The actor and co-owner of spirits brand Mulholland Distilling recommends his favorite L.A. haunts for every occasion, whether pitching a project or trying to feel right at home.
HollywoodReporter.com – Hey, everybody! Goggins here. THR has asked me to try writing a series of columns highlighting some of the hippest bars and restaurants in the City of Angels. I said, “If I can do it my way.” To which they said, ”Sure … yeah … OK … we think!”
A disclaimer: I own a spirits company called Mulholland Distilling along with my partner, Matthew Alper. We have an American whiskey, a New World gin and a vodka. They’re all award-winning and delicious. We hope you pick up a bottle. Some of the places I talk about serve Mulholland spirits, and some do not. OK, let’s do this.
To pitch a project
Where do you go for that meeting that can change your life? There are a number of places I could go to get my “yes” or “no,” but nine out of 10 times, I go to that mansion on the hill — yes, Chateau Marmont. There is something about the time it takes to walk up that long driveway, past the sitting area downstairs where the “cool” people smoke, and up those two flights of steps to the hostess stand that allows me to think, “I got this. I fucking got this!” It doesn’t matter if you get a table in the garden or inside one of the most romantic rooms in our city, you have the wind of the mighty Chateau at your back. I feel like I’m standing on the shoulders of the people that have been pitching and listening to stories in this hotel (once an apartment building) for almost 90 years. I feel a part of the history of this great exchange of ideas. That goes a long way when for a moment you step into that ring of vulnerability.
I always get a salad and fries, a sparkling water and a cappuccino with whole milk. I eat, small talk, eat and small talk until my lunch is finished, sink into the sofa, relax my shoulders, exhale and begin. If you get a “yes,” great, if you get a “no,” fuck it. I’ve had and given both. Regardless of the answer, you’ve had the chance to spend an afternoon in one of the most storied places in our city, the Chateau Marmont. Or the Chateau. Or, simply, the Chat!
Whenever I want to hang with an actor buddy or a director I want to impress, I take them to Manuela in the Arts District’s Hauser & Wirth building. If you haven’t been there, trust me, you’ll say, “Wow, I never knew this was here!” It’s beautiful, with a menu that will satiate the appetite of the most discerning Angeleno. It’s inside, yet outside, and quiet. It’s just what you need to dip into a long conversation about creativity. Ask for the Pearl (named after my partner’s daughter), made with our American whiskey, summer fig, vanilla bean, lemon and mint. Wish I was drinking one right now. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
To feel right at home
Like all Angelenos, when I’ve been out of town working for a while, the thing I miss most (besides family and friends) is Mexican food. Nobody does it like Los Angeles. There are so many incredible places, but my go-to is El Compadre. It’s been in its original location on Sunset Boulevard for 45 years. I’ve been going for 20. In a world where everything is constantly changing, it’s nice to have a place that remains the same. I know everyone there — they’re like family. Nothing says, “You’re home, Goggins” like hot chips, a carne asada quesadilla and a flaming margarita!