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LA's Best Musical Brunches

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A Bloody Mary at brunch at The Federal in NoHo. (AJ Feuerman for LAist)
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You've got friends and/or family in town. You need to do something fun with them. Or maybe you just want to kick your weekend into a higher gear. You're in luck. In almost any Los Angeles neighborhood, you could spit and hit a stellar brunch spot. Some have set themselves apart by offering live music — jazz, pop, house music, gospel, lip-synching drag queens — making the popular meal as much of an auditory experience as a gustatory one.

Federal Bar

The two locations offer different music. In Long Beach, you'll find the "Sweet and Savory Burlesque Brunch" ($35 per person). It includes an entrée (try the smoked salmon toast), a bottomless mimosa and a live burlesque performer. In North Hollywood, DJ Gary Calamar hosts his "Mimosa Music Series." $20 will get you an entrée and a bottomless mimosa while you enjoy tunes from special guests like Lisa Loeb and Cayucas. Don't forget to order the banana bread, which comes with a side of caramel butter.

  • 102 Pine Ave., Long Beach, 562-435-2000.5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 818-980-2555.
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Ingo's Tasty Diner

Imagine the classic diner gone upscale with help from a farm-to-table menu and fancy cocktails like the Frog Town (Rittenhouse Rye, China China, Aperol, lemon, served up) and the Sunday's Best (cold-brewed iced-coffee, Ballast Point horchata vodka and milk). On Sundays, listen to the swinging sounds of the Ray Mehlbaum Jazz Quartet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu is extensive and the food is delicious. (We're always torn between the salmon toast and the French toast.) The whole experience is a fun throwback to the 1940s and '50s, when jazz wasn't just another music genre, it was a cultural phenomenon. Trust the regulars and buy a couple of their cookies to take with you.

  • 1213 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-395-4646.
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House of Blues

RIP House of Blues on Sunset Blvd. but you can still go to their Anaheim location to experience the famous Gospel Brunch. The all-you-can eat buffet includes made-to-order omelets and a carving station with brisket and prime rib. You can also enjoy Southern specialties such as jambalaya and biscuits with gravy. If you find yourself filled with the spirit (or spirits, if you imbibe) you might end up on stage, waving a napkin and dancing off your dessert. It's all about the over-the-top fun. Tickets must be purchased in advance and it's a great activity for big groups. Dress like you're heading to church.

  • 400 Disney Way, Downtown Disney, 714-778-2583.
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Idle Hour

This one's for the late starters. If you can get yourself out of bed by 1 p.m., you can still enjoy some live music during brunch at this bar built tolook like a ginormous barrel. Owned by the 1933 Group (which is also responsible for Highland Park Bowl, Formosa Café, Harlowe), the local hot spot gets crowded, so bring your pocketbook and your patience. It's totally worth it for the terrific ambience, friendly staff and dishes like the cheesy grits, the shakshouka and the fried chicken and waffles. If you meet bartender Joe, feel free to discuss Shakespeare.

  • 4824 Vineland Ave., North Hollywood, 818-980-5604.
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Lil Simmzy's

Lil Simmzy's doesn't offer a traditional brunch menu, it serves items like grilled shrimp tacos or the bacon blue cheese burger, but it does open at 11 a.m. The South Bay weather is amazing so enjoy the "soulful beach grooves" of guitarist Evyn Charles or another local performer. They perform on the spacious patio from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The extensive selection of beers on tap changes all the time socheck online to see what's being poured.

  • 850 S. Sepulveda Blvd., The Point in El Segundo, 424-277-0283.
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Little Easy

ThisSouthern-themed watering hole inside the historic Alexandria Hotel boasts an indoor courtyard, a working fountain, a porch swing, a large bar and a stage for live music performances and DJ sets. While you're getting tipsy on Hurricanes and enjoying biscuits and gravy or the Napoleon Des Oeufs (braised short ribs with gravy, eggs and home fries), you might feel like you're in the French Quarter. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can add champagne bottle service for $25 as you enjoy musicians like Roderick Chambers, The Po Bois and Livestring. Street parking is a nightmare in DTLA so keep an eye out for spots in the public and paid lots.

  • 216 W. 5th St., Downtown L.A., 213-628-3113.

Rockwell Table & Stage

Popular for its multiple "unauthorized parody" musical shows, Rockwell lets patronschoose between experiences. There's an indoor Baroque-inspired, supper club or a relaxed, bi-level, open-air patio. TV personality Ross Matthews recently began hosting drag brunches here, every Saturday at 1 p.m., starring contenders from RuPaul's Drag Race. Your $20 to $35 ticket includes a mimosa as soon as you step through the door. Participating in the "lip sync for your drink" contest is optional although the winner gets a free cocktail.

  • 1714 Vermont Ave., Los Feliz Village, 323-669-1550.
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Performers at brunch at Montrésor in Studio City. (AJ Feuerman for LAist)

Montrésor

A fairly new arrival to Ventura Blvd., Montrésor ("my treasure") is a French-inspired, shabby-chic bistro. The menu by chef Paul Shoemaker (of French Laundry and Providence) is influenced by seasonal and local ingredients. Don't leave without trying the gougères, a savory, cheesy pastry. Brunch is a charming experience, with a guitarist and violinist playing classical and French jazz on the tight patio. The music is streamed indoors as well.

  • 11266 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-760-7081.

Rage

Reservations are recommended for Rage's popular Sunday drag brunch, hosted by April Showers. Seating starts at noon and showtime is 1 p.m. It's a casual and celebratory atmosphere with an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring standards like eggs, fruit and toast as well as handcrafted mimosas and other drink specials. The brunch bash segues nicely into their Sunday evening festivities, which includes (what else?) go-go dancers.

  • 8911 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo, 310-652-7055.

Wilshire Restaurant

Brunch starts at 10 a.m. at this lovely local hangout where a bottomless mimosa, Bloody Mary or margarita costs $19. Their puddings are popular, both the savory Yorkshire and the sweet sticky toffee. The centerpiece is the Sunday roast — roast salmon, roast beef or roast chicken — with all the trimmings. That includes brussels sprouts, carrots, peas, roast potatoes, cauliflower and cheese and gravy. The live soundtrack is provided by a guitarist playing covers of popular tunes. Reservations are a must.

  • 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-586-1707.

No Jealousy

Ain't no brunch party like a No Jealousy brunch party. Their weekly spectacle combines traditional brunch offerings such as eggs benedict with more unique items like Nutella brioche French Toast and salmon tartine with Petrossian caviar. They have an insane collection of champagnes served by the glass and with bottle service as well as in humongous punchbowls. Staffers dressed as superheroes, showgirls or royalty might bring you your booze in a baby bottle while a DJ spins Top 40 and house music. It's not just a meal, it's a full-on dance party. Come to eat and stay to burn off the calories because this is not for those who want to chill out.

  • 1638 N. Las Palmas, Hollywood, 818-385-5381.
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PIPS on La Brea

Jazz is paired with Italian food at a $39 buffet of appetizers, salads, a pasta bar, pizzas and breakfast items as well as bottomless glasses of champagne and sangria. Saxophonist Cal Bennett entertains every Sunday with sets between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. He has played and recorded with Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Isaac Hayes, George Clinton and Donna Summer, among many others.

  • 1356 La Brea Ave., mid-city, 323-954-7477.
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The Smoke House

You might recognize this 72-year-old restaurant, famous for its cheese bread, from La La Land — or tons of other movies and TV shows. The old school steakhouse dates back to 1946 and still packs 'em in for bottomless mimosas and crab legs on Sunday mornings. The buffet is vast so if you're craving something, chances are they have a station for it — Belgian waffles, eggs benedict, omelets, crepes, sausage and bacon. Live music that recalls the Rat Pack days can be enjoyed on the patio. Brunch costs $34.95 per adult or $17.95 for child between 6 and 11 but if you come between 9 and 10 a.m., they'll discount your bill by $6.

  • 4420 Lakeside Dr., Burbank, 818-845-3731.

Perch

This French-inspired brunch sets itself apart thanks to the view — it's located at the top of a 15-story, DTLA high-rise. Brunch starts at 10 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m. Every Sunday, singer/songwriter Jesse Palter dishes out jazz tunes and soulful covers that make it hard to believe she wasn't teleported from the 1930s.

  • 448 S. Hill St., Downtown LA, 213-802-1770.

Sky's Gourmet Tacos

Maybe you don't think of jazz when you think of tacos but consider Sky's "Mexican, with a Splash of Soul" jazz brunch. On several Saturdays (call to double check), a jazz trio plays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. while you indulge in their price fix menu. It includes a huge platter of shrimp, salmon, steak, carnitas, potato or chicken tacos along with guacamole, chips and a glass of fresh lemonade or a soda. For dessert? A slice of caramel or regular cheesecake. Reservations required.

  • 5303 W. Pico Blvd., Pico-Fairfax. 323-932-6253.

Sur

Even if you don't recognize Sur from its time in the spotlight on Vanderpump Rules, you may appreciate the Swedish margarita bowl ($50), meant for six people, or the numerous craft cocktails and champagnes. Popular DJs like the EC Twins and James Kennedy bring the beats and extend the daytime party into the night. On special occasions, like before a major awards show, they'll offer bottle service (although it requires a reservation). The best place to stay up on such things is their Instagram feed.

  • 606 N. Robertson Blvd., WeHo, 310-289-2824.

El Cid

Foodies & Boobies, presented by Cherry Poppin Productions, takes over Silver Lake restaurant El Cid one Sunday a month from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Watch Lili St. Byr and Ginger Lee Belle perform their sexy, food-themed burlesque show. The brunch menu, from Chef Jason Fullilove, features chicken and ham croquettes in a Béchamel sauce and lamb meatballs with harissa and tamarind yogurt. Tickets cost $10 - $25 (not including service fee).

  • 4212 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, 323-668-0318.
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