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LA

Feature

October 28, 2020
Infatuation Staff Picks: The Spookiest Places In LA
Haunted hotels, evil coffee stands, and cursed KFCs - just in time for Halloween, we pick the scariest spots in the city

Let’s face it, LA is a spooky town. We might have sun, surf, and palm trees, but we also had Charles Manson, Black Dahlia, and Robert Durst, who is currently very much alive and living at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. So in the spirit of Halloween (and the impending full moon on Saturday), each member of the editorial staff has provided their personal picks for the spookiest places, experiences, and things in LA. Stay safe out there.

THE SPOOKY SPOTS

Old Lightning
  • Old Lightning - “Let me preface this by saying Old Lightning in Venice is one of my favorite bars in LA, and if you’re serious about your tequila and whiskey drinking, there’s simply no better spot in town (when they reopen). That said, here’s my story. About a year ago, myself and three friends were having drinks there before heading to dinner. We were a few rounds in, chatting like normal, when suddenly the energy from two of my friends completely changed. Thinking there was some sort of friend drama unfolding, one suddenly blurts out, ‘There’s a ghost presence here and it’s bad.’ I immediately roll my eyes, not taking any of it seriously, when the other friend goes, ‘No, I feel it too. We need to get out of here.’ Now I’m annoyed, because I’m assuming they just aren’t into the bar and won’t tell me. That’s when the two stools behind us - completely on their own accord - fall over and crash around the ground. To be honest, I still have no f*cking clue what that was, but I wasn’t sticking around to find out. We quickly paid our bill and left.” - Brant Cox
  • The Magic Castle - “In the beforetimes, if you spent a night roaming around The Magic Castle and didn’t see a supernatural event, you were just unlucky - or perhaps even more egregious, a non-believer. And while this members-only magicians’ club (located inside a giant, legitimately spooky Hollywood mansion) is currently closed due to COVID, they are offering Zoom magic classes, taught by an instructor from the Academy of Magical Arts, virtual magic shows, and curbside pick-up on food and cocktails.” - James Montgomery
Better times
  • The Ghost Of The Happy Foot/Sad Foot Sign - “You felt it, I felt it - when the rotating Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign in Silver Lake got taken down late last year, something changed. Suddenly, an ominous chill filled the air - one that had certainly not been there before. An evil presence subsumed LA and promised to avenge the beloved Sunset Foot Clinic sign at any cost necessary. I’m not saying its removal is what caused the 2020 global pandemic… but I’m also not not saying that.” - Kat Hong
  • Getting On The 101 At Highland And Trying To Make The Barham Exit - “You can’t convince me there isn’t a scarier stretch of highway in LA. This absolutely cursed mile-and-a-half of pavement is a well-traversed path for studio workers trying to get to Burbank, but that doesn’t make it any less blood-curdling. Essentially, you have about 90 seconds to cross five lanes of traffic (which feels more like 15) all while trying to gain speed as you head 800 ft. directly uphill. Between the potential of getting side-swiped, your engine bursting into flames, or simply passing out from the intensity of it all, the whole thing feels like a Final Fantasy cold open, so do what I (and other sane people) do, and just take Cahuenga instead.” - BC
Polaris Castillo (@Missingcosmonaut)
  • Mystyx Kafe - “If you like dark roast and the dark arts, then this is the coffee stand for you. Run by former Starbucks barista/amateur warlock Julian Filth, Mystyx is an East LA pop-up brewing a bevvy of delicious (and decidedly) evil hot and cold beverages, including Midnight Macchiatos, Nocturnal Lattes, and White Magic Whore-chatas (“Shaken with sin!”). For hours, location, and photographs like this, give them a follow on Instagram.” - JM
  • Cha Cha Lounge - “We all have our fair share of ghosts, and a high percentage of mine reside on Glendale Blvd. in Silver Lake. I’m not talking about that vegan restaurant attached to Whole Foods - I mean the Cha Cha Lounge. From nearly getting hit by a Nissan Altima outside to trying to buy Funyuns from the bar’s vending machine and getting men’s underwear instead, the majority of my early 20s were spent dealing with The Curse of The Cha Cha. Why? Well, my extremely scientific paranormal research has come up with two potential sources for the curse’s energy: 1) Cha Cha Lounge is across from the Red Lion, making it among the best double-header bar combinations in the city, and 2) the extremely strong (and cheap!) drinks. Also, DM me to find out which celebrity threatened to punch me in the face here on the Fourth Of July.” - Brett Keating
  • The KFC On Western Ave. - “Oh, the KFC on Western. Where do I even begin? Between the garish metal features, mismatched ’80s font, and the menacing, panopticon-esque head of a guillotined Colonel Sanders at the top of the building, this two-story architectural oddity looks more like an unsanctioned Banksy exhibit than a place where you’d actually try to buy food. So in a way, it’s cursed - doomed to live out the rest of its miserable life as a hideous, grotesque monster filled with buckets of fried chicken and subpar potato wedges… which, you know, same.” -KH
Jonathan Borofsky
  • Clownerina - Chances are, you’ve seen this towering hobo-clown-in-a-tutu while waiting for a table at The Rose, and you’ve no doubt thought, ‘WTF is that thing?’ Well, it’s called “Ballerina Clown,” it was created by sculptor Jonathan Borofsky, erected in 1989, and, according to The LA Times, it is ‘also a monumental image of an American dilemma.’ Funny, I just thought it was ugly.” - JM
  • Formosa Cafe - “If only for this spooky press photo, which may very well show an actual ghost behind the bar.” - JM
Nat Chard
  • The Old LA Zoo - “Every time I bring up the fact that there’s an abandoned zoo inside Griffith Park, one of my friends inevitably doesn’t believe me. So let me be crystal clear - THERE’S ABSOLUTELY AN ABANDONED ZOO INSIDE GRIFFITH PARK AND IT’S CREEPY AS SH*T. The best time to go is around dusk when all the old animal enclosures (which you can fully walk around in) start to make really weird shadows that kind of look like animals. I’ve convinced myself multiple times that I’ve seen the ghost of a lion walking around up there, and yes, I’m trying very hard not to make a Mufasa joke right now.” - BC
  • The Cecil Hotel - “OK, so technically, this hotel - opened in 1927 - was known as Stay On Main when it finally shut its doors in 2014 (don’t worry, it’s currently being turned into “a hip boutique hotel”), but that’s beside the point. All you need to know about this place’s haunted history is that, if you Google ‘LA murder hotel,’ The Cecil’s Wikipedia page is the first thing that comes up, and that said Wikipedia page contains a section titled ‘Reputation for violence and suicide’ that is several paragraphs long.” - JM
????????
  • What The Hell Is This Billboard??? - “Seriously, what the hell is this billboard on Crenshaw and Olympic Blvd? Every time I pass it, I try to decipher its deeply cursed message, but like the plot of Under the Silver Lake, the longer I look at it, the more I yearn for some morsel of meaning, the more confusing and nonsensical it becomes. ‘Text and co-own a barbershop with your ginger son whose mustache doesn’t match the rest of his hair… Just don’t text and drive?’ Who the f*ck wrote this copy? WHAT THE HELL DOES IT MEAN???????” - KH
  • That One Car On The LA Metro E-Line Where I Cried Everyday For, Like, Half A Year - “I was fresh out of college, had no money to speak of, and had yet to buy a car (hence the riding of the E-Line). I was commuting from my tiny apartment in Historic Filipinotown to downtown Santa Monica every day, where I would then work for ten hours (minimum). My adult acne was worse than ever, I had just started paying back my student loans, and on top of all of that, my college boyfriend broke up with me. So yeah, I was crying. Legend has it that that tear-stained car on the E-Line still haunts anyone with a four-year degree stuck doing ‘Client Services.’” - KH
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