Los Angeles’ coolest new shopping district isn’t on Abbot Kinney, Downtown LA, or Silver Lake. This is the new row of shops and restaurants 10 minutes from LAX on Playa Vista’s new runway: Free Market. That’s right. Playa Vista.
Once a hotbed for divorced mothers and Electronic Arts project managers, Playa Vista has seen a surge in interest (and real estate values) in recent years as Google, Hulu, YouTube, IMAX, and Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company brought intelligence and taste to these ancient wetlands where Howard Hughes built The Spruce Goose. Some still compare the vibe of Playa to Truman Show-by-the-sea, but go there on a Saturday, when the farmer’s market is bustling and Blue Bottle Coffee is pouring Opascope espressos, and you might think you’ve stumbled upon a weirdly glittering Venice boho patch.
The Runway: Free Market is currently bringing the most heat to Playa. Launched last month, this is a mix of shops and places to eat that is sure to appeal to hipsters in a certain income bracket looking for carefully selected lifestyle products and organic flavors. .
Don’t make mistakes. Like Playa Vista itself, Free Market is a concept made and designed to attract money from affluent consumers. But what is it ? It looks great and is sleeker than anything the neighborhood has backed before, so I’ll take it. Built in partnership with Nguyen Lawrence Architects, Klein Agency and DesignBitches, Free Market has locations in Denver and there’s another incarnation coming up in Downtown LA’s Arts District But for now, I’m going to kid myself believing that it is a unique feeling in Playa.
Here’s what’s worth seeing:
By day, the neon counters at Joliet Café & Bar are filled with bread and pastry from Bub & Grandma from Farmshop in Brentwood. But it’s the bar hidden behind a retractable door a few steps further inside that just might be the sexiest cocktail bar of summer 2021 on the West Side.
Please Do Not Enter is my new favorite collection of chic and whimsical decorative objects and gifts, all handpicked by Nicolas Libert and Emmanuel Renoird. Inventory changes frequently, but you might find a classic Studio Tsé & Tsé test tube vase or a surreal animal bench by the groovy Haas Brothers of LA. Parisian sophistication for the crowd after Gjelina.
Alchemy Works sells Loomis, Flamingo Estate, Apolis, and other millennium-approved housewares and accessories in a light and airy place loaded with candles, jewelry, and $ 200.
County Line Florals is the company’s very first ‘florist’ bar that made flower deliveries cool again (it helps that CLF occasionally sells its unique bouquets, plants and housewares from a converted 1965 VW Transporter. named Betty).
Natural Rough looks exotic with her handcrafted tops and dresses, all with an alluring world goddess look that says, “Hey, I’ll catch you when I get back from the Maldives.”
The correct period is easy to find. This is the store with the racing car on the gallery floor. The Modern Design Store is a motorsport concept shop that uses European car culture as an excuse to sell very expensive jackets, hoodies and t-shirts.
As a magazine lover and guy who (full disclosure) writes for C Magazine sometimes, Studio C is my kind of store. The store features items selected by the editors of this publication to represent the best of California design and creativity, and brings together “the most talented artisans and forward-thinking brands plying their trade in the Golden State.” I can subscribe to that.
Teressa Foglia makes unique hats that are the envy of Malibu in Brooklyn. Each piece is handmade with unicorn fur and mermaid sequins, or at least the sentiment of such, and you’ll definitely want to stop by before the Coachella Music Festival resumes later this year.
The Playa Vista track is located at 12775 W Millennium, Playa Vista, CA 90094.