Even though he didn’t take it quite so seriously in his younger years, Ben Diamond’s calling was always in music. Sure he played in a few high school bands, but it wasn’t until he published a five track EP on Bandcamp in 2012 that he was truly noticed.
After catching the attention of underground UK hip hop star Dirty Dike, Ben was contacted by producer Nicholas “Aqua” McCarrell, best known for his work on Jay-Z’s The Black Album. He immediately flew Ben out to Los Angeles where they wrote and recorded The Diamond LP, released on Bandcamp in January of this year.
We are loving Ben’s fresh sound, a poppy Brit hip hop that just makes us want to dance. While he was working the album in L.A., Ben had a chance to explore the city from top to bottom. So he filled us in on his favorite places to bring a date, have a lunch meeting, hear live music and more. Check out his mini city guide below and don’t forget to check out The Diamond LP on Bandcamp.
Best first date spot: Blue Heights
If you really want to have the perfect first night out in Los Angeles, then take your date to Blue Heights in the Hollywood Hills. You reach the top and see a breath-taking view of the entire city, it’s amazing. Get out of your car, sit on a bench and take it in.
Best restaurant to take mom and dad when they’re in town: Belvedere at The Peninsula Beverly Hills
The best place to take them for a really awesome American food is The Belvedere. The ambiance is elegant and it’s nice to dress up when you go.
Best place to work over coffee: Poolside at the Mondrian Hotel
The pool deck at Mondrian is a perfect place to work because it’s not too hectic and the view is inspiring when you need a break. Not to mention it’s right in the heart of West Hollywood, one of my favourite places to be in L.A.
Best brunch: AXE on Abbot Kinney
Axe on Abbot Kinney is a great place to grab brunch because it’s right in Venice. The food is always amazing – specifically the flat top fried potatoes – and the environment is mega cool.
Best lunch meeting spot: Joan’s on Third
Two words: the sandwiches
Best place for a night out with the boys: The Writer’s Room
The Writer’s Room is a very chilled out lounge with great music. It’s hard to find, so it’s never too crowded. I actually had the pleasure of performing there a few months ago.
Best place to shop if you need to dress to impress: Left House on Abbot Kinney
My friend Tini Courtney – jewelery designer, H.O.W.L. – teamed with Westbrook Maker, M. Cohen and Kapital to create this unique shopping experience where you can pick up awesome, one-of-a-kind clothing. I normally just wear jeans, but occasionally I do like to make an effort.
Best beach to relax: Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier is a really fun place to spend a day at the beach because it’s always sunny, there’s an eclectic mix of people and there are a ton of great restaurants surrounding the beach. Coming from the UK, it’s great to just be in the sunshine and not wearing a raincoat!
Best venue to see your favourite band – Staples Center or House of Blues
Staples Centre is a given, all the best bands play there when they come to L.A. The House of Blues is a classic venue with so much history. Many of my favourite artists have played there, and they always have an incredible, eclectic mix of artists on the line-up.
Best hotel for the stylish traveller: Petit Ermitage
For the stylish traveller, there is only one option: Petit Ermitage. It’s a boutique hotel in West Hollywood with great service. The best part: the private rooftop club.
Best restaurant to see and be seen: Gjelina
If you want to see and be seen you have to go to Gjelina. It’s one of the most popular places in Venice and open until midnight, great if you need a late night snack like I always do. Oh, and the food is amazing!
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