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A Night at the BonaVista Lounge

By Jeannine Denholm
Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2008, at 06:04PM
DSC00887 [Flickr]

Looking south from the BonaVista Lounge, atop the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.

There are so many great bars and restaurants opening Downtown it’s easy to forget the ones that have been around for awhile. That’s why I opted out of my normal Seven Grand rye Manhattan Friday routine to try something new and distinctly different. And what could be more unlike any of Cedd Moses’ swanky joints than the revolving BonaVista Lounge on top of the Westin Bonaventure hotel.

I’ll admit it wasn’t until a few months ago that I even had any idea it existed. I’ve seen the futuristic space capsule elevators zipping up and down the side of the five tower hotel but I didn’t realize the 35th floor was often the top destination. Ok – well maybe not by people who live here, but every once in awhile I like to hang out like a tourist and I figured the view must be amazing. I also was intrigued by the notion the cocktails came in collectible take-home glasses with shapes like the Hollywood sign and the state of California.

My husband and I met my neighbor, Roger, around 7:00pm, sped up the Red elevators (the only one that takes you to the top) and walked out into the entry for the non-rotating LA Prime Steak House, located one flight of stairs above the revolving cocktail lounge.

First off, as one might guess, the Bonavista’s not anywhere near as sceney as The Standard and doesn’t have the sleek interior of Takami, but it does have killer 360 degree views of Downtown.

The crowd was a mixture of tourists, business travelers and a couple in their early 20’s trying to look grown up with their sweet fruity martinis. I loved it! How fun is it that we live in a city where you literally can be transported back to the 80’s in the blink of an eye and escape just as quickly?

The revolving part was interesting. Apparently it takes a little over an hour to rotate completely. It’s so slow that you barely notice the movement, unless of course you put your purse on the outer edges like I did when we sat down. Thankfully my husband noticed before the table behind us snatched up my vintage Gucci.

The cocktail menu is full of frothy martinis, drinks you know come with big umbrellas and non alcoholic concoctions with names like Pink Flamingo and Wavebender. I figured I had to go completely girlie and ordered the Key Lime Martini, my husband seconded that by getting a virgin Pina Colada. But my neighbor, well, he bucked the trend opting for a Bombay Martini. Unfortunately, when we tried ordering one of those kitschy little glasses we were told they only had a generic take-home glass that lit up. Oh well, so much for the souvenir.

For the next hour and a half we chatted, looked at the amazing view -- which was timed perfectly for the setting sunset and blocked out the less than inspiring interior before we headed over to the Edison. I used to take my out of town guests to Yamashiro in the Hollywood Hills to see fantastic views of Los Angeles, now the BonaVista’s in the running and it’s right in my backyard.

Westin Bonaventure Hotel / BonaVista Lounge / 404 S. Figueroa St / Los Angeles, CA 90071 / (213) 624-1000


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