The Mondrian's Skybar in Los Angeles
Where should you hang out after dark in Tinseltown? Ask Ian McCurrach

The scene

When the stars start twinkling in Tinseltown it's essential that they are seen shining in the right firmament. And in a town with a two-minute attention span, what's hot one week is cold the next.

So finding the right place to be at the right time is essential. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the best nights on the party scene. Dinner can be a refreshingly early affair, especially after a day filled with meetings, and is generally from 7.30pm onwards. Nightlife ignites around 9.30pm. If you want to end up in an achingly hip hotel bar or club and haven't phoned ahead to put your name on "the list", then it's advisable to make a booking for dinner, which usually assures entrance to the bar after 9pm. Given the spread of La-La Land, cabs are the only way to go. It's possible to flag a yellow cab in the street and a journey from West Hollywood to Beverly Hills costs about £10. Looking and playing the part is essential, so talk up yourself big time both at work and after dark. And always pull on your coolest clothes. In club terms what was formerly fuzzy and scuzzy is now megaritzy and glitzy. Clubs come and go nightly, so put your finger on the pulse and pick up a copy of LA Weekly for listings or visit www.laweekly.com.

Drink

One of LA's current hot bars is Stone Rose, housed in an unlikely player, the Sofitel LA hotel opposite the Beverly Center – it even has a dedicated website, which clearly sets it apart from the chain. Stone Rose, at 8555 Beverly Boulevard (00 1 310 228 6677; www.sofitella.com), is the brainchild of Rande Gerber, Cindy Crawford's other half. Style-guru Gerber also has The Mondrian's Skybar, at 8440 Sunset Boulevard (00 1 323 650 8999; www.mondrianhotel.com), and the Whiskey Blue at the W Hotel, at 930 Hilgard Avenue (00 1 310 443 8232; www.midnightoilbars.com), in his empire. At Stone Rose the intimate vibe is conducive for after-work networking. The crowd is drawn to the large u-shaped bar and dark orange velvet couches. Poolside at The Mondrian's rooftop Skybar with the whole of LA beneath you, it's easy to imagine you've made it. Think blue-and-white furniture, candle-lit stairs and white lights hanging from the trees. Ascend the dramatic backlit staircase and enter the dimly lit, seductive interior of Whiskey Blue and savour several perfectly mixed martinis. Saving the best to last, Bar Nineteen 12, at 9641 Sunset Boulevard (00 1 310 273 1912; www.thebeverlyhillshotel.com), opened last week to a standing ovation. Named after the year the mother hotel opened, the bar overlooks the pool, cabanas and the whole industry shebang.

Eat

Asia de Cuba, at 8440 Sunset Boulevard (00 1 323 848 6000; www.mondrianhotel.com), with its sumptuous whiter-than-white Philippe Starck interior, Asian-Latin cuisine and stunning outdoor deck is hard to beat in terms of style, food and attitude. Down the road at Nobu, at 129 N La Cienega Drive (00 1 310 659 9639; www.nobumatsuhisa.com), things are more casual and this work-style canteen serves faultless flavoursome fare in chef Nobu's first restaurant and is crammed as soon as it opens. Booking ahead is recommended. If time and money are no object take a trip down to Santa Monica for Melisse, at 1104 Wilshire Boulevard (00 1 310 395 0881; www.melisse.com). Chef Josiah Citrin serves up traditional French cuisine sourced locally from organic farmer's markets. Stick in the area for The Lobster, at 1602 Ocean Avenue (00 1 310 458 9294; www.thelobster.com). This fixture on Santa Monica Pier serves some of the best shellfish in town.

See

The Geffen Playhouse, at 10886 Le Conte Avenue (00 1 310 208 5454; www.geffenplayhouse.com), is where Hollywood goes to see plays, so there are frequently more recognisable faces in the audience than on stage. London transfers are common here and upcoming productions include The Female of the Species with Annette Bening. For music, opera and ballet check out the Walt Disney Concert Hall, at 111 South Grand Avenue (00 1 323 850 2000; www.laphil.org).

Dance

Forty Deuce, at 5574 Melrose Avenue (001 323 465 4242; www.fortydeuce.com), is where the super-sleek lounge around. Dare to disco at Deep, at 1707 North Vine Street (00 1 323 462 1144; www.deep-la.com), one of LA's leading clubs and was featured in Ocean's Eleven.

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