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Eric Chan

Where to Eat and Drink Near the STAPLES Center

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This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

In the 18 years since LA’s iconic STAPLES Center first opened, it’s hosted everything from the 2000 Democratic Convention to Michael Jackson’s memorial service. But perhaps most importantly, it’s home to not one, but four incredible sports teams, including two rival NBA franchises. While there’s almost nothing better than watching the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers battle it out on home turf, the 2018 NBA All-Star Game promises to be the hottest ticket of the season.

While you definitely won’t starve or go thirsty if you decide to stick near the action at the arena (more on that shortly), there are also plenty of tasty options in the area that are close enough to make sure you don’t miss the jump.

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1. LudoBird

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1111 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 742-7100
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It might be tucked inside a sports arena, but LudoBird isn’t your average fried chicken stand. Helmed by local legend Ludo Lefebvre, this gourmet counter serves up all-star flavors. Hopefully you love carbs, because there are plenty stuffed inside honey lavender biscuits, brioche-encased “sweet and salty” ice cream sandwiches, and Ludo’s popular buttermilk Provençal chicken sandwiches.

2. WP24 by Wolfgang Puck

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900 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 743-8800
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Elevate your pregame (literally) by heading up to WP24 by Wolfgang Puck, located on the 24th floor of the nearby Ritz-Carlton. This lofty eatery dishes out gourmet Chinese food along with five-star views of the sparkling LA skyline. No time for dinner? Grab a cocktail (and those same views) at its in-house lounge, Nest.

3. Katsuya L.A. LIVE

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800 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 747-9797
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As much an institution as it is a restaurant, the L.A. LIVE outpost of Chef Katsuya Uechi’s popular high-end Japanese franchise delivers all the favorites: crispy rice with spicy tuna, creamy rock shrimp, baked crab hand rolls, and miso-marinated black cod. Of course, you could just save yourself the trouble and order the entire tasting menu to cover your bases.

4. Caña Rum Bar

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714 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 745-7709
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Keep an eye on your watch if you slip into the Caña Rum Bar, because it’s easy to lose track of time at this atmospheric cocktail club. Yes, there’s a membership fee ($20 per year), but along with that comes access for guests, a cigar-friendly patio, frequent live music, and over 250 kinds of rum.

5. Broken Spanish

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1050 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 749-1460
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Chef Ray Garcia shows his award-winning chops at this bright, modernist love letter to Mexican cooking. Come for the tortillas (they’re so good they occupy their own menu real estate), stay for the otherworldly carnitas, transcendent chicharrón, and impressive mezcal list. Bonus? There’s a taco stand version, B.S. Taqueria, right inside the STAPLES Center to satisfy any halftime churro cravings.

6. BottleRock

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1050 S Flower St #167
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 747-1100
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This combination wine bar, eclectic eatery, and retail space offers the only kind of “Rush Hour” that won’t make Angelenos cringe, since it’s their cheeky term for a very wallet-friendly happy hour. Of course, there’s plenty of wine available no matter what time of day you drop by, whether by glass, flight, or bottle, but there’s also a generous draft beer selection for the vino-averse.

7. barcito

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403 W 12th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 415-1821
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Any place that hosts not one, but two happy hours earns high marks in our book. At this Argentinean restaurant, the more traditional “Apertivo Hour” pairs cocktails with a small trio of bar snacks; “Digestivo Hour,” offered during the last hour of service, replaces the salty delights with a trio of desserts. Pro tip: Save room for the food, a collection of sharing plates you won’t actually want to share.

8. The Original Pantry Cafe

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877 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 972-9279
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The Original Pantry Cafe is equal parts 24-hour coffee shop, old-school diner, and cultural institution (it’s been around for 94 years and is owned by former LA Mayor Richard Riordan). This probably isn’t the restaurant you’d hit before the game, but it’s the best place to go after to soak up all that celebratory beer with pancakes and hashbrowns. There’s usually a line after big events, but it’s worth the wait.

9. Casa Nostra Ristorante & Bar

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825 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 362-3311
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Located right next door to The Original Pantry Cafe, this classic dinner spot offers a study in contrasts with its sleek dining room and upscale, hearty dishes representing Italy’s legendary culinary diversity. If you’re not in the mood to carbo-load before the game, the bar offers a somewhat famous half-off happy hour that seems to last forever.

10. Faith & Flower

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705 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 239-0642
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Pure ambiance is the name of the game at this ornate, whimsical “Californian rustic” restaurant, which manages to feel intimate despite its impressive spaciousness. The attention to detail also translates to the edible side of things, where Golden State ingredients are honored in playful ways, right down to the drink names — Spark of Madness, anyone?

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

1. LudoBird

1111 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

It might be tucked inside a sports arena, but LudoBird isn’t your average fried chicken stand. Helmed by local legend Ludo Lefebvre, this gourmet counter serves up all-star flavors. Hopefully you love carbs, because there are plenty stuffed inside honey lavender biscuits, brioche-encased “sweet and salty” ice cream sandwiches, and Ludo’s popular buttermilk Provençal chicken sandwiches.

1111 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

2. WP24 by Wolfgang Puck

900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Elevate your pregame (literally) by heading up to WP24 by Wolfgang Puck, located on the 24th floor of the nearby Ritz-Carlton. This lofty eatery dishes out gourmet Chinese food along with five-star views of the sparkling LA skyline. No time for dinner? Grab a cocktail (and those same views) at its in-house lounge, Nest.

900 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015

3. Katsuya L.A. LIVE

800 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

As much an institution as it is a restaurant, the L.A. LIVE outpost of Chef Katsuya Uechi’s popular high-end Japanese franchise delivers all the favorites: crispy rice with spicy tuna, creamy rock shrimp, baked crab hand rolls, and miso-marinated black cod. Of course, you could just save yourself the trouble and order the entire tasting menu to cover your bases.

800 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015

4. Caña Rum Bar

714 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Keep an eye on your watch if you slip into the Caña Rum Bar, because it’s easy to lose track of time at this atmospheric cocktail club. Yes, there’s a membership fee ($20 per year), but along with that comes access for guests, a cigar-friendly patio, frequent live music, and over 250 kinds of rum.

714 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015

5. Broken Spanish

1050 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Chef Ray Garcia shows his award-winning chops at this bright, modernist love letter to Mexican cooking. Come for the tortillas (they’re so good they occupy their own menu real estate), stay for the otherworldly carnitas, transcendent chicharrón, and impressive mezcal list. Bonus? There’s a taco stand version, B.S. Taqueria, right inside the STAPLES Center to satisfy any halftime churro cravings.

1050 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

6. BottleRock

1050 S Flower St #167, Los Angeles, CA 90015

This combination wine bar, eclectic eatery, and retail space offers the only kind of “Rush Hour” that won’t make Angelenos cringe, since it’s their cheeky term for a very wallet-friendly happy hour. Of course, there’s plenty of wine available no matter what time of day you drop by, whether by glass, flight, or bottle, but there’s also a generous draft beer selection for the vino-averse.

1050 S Flower St #167
Los Angeles, CA 90015

7. barcito

403 W 12th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Any place that hosts not one, but two happy hours earns high marks in our book. At this Argentinean restaurant, the more traditional “Apertivo Hour” pairs cocktails with a small trio of bar snacks; “Digestivo Hour,” offered during the last hour of service, replaces the salty delights with a trio of desserts. Pro tip: Save room for the food, a collection of sharing plates you won’t actually want to share.

403 W 12th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

8. The Original Pantry Cafe

877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

The Original Pantry Cafe is equal parts 24-hour coffee shop, old-school diner, and cultural institution (it’s been around for 94 years and is owned by former LA Mayor Richard Riordan). This probably isn’t the restaurant you’d hit before the game, but it’s the best place to go after to soak up all that celebratory beer with pancakes and hashbrowns. There’s usually a line after big events, but it’s worth the wait.

877 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90017

9. Casa Nostra Ristorante & Bar

825 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Located right next door to The Original Pantry Cafe, this classic dinner spot offers a study in contrasts with its sleek dining room and upscale, hearty dishes representing Italy’s legendary culinary diversity. If you’re not in the mood to carbo-load before the game, the bar offers a somewhat famous half-off happy hour that seems to last forever.

825 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90017

10. Faith & Flower

705 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Pure ambiance is the name of the game at this ornate, whimsical “Californian rustic” restaurant, which manages to feel intimate despite its impressive spaciousness. The attention to detail also translates to the edible side of things, where Golden State ingredients are honored in playful ways, right down to the drink names — Spark of Madness, anyone?

705 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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