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Endless Summer Ultimate Surf Package, Laguna Beach, California

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, April 19 02:12 PM

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The Pacific Edge Hotel's new Endless Summer Ultimate Surf Package channels the spirit of the seminal 1960s travel and surf documentary by pairing you up with one of its stars, Robert August (pictured back in the day, far right), for a one-on-one day of surfing, searching out perfect breaks along SoCal's storied coast.

It don't matter if you're grom, random stander, or bona fide railer, you'll also get a place to crash overlooking Laguna Beach in the 129-room, brightly painted boutique property. Also provided: Endless Summer swag, including a six-pack of lager and a DVD box set. Plus, after a day in the waves, you're invited to chillax with August and his surfer son Sam over sundowners and appetizers on the beach. Righteous!

Photo: Courtesy of Pacific Edge Hotel

Beacher's Madhouse, Los Angeles

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, April 08 03:55 PM

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Beacher's Madhouse, a 1920s-style cabaret in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, is the most over-the-top bar to open in Los Angeles in years (and this is not a city known for subtlety).

Let us show you to your seat--it's just past the sexy librarian, through a trick bookcase wall, and inside a giant golden birdcage. Order at the Midget Bar (we don't make the names, it's labeled that way in neon), where a little person will make you mini cocktails in mini glasses. Looking for table service? A waiter flying through the air on a pulley system delivers the drinks. And don't get us started on the madcap cast of contortionists, monkeys, and mini Lady Gagas onstage. Oh, and half-naked ladies, too. This is L.A., after all.

Photo: Courtesy of Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Wood & Vine, Los Angeles

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, March 17 06:35 PM

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Today, your average American is gearing up to throw back a green beer (or four) in honor of St. Patrick's Day. But when it comes to drinking, you've always been above average. So we suggest that you celebrate like the real Irish do, with serious alcohol and people who know how to drink it.

Sure, the new Wood & Vine in Hollywood isn't an Irish bar, but that's exactly its selling point on this most green of days. Instead of elbowing through the amateur masses, you can sip one of the bar's small-batch whiskeys from the comfort of a buttery leather armchair. And you can't help but find the craic among the pretty people who flock here for truffled duck-fat fries. Good food, good friends, good drink. Just as St. Patty would have wanted it.

Photo: Courtesy of Wood & Vine

Ray's and Stark Bar, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, March 11 07:17 PM

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Los Angeles
has its fair share of beautiful people. So it makes sense that one of the city's top museums would want to put that beauty on display. Enter Ray's and Stark Bar, the newest addition to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, named for Ray Stark, the late film producer and former LACMA trustee.

Ray's glass-box design, by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, makes people the exhibit. Outside, museumgoers observe diners noshing on seasonal Mediterranean fare prepared by chef Kris Morningstar (formerly of District and Mercantile). Inside, diners survey museumgoers frolicking in Chris Burden's famous lamp-post installation, Urban Light. The open-air Stark Bar offers similar people-watching opportunities as well as market-fresh cocktails. Just don't overdo it and make an exhibition of yourself.

Photo: Courtesy of Dustin Downing

Railroad Revival Tour, Southwestern United States

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, March 09 06:56 PM

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This April, rock will roll into six southwestern towns courtesy of the Railroad Revival Tour. Indie darlings Mumford & Sons (pictured), Old Crow Medicine Show, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros are taking over a 1,500-foot-long train comprised of 1950s and '60s railcars. They'll eat, sleep, and record on board as they chug across the American Southwest, playing outdoor concerts along the way.

Tickets go on sale today for music fans who want to catch the show when the train stops at an Airstream trailer campground in Marfa, Texas; a railway museum in Chandler, Ariz.; and additional spots in Oakland and San Pedro, Calif.; Austin, Texas; and New Orleans. Great tunes in the great outdoors? That's something we can always get onboard with.

Railroad Revival Tour, April 21-27, 2011; tickets, $55

Photo: Courtesy of Rebecca Miller

Aburiya Toranoko, Los Angeles

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, January 20 11:42 AM

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Here are two words for those of you who are guilty of ordering the same old dish at the same old restaurant month after month: Aburiya Toranoko. Go there, order the shiokara-marinated intestines, and open your palate to a whole new set of sensations. Good ones, we hasten to add.

Aburiya Toranoko, opening tomorrow in downtown L.A.'s Little Tokyo, is the latest offering from Michael Cardenas, who also owns the Lazy Ox Canteen next door. Alongside those intestines, you might also like the miso-marinated beef tongue. But don't worry, there are plenty of play-it-safe dishes on the menu, too, from sumiyaki to sushi--all expertly created by former Nobu Matsuhisa chefs.

As you'd expect from an izakaya cocktail bar, the menu includes an extensive sake selection as well as plum wine, Japanese beers, and cocktails with an Asian twist-- surefire ways to guarantee you won't chicken out.

Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Daniels

 

The House of Shields, San Francisco

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, December 29 05:09 PM

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So what if this beautiful old bar in downtown San Francisco doesn't have a clock (or a TV) to help count down the last seconds of 2010? We're hoping it means there won't be a last call, either.

The House of Shields has been around for a while--over 100 years, in fact. But it has just reopened after a renovation that's added some extra polish to the wood-paneled walls and brass statues and stripped the floor back to the original tile mosaic. Owner and chef, Dennis Leary, also runs Canteen restaurant and the much-loved Sentinel sandwich shop next door, so expect some quality eats soon, too.

Grab one of the spruced-up wooden booths for you and your posse to toast 2011...just make sure one of you wears a watch.

Our Favorite Hotel Skating Rinks

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, December 27 05:15 PM

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The Standard NYC

Sitting at street level in New York City's Meatpacking District, the Standard's winter wonderland (pictured) is a good spot for people-watching both on and off the ice (note the sexy staff clad in custom Roxy snowsuits). Blade runners can refuel with cheese fondue and tempura onion rings. But go easy on the spiked hot chocolate, or the only thing you'll be putting on ice is your behind.

Open through winter. Tickets $12, skate rental $3.

Hotel del Coronado
Forget frozen fingers and tingly toes. At the Hotel del Coronado, in San Diego, you can practice your figure eights and work on your tan. The palm treeringed rink overlooks the Pacific, and a portion of the proceeds from each two- or three-hour skating session goes to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Open through January 2. Three-hour session: $20 for adults, $15 for kids. Two-hour session: $15 for adults, $10 for kids. Skate rental: $5.

St. Regis Atlanta
Tented in billowing white fabric and illuminated by twinkling fairy lights, the St. Regis Atlanta's rink is the place to go to win you serious romance points. Afterward, cozy up for hot chocolate and s'mores around the outdoor fireplaces or head upstairs for free leg and foot massages at the spa.

Open through January 3. One-hour session: $30 for adults, $18 for kids.

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Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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