Timothy Hollingsworth, the chef and owner at Otium in downtown L.A., is merging his French Laundry-honed sensibilities with the culinary pleasures of the sports bar at a new restaurant called Free Play. Now open on the second floor of the Fields LA food hall, next door to L.A. Football Club’s Banc of California Stadium in Exposition Park, the chef is making double cheeseburgers, tri-tip nachos and savory garlic-cheese doughnuts. The restaurant has pinball, foosball and arcade games along with plenty of TVs showing sports games. Free Play also serves beer, wine and cocktails by bartenders Julian Cox and Nick Meyer.
3939 S. Figueroa St., 2nd Floor, Los Angeles, (213) 419-9481, freeplaydtla.com.
Beau Laughlin and Jay Milliken of Silver Lake’s Kettle Black, Scout and Sawyer, have opened a new restaurant on Vermont Avenue called Atrium. Under skylights and exposed truss beams, executive chef and partner Hunter Pritchett is offering dishes such as uni cacio e pepe spaghetti, Hawaiian hamachi crudo with passion fruit nuoc cham and a dry-aged Jorge rib-eye steak from San Rafael’s Flannery Beef that comes with a Szechuan au poivre. Partner Gregory Baumgartner, previously pastry chef at E.P. & L.P., 71 Above and Spring, is making the desserts.
1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 607-6944, atriumlosfeliz.com.
Lodge Bread Co.
The Culver City-based bakery known for its sourdough breads and wood-fired pizza, has a new location open at Woodland Hills’ Valley Country Mart. In addition to loaves and pastries, the new outlet has a smaller menu than the original, offering sandwiches, avocado toast and Bicycle Coffee Co. coffee. Pan and traditional pizza slices will be available starting next week and Sunday pizza nights, with 10-inch personal pizzas, begin in December.
20929 Ventura Blvd., Unit No. 22, Woodland Hills, (747) 888-3398, lodgebread.com/valley-location.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
Representatives for David Chang’s restaurant group confirm that Chang is developing a local branch of Momofuku Noodle Bar, his popular Manhattan-born ramen shop and the first restaurant in his Momofuku empire. The restaurant will open on La Cienega Boulevard, just below Melrose Avenue, some time in 2019. The chef’s representatives say “the restaurant will be informed by the DNA of Noodle Bar in New York but uniquely built for Los Angeles.” The opening will be Chang’s second in L.A., following his introduction of Majordōmo to Chinatown earlier this year.
514 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, momofuku.com.
A stand-alone cocktail bar called Brandon’s is now open on weekends in the private dining room of Mid-Wilshire’s new 6th & La Brea brewpub. The reservations-only bar, which seats 30, has its own cocktail menu, but serves food from the brewpub. Brandon’s operates every Friday and Saturday night from 8 p.m.-12 a.m. and is also available for private parties.
600 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 998-8565, 6thlabrea.com/brandon-s.
Rachel Thomas, one half of the team that introduced the Must and Perch to downtown L.A., recently opened Bar Franca, a low-lighted, seductive cocktail bar on Main Street. Count on wine, beer and drinks including martinis, vieux carré and the Roald Dahl-inspired Fizzy Drifting Link with gin, Lillet Blanc, lemon, prosecco and grapefruit-chamomile honey. Happy hours runs Tuesdays through Fridays from 4-6pm.
438 S. Main St., Los Angeles, (213) 935-8515, barfranca.com.
The beachfront biergarten On the Waterfront Café has reopened under new owners and will be known as the Waterfront going forward. In addition to an attached taqueria and retail shop, it now includes a sit-down restaurant with fish and chips, burgers and $32 lobster rolls.
205 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, (424) 309-5331, thewaterfrontvenice.com.
A new lounge from the people behind the Nice Guy and Delilah, is now open on La Cienega Boulevard. The country club-inspired lounge intends to be an elevated sports bar with extravagant takes on bacon burgers, hot dogs and club sandwiches, along with cocktails, massive screens and a large outdoor patio.