The starting point for any excursion into British Los Angeles has to be good old Paddington's Tea Room. This charming Brit-owned lunch and tea spot is one of my favorites. It’s a lovely little authentically English tea house that offers traditional five-course high tea ($39) with scones, clotted cream, assorted finger sandwiches and all. A three-course afternoon tea is also available for $29.
355 S. Robertson Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
British Celebrity Chefs
There was a time when the mention of British cooking left a sour taste in people's mouths. But the era of the gastropub has seen American chefs like Casey Lane (The Parish) slaving over hot stoves in efforts to re-create authentic British pub cooking for LA eaters.
British celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver have left their indelible marks on Los Angeles as well. Ramsay's name is forever emblazoned on his restaurants at The London hotel in West Hollywood (although he's apparently no longer affiliated with it anymore).
Sur La Table even offers a 'Great Food Inspired by Jamie Oliver' cooking class in LA.
In April and May, Angelenos get a real boost of UK power when BritWeek launches its festivities. In its seventh year as of 2013, the annual spectacle shines the spotlight on British creativity and innovation in California. Each year, thousands attend BritWeek's art, entertainment, culture, business, social and charity events around LA (Orange County and San Francisco). Beginning in 2013, an affiliated UK Music Festival was even added to the mix, with shows taking place at venues like The Echo, Echoplex and Spaceland.
The world recently celebrated 50 years since the 'birth of The Beatles.' But the 'fab four' are always in style, especially to fans of LA's rock n' roll history like Gillian Lomax who hosts the Beatles Magical History Tours. "Most people don't associate Los Angeles with The Beatles, but in fact they've had a personal connection with our city since 1964," says Lomax, who was raised near Liverpool. The unique tour starts in Santa Monica and ends in Hollywood, visiting the British pop band's choice LA haunts in-between.
Banksy's Artwork in LA
Infamous and anonymous British street artist Banksy is no stranger to Los Angeles. His 2006 installation 'Barely Legal' brought out the celebs, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. His movie premiere party for Exit Through the Gift Shop was also quite the spectacular gala. However, beyond these amazing parties, apparently, the Bristol, England creator tried to leave a permanent mark on the city with his 'This Looks a Bit Like an Elephant' piece of graffiti art on PCH (between Temescal Canyon and Chautauqua). Unfortunately some ignoramus, thinking it was just 'cheap scribbling,' got rid of it (note: Banksy's work starts at about $100,000 on the auction block).
From the late great Alexander McQueen to Stella McCartney, British fashion has influenced LA style for the better. But Angelenos needn't wait until the next Brit boutique opens up to get with the program. Thanks to the British Fashion Council's London Show Rooms series, we can get a taste of the next Stellas and McQueens through mobile pop-up showrooms in Los Angeles. The Council is sending some UK designers to LA in October 2013 to showcase their wares at ACE Beverly Hills; stay tuned for other upcoming local events.
The BAFTA awards are world-famous. But, perhaps not as high-profile, are the movie screenings that the LA branch of the organization hosts. These special events are open to members. In addition to voting memberships, they also offer Associate (Professional) Memberships for people working in the film industry.
If you're lucky enough to be a member or get invited to an event at Soho House, the experience affords a privy glimpse inside the exclusive world of the cool British media elite. Founded in 1995 in London, the private members club--whose LA branch is in West Hollywood--also boasts clubhouses in Miami, New York and Berlin.