, you probably shouldn’t even tell anyone you came here. We don’t make the rules.
If you’ve ever wondered where people who shut down the Bungalow each night spend their afternoons, it’s Rosenthal Wines in Malibu. But when the crowds of Santa Monica bros are sweating on each other at Coachella, Rosenthal is actually a pretty great place to spend an afternoon. The wines aren’t anything special, but the turf patio is tucked right into the hills of Malibu, there’s usually a band playing, and you can play cornhole if you’re feeling competitive. They don’t serve food, but you can bring your own, so we always stop at a grocery store to pick up some cheese and meats for a build-your-own picnic.
There’s a reason a lot of people like Mama Shelter - it has some of the best views in town, and is one of the few rooftop bars in Hollywood that won’t make you lose faith in humanity. So when the Coach-vacuation happens, this spot should be near the top of your list of places to finally visit.
We’re not sure anyone at Bar Caló would admit they’d actually go to Coachella - it’s a little too mainstream - but trust us when we say they’ll be in the desert this weekend. The opportunity to show off a new set of lace overalls is just too good to pass up. So the crowd at this Echo Park spot should be smaller than usual, and you’ll be able to drink your paloma and eat your peanut chipotle salsa in peace.
Highland Park’s nightlife consists mostly of casual bars you can stumble into as the night progresses - except for Gold Line. Lines at this Japanese whiskey bar form around 9:30pm and don’t let up until last call. While some people are waiting to drink Highballs and look affected, most are there for the music - the DJs have a hand-picked selection of over 7,500 rare records at their disposal. But since that crowd will be spending the weekend inside the Sahara tent, now’s your chance to skip the lines and actually find a seat inside.