The Silver Lining of Silverlake


Author: Chloe Jenkins-Sleczkowski

We Oxy students are often too involved in our Eagle Rock nest to branch out and explore our deserving neighbor Silverlake. You’ve probably driven through it at some point or another – it hosts freeways, main drags and crossing points of the city. It certainly isn’t very far from Oxy either, and accidental turns and wrong freeway exits can easily lead you there.

My discovery of Silverlake, however, was not by chance. A restaurant aficionado friend and I had set out to find a hip new restaurant in Silverlake called Madame Matisse (located at 3536 W Sunset Blvd.). The reviews looked good, and the prices decent. We Googled the directions and realized that it was actually fairly close to Oxy – just a hop, skip and a drive down the 2.

We never actually found the restaurant, but as we drove down the winding hill into the Silverlake basin, we found a charismatic variety of cafés, diners and shops lining the streets. The Astro Family Restaurant (located at 2300 Fletcher Drive) is near the bottom of the hill, at a crossroads of sorts with Fletcher Drive. It’s a great local diner, open 24 hours, with decent prices. The Silverlake Wine Company (at 2395 Glendale Blvd.) is an eclectic and comprehensive wine store where you can find anything from Californian Pinot Noir to Swiss Absinthe.

If you keep driving down Glendale Boulevard, you’ll find that the street curves around behind the Silver Lake Reservoir (yes, there is actually a Silver Lake) and continues west towards Los Feliz.

Continuing on Rowena Avenue into the west end of the neighborhood, you pass another collection of restaurants that will satisfy even the most indecisive and elitist diners. The elegant Michelangelo Ristorante (at 2742 Rowena Ave.) sits in a little nook on the side of the street and serves a collection of Italian food.

Down the street is another Coffee Table location (at 2930 Rowena Ave.), similar to Eagle Rock’s own version. The Edendale Grill (at 2838 Rowena Ave.) is a great little bar and grill that attracts the local hipster community and serves American Cuisine.

In addition, every Saturday morning, Sunset Boulevard becomes the location of a Farmer’s Market to rival Eagle Rock’s own. It sells a diversity of food, produce and art for those shoppers interested in organic and local goods.

Speaking of hipsters, did I mention that Silverlake is the Hipsterville of Los Angeles? After our exploration of the neighborhood, we stopped at the Silverlake Coffee Company (at 2388 Glendale Blvd.) for coffee and omelets. The omelets were pretty good, and the coffee was better than Starbucks. We sat outside in the patio dining area, which was conveniently surrounded by tall bushes and trees to block out the cars whizzing by on the street.

If ever I was in doubt as to what exactly a “hipster” is, Silverlake met my question with a resounding definition. This cute little coffee shop, which brews organic coffee, sells delicious pastries and serves an assortment of breakfast and lunch specials, seemed to embody the hipster vibe, as did the various Converse-clad customers slouched in their chairs reading thick books and writing on their Macbooks. A customer at the front was loudly talking to the barista about a screenplay he’s working on.

About a block up the hill is the Red Lion Tavern, which greets visitors as they come down the hill into Silverlake. Inside is a small, very German-style bar and restaurant. The menu listed all German foods and drinks, none of which I could pronounce. A small gathering of people inside stared at us when we wandered in – probably because the brunch hour was over and we didn’t look like we wanted to stay for kaffee. But a large banner outside boasted happy hour specials Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m., and every German beer you can wish to drink.

Indeed, Silverlake hosts a wide variety of bars and clubs in the neighborhood for the late-night adventurer. Club Spaceland (1717 Silver Lake Blvd.) is a live music club that books up-and-coming and local bands. Barbarella (2609 Hyperion Ave.), Cha Cha Lounge (2375 Glendale Blvd.) and Stinkers (2939 W Sunset Blvd.) are a few of the neighborhood’s more popular bars. Of course, there are many more, and I recommend you take a personal night-life tour if you want to find the true flavor of each.

Silverlake is a quaint, homey and lively neighborhood where you can find almost anything you’re looking for. We passed a vintage clothing shop next to an old record store on one block, Thai food and a vegetarian restaurant on another.

The eclectic collection of restaurants and stores gives this place a cool vibe, and the area seems like a community of people who just want to sit back, relax and watch the hazy clouds float by. Life here seems nice. Apartment prices are an average of $1,200 per room – believe me, I’ve checked.

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