The Amateur Enthusiast is a blog devoted to drinking and dining in Downtown by political strategist Glenn Gritzner. In today's post, he struggles to bring his fellow Enthusiasts around on L.A. Live, the brightly lit AEG complex just north of Staples Center. After the jump, he calls b.s. on that whole Times Square nonsense.
For Downtown to succeed long term, it can't always be about the newest place, or the coolest vibe. It has to be welcoming to everyone, and it has to provide options to people who are still a little bit intimdated by Downtown and need an "easy" way in.
Therefore, I give you: LA Live.
Yes, LA Live is corporate. Yes, all the restaurants are chains of one size or another. Yes, there isn't what one would call "personality", unless you count glaring signs and weird climbing tree lights.
But. LA Live has a number of things going for it.
1) It's easy. It's easy to find, it's easy (though expensive) to park, and the places are open and welcoming. 2) It's non-threatening. People don't have to be convinced that the Yard House or ESPN Zone is somewhere they'll feel comfortable - they either like it or not. I can't tell you how many people have waited to go to the Varnish or the Crocker Club until I - or a similarly knowledgeable Downtown friend - can take them. Much as that's misguided - Varnish and Crocker are usually just as friendly - there are no such problems with LA Live. And 3) it has lots of options. You don't even need to decide in advance where to go. Just park and walk around until something floats your boat.
The problem is that AEG tried to hard to market LA Live as "LA's Times Square." It's not. Those things have to develop organically and, maybe, at some point it will be.