This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
8 Things You Need To Know About The New Ace Downtown L.A.
Angelenos, rejoice! The Ace Hotelhas finally opened in Downtown L.A., further boosting the coolness cred of our city's CBD. And the property is a real beaut. Contributing to the Broadway and Historic Core revival, Atelier Ace has done the theater-turned-mega-church justice.
The United Artists theater was originally built in 1927 as a collaboration between film icons Mary Pickford, D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, who commissioned architect C. Howard Crane to build the Spanish Gothic theater and adjacent tower, which first served as offices for Texaco. It was then used as a congregation space for churchgoers that were part of the Los Angeles University Cathedral lead by late pastor Gene Scott.
Now the building has been restored by Atelier Ace and Commune Design to breathe fresh life into the Broadway District gem. The Texaco building has been transformed into an ultra-hip hotel with elements reflective of classic Southern California style, and the UA Theater given a few upgrades in order to serve as a concert venue and creative events space. The terracotta and plasterwork exterior of the building was stripped of decades of paint, carefully cleaned, and the iron grillwork restored.
The property started taking reservations this week, and will be rolling out more rooms over the coming months. Dinner service for the hotel's restaurant LA Chapter will begin next Thursday, but breakfast is already in full swing. There's also an outpost of Stumptown serving downstairs, offering a second location to their Arts District roasting facility and small coffee bar that opened last year. Naturally there will be a craft cocktail bar as well (also named LA Chapter). After all, DTLA is the hotbed of the cocktail revolution.
Here's what you need to know about L.A.'s latest addition:
We'll take the pillows, and reclaimed wood tables, and leather chairs, and, well, everything (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
1. You'll Want To Purchase Everything Commune Designed For Your Apartment. We had major aesthetics envy upon walking into the Broadway space. Navajo-print pillows, Hollyhock-house inspired tile work, leather lounge chairs, cow hide rugs, pendleton blankets, and vintage seltzer bottles are just a few of the pieces we picked out for our dream home. The firm also designed Farmshop, Heath Ceramics, and Oliver Peoples, which are also AIALA faves (and ours), so it's really no shocker. Seriously, you will want to Pin the entire space.
2. The Theater Will Leave You Breathless. The theater was originally designed with Mary Pickford's obsession with European castles in mind, and that's pretty evident. The Ace restored the original murals and intricate plasterwork inside the theatre, and the seats were reclaimed and reupholstered. All of the elements of Spanish Gothic architecture are here: spires, arches, and flying buttresses abound. The façades are reminiscent of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, and thousands of tiny mirrors create an eternal reflection on the vaulted ceiling. You could easily get lost for hours in all the ornate details, especially after a cocktail or two. The theater will officially open on Valentine's Day with a performance by the appropriately-chosen band Spiritualized.
Definitely no diving allowed at the wading pool at the Ace (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
3. The Pool Scene Will Not Be Like Palm Springs. The pool here is more of a glorified hot tub, and there's not much space on the rooftop for basking. The focus of the nightlife and entertainment will definitely be the grandiose theater, which is certainly large enough for one property and then some. If you're wanting time poolside, you'd be better off heading to The Standard. If your desire for sunshine doesn't require a bathing suit, the outdoor patio of LA Chapter will certainly provide all the stylish outdoor cocktailing you'll need.
Haas doodles on the walls of the Ace (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
4. The Penciled White Walls Are Not A Free-For-All. Those in fact are stencils done by the Haas brothers. The hotel is a work in progress, and they're going to be doing more illustration as the weeks pass.
Behold, the black and white of your dreams (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
5. The Salted Black And White Cookies Are Amazing. Down at Stumptown's cafe, you'll find some delicious albeit pricey coffee (granted $5 for a latte has become pretty standard these days). Spring for one of the salted black and white cookies if you can. They're slightly chewy and the sea salt is an incredible touch that'd make your favorite deli cookie jealous.
Photo by via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
6. The Religious References Are Not Because The Owners Are Jesus Freaks. As we mentioned before, the UA Theater was once operated as the Los Angeles University Cathedral under late pastor Gene Scott. That's why you'll see all sorts of religious references around the Ace, including the giant original "Jesus Saves" sign that now sits on the patio of the presidential suite.
Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist
7. There's A Record Player In Every Room And Bomb Local Snackies, Too Just like at the Ace Palm Springs, each room has a record player and some vinyl. There's also a collection at the concierge desk that guests can pick from, and eventually the hotel will offer recording equipment in case you're really feeling the mood. In terms of snacks, they've opted to steer clear of the traditional mini bar fare and stock it with L.A. artisan items like Fat Uncle Almonds, Little Flower caramels, and Dried and True beef jerky.
8. LA Chapter Isn't Open For Dinner Yet, But It'll Be Worth The Wait. Restauranteur Jud Mongell, owner of Brooklyn's Five Leaves, will be running the show at L.A. Chapter, and chef Micah Fields, of the "Top Chef" fame and formerly of The Standard, will be holding down the fort. The focus will be on seasonal, local ingredients, and instead of having some prefab music program they'll have house-curated, all-vinyl music on deck.