Alive at the D!ve
Necessity is the mother of (re)invention, especially when it comes to LA nightlife, and one of our favorite coffeehouses has taken that to heart.
Highland Grounds was always the cool neighborhood hang, a perfect place to meet for a caffeine fix and hangover brunch after a night of hard partying.
Now it's the place where you actually do the partying too.
Re-christened The D!ve just a few weeks ago, the place has a new look, new menu, an alchemic array of libations and most importantly, a fresh attitude.
Thursday night, owners Rich and Leslie Brenner and partner Sara Gregory marked the place's re-birth with a drink and grub-filled party, attracting Hollywood locals and food-lovin' friends from throughout the city. (The Brenners are also co-owners of uber-popular eateries Hugos in WeHo and Studio City).
Though HG was known for its live music nights, The D!ve has done away with all of it. I saw some great shows there over the years, but Brenner says it had gotten stale- and I don't think he was talking just about the bands either.
The D!ve may have a dark and sumptuous new look and better eats and booze galore, but the one thing about this space that hasn't changed is the relaxed feeling you get as soon as you walk in. Yes it's been totally revamped –and renamed- but it's no Sam Nazarian velvet-rope trap and it never will be.
When I lived off of Melrose, I'd go HG a couple of times a week. I loved the breezy outdoor patio, and would often do interviews there. Thankfully, they didn't change that area and Thursday that's where I found myself chompin' (cornbread, chili, calamari and pizzas from their wood-burning oven) and chattin' up familiar faces from back when I was regular. There were plenty of new faces as well, and everyone seemed to mesh quite naturally. If Cheers was set in Hollywood, it would've felt something this.
And if you're more into caffeine than cocktails, don't fret, the coffee is still as strong as the alkeehol, and breakfast and lunch time is still chill. The Grounds may be dead, but as The D!ve, its seems to have found a new way to thrive.