This vibrant neighborhood 3 miles northwest of downtown hotels has one of the of liveliest nightlife scenes in Los Angeles.  When the South Korean government raised the limit on how much its citizens can invest outside of the country to $3 million last year, even more money poured into an ethnically diverse neighborhood in which Korean-Americans have the most prominent cultural presence.  That means more than 450 Korean food establishments and a culture of late-night partying in the area, easily accessible via the purple line, or a $10-15 cab ride. 

Korean BBQ and karaoke is a wonderful way to unwind, particularly if you’re in a group.  Even if you’re new to Korean food, the BBQ concept will be pretty familiar – huge plates of meat get grilled up right in front of your eyes. A local institution to hit is called Soot Bull Jeep – the waitstaff will serve you up heaping plates of marinated beef, pork ribs, chicken, and even squid, that you then barbecue yourself on a grill in the center of your table.  (Park BBQ also draws a lot of raves, but it’s a bit of a hike from the subway).  The pork-enthusiasts at Honey Pig are definitely worth a visit, as they serve sumptuous ribs, bellies, and wild boar in addition to beef.  Also, Honey Pig has the advantage of using gas burners – the smoke at Soot Bull Jeep tends to make you smell like you’ve been out camping.  (Purple line to Wilshire and Normandie; walk south on Irolo; Soot Bull Jeep -- make a left on 8th, and walk 4 blocks east to 3136 W. 8th St., dinner $12-20, excluding alcohol. Here are some photos from enthusiastic patrons; Honey Pig, make a right on 8th St., walk two blocks and look for the giant pig sign, dinner $10-20, excluding alcohol. Here are some photos).

For more elaborate Korean cooking, and particularly celebrated examples of the traditional side dishes known as panchan, hike on over to Sa Rit Gol, an innocuous-looking gem tucked into the back of a mini-mall.  Don’t let the occasionally brusque service get to you – the exquisite marinated black cod will forever change the way you look at this fish.  Who knew cod could be so exciting? (Purple line to Wilshire and Western; walk south on Western 5 blocks, left on Olympic for 2 blocks, and look for 3189 W Olympic Blvd in mini-mall on north side of the street).

If you want to indulge in some karaoke after dinner, try either the luxurious, glammed-out Orchid or the no-frills but fully operational Rosen Music Center, where you can rent a private room to serenade your friends.  A private room on a weeknight at the Orchid costs $50/hour, but in keeping with the Hollywood club racket known as “bottle service,” also requires you to purchase at least 1 bottle of liquor, which starts at $140.  A weeknight room at Rosen is a far more reasonable $20/hour, with no bottle service requirement. (Take the purple line to Wilshire and Western; Orchid, walk east one block to Oxford, make a left and walk to 607 S. Oxford; Rosen Music Studio, walk south on Western to 8th St, and walk three blocks east to 3488 W. 8th – the entrance accessible from Hobart St.)

And lastly, if you’re coming home late, please do err on the safe side and call a cab – there is a small but non-trivial amount of street crime in the area, particularly on side streets at odd hours.  Any of the companies on this list will be happy to take you back downtown.