This Kelly Wearstler–Designed Cocktail Bar Boasts an Enviable Art Collection
With additions like Hauser + Wirth and the Ace hotel, downtown Los Angeles long ago ascended from commercial wasteland to must-visit destination. But this status was perhaps fully cemented when the Proper hotel chain opened its Kelly Wearstler–designed property in the neighborhood in October 2021. Her fourth hotel for the brand — and her second in LA, following the Santa Monica Proper, with its epic and oft-Instagrammed chair porn lobby — the hotel occupies a 1920s building that at one time served as a YWCA. Following a total overhaul into a 147-room hotel, the designer has now added an intimate cocktail bar, called Dahlia, to its offering. And, whoo, it’s a stunner.
Helmed by James Beard award winner Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne, Dahlia serves classic cocktails mixed using rare and small-batch liquors, as well as zero-proof alternatives and a menu of light bites. Drinks are created or finished table-side from a cocktail cart, with a “cart tender” on-hand to explain exactly what you’re drinking. For the interior, Wearstler called upon the same Spanish, Mexican, and Moroccan influences found throughout the rest of the hotel to create a space that feels part of the building’s history. “It feels like it has been there for ages,” says Wearstler. “The saturated hues and dramatic lighting will make everyone look fantastic, whether they are on a date or out with friends. This is the kind of space where you can entirely lose track of time.”
Guests are greeted by custom stained glass doors by storied LA-based glassworkers Judson Studios, then arrive into a compact room awash with terracotta and pink hues through plaster and tilework. What really brings the space to life, though, is the selection of vintage and contemporary artworks that cover the walls. The boldly patterned paintings and relief sculptures sit perfectly alongside the various prints across the seating upholstery and cushions. Highlights from the curation include ceramic mirrors by Mithe Espelt, a large-scale work by Lou Fink, and a sand-and-gesso piece by Jonathan Todryk. Let’s not forget the custom-designed credenza by local artist Mike Anderson, and the pair of volumetric silk ceiling fixtures by design company Ruemmler. Call the cart tender over, we’ll be here a while!