Highlands Park is now seeing an influx of younger people. Cool bars, restaurants and shops have followed. Picture: KCET.

For many years, Highland Park in Los Angeles was a relatively unknown and quiet residential part of town. The last few years, however, tell a different story: 20 and 30 somethings, lured by the neighborhood’s affordable rents and proximity to downtown Los Angeles, have moved in and are giving local entrepreneurs the incentive to open restaurants, bars and fashionable boutiques. Much of the rebirth is happening on Figueroa Street, now a vibrant thoroughfare full of pedestrians.

Here are places to see:

Highland Park Bowl

A bar, restaurant and bowling alley all in one space: Originally a popular bowling alley dating back to 1927, this sprawling space was a punk rock music venue until a local hospitality company, 1933 Group, took it over and restored it to its former glory with the original bowling lanes, candy machines and placards. There’s also a Neapolitan pizza restaurant and four bars.

Cafe Birdie

In 2016, a former clothing store became a Mediterranean restaurant serving refined dishes in a laid-back setting of high vaulted ceilings, copper tables and a long white marble bar. Renata Rokicki, the executive chef, aims to create approachable dishes using seasonal ingredients such as Moroccan-spiced fried chicken and a house sauces such as sambal ranch.

The Quiet Life

Opened in late 2015, this airy men’s store with high ceilings and exposed brick walls is the place to peruse items from the eponymous brand. A team of four designers turn out the beanie hats, woven button-down shirts, jersey T-shirts and other pieces from an atelier inside the store. The attire is sometimes simple, sometimes edgy but always comfortable and meant for everyday wear.

Sonomama

This long, minimalist boutique, opened in late 2016, sells one-of-a kind Japanese-inspired items. Among the finds are elegant ceramic tea ware, singing bowls traditionally used in meditation, art objects like handmade ceramic Buddhas, meditation stones and casual clothing spun with organic cotton and linens.

Source: The New York Times