Design Dish: Atrium Los Feliz

Think of where to go in Los Feliz and dark, moody places like The Dresden Room, featured in the movie Swingers (and where you can still catch Marty and Elayne performing) come to mind. But slip down the alley just past  Skylight Books and the vintage Los Feliz 3 cinema and a whole new world opens up. Constructed from a former artist's studio and rehearsal space, the month-old Atrium is a large, beautiful, bright and airy new restaurant tucked behind the rows of storefronts that line Vermont Avenue. 

Created by Beau Laughlin and Jay Milikin, the duo (in combination with Brett Cranston) behind Silver Lake's popular Kettle Black and Sawyer and the juice brand, Clover juice,  the indoor-outdoor space wraps a series of moods under its 3,200 square footprint and its high bow barrel truss ceiling.

With Laughlin as the space's general contractor and design visionary, Atrium offers a space, infused by sunlight streaming through the main room's skylights, that caters to the neighborhood's many needs: there's the long brick-lined corridor of outdoor tables for happy hour; a line of high back channel-upholstered absinthe green velvet booths, with lighting from Brendan Ravenhill and a bespoke wallpaper from the Hygge & West/Health Ceramics collaboration, along one wall, are perfect for intimate soirees or business dinners; casual tables strewn about the large main area of the restaurant for boisterous gatherings of families and friends after a movie or bookstore outing; and, a large horse-shoe-shaped bar, a honey-hued statement piece formed by casted concrete, for first dates and quick meet-ups. The modern aesthetic is grounded by warm woodwork mixed with inherited brick and bolt accents. Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue colors the enclosed wine room 

Partners and kitchen wizards Executive Chef Hunter Pritchett, and Pastry Chef Gregory Baumgartner offer a menu of tasty cocktails  -- try the addictive Shift Drink, Szechuan-infused tequila, with pineapple cordial, amontillado, ginger, and lime, or the If It Ain’t Broke, a twist on a Manhattan -- and plates, designed to be shared, that draw upon the varied culinary landscape of the city for inspiration with the farmer's market driven menu mixing California, Thai, Korean and Middle Eastern flavors to addictive effect. Try Grilled Focacia with Kimchi butter and Buckwheat Honey, a half dozen oysters with Negroni Mignonette, Crispy Oyster Mushrooms in an Eel Sauce Glaze, Octopus Al Pastor Tostadas, or the Uni Cacio e Pepe. Framed by white oak and brass shelves that float and blend into a massive glass-enclosed show kitchen behind it, two center windows frame the chefs in action and allow guests to engage with the showmanship of Pritchett and his team. 

Atrium Los Feliz, 1816-A N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 323-607-6944 for dinner, happy hour and weekend brunch.

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