clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A woman in a shimmering suit sits on a ring extended down from the ceiling, as a spotlight hits her inside worldly new cocktail bar Mr. Wanderlust in Los Angeles.
An aerialist welcomes customers to Mr. Wanderlust in Downtown LA.
Michael Kleinberg

Filed under:

Dancers, Drinks, and Caviar Collide at LA’s Wildest New Cocktail Spot

Mr. Wanderlust, the next arrival from the Level 8 restaurant development near L.A. Live, promises to put on a show

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Virali_Dave is a writer and editor in Los Angeles. Born in Mumbai, she has always considered the West Coast to be the best coast. Her writing has appeared in FoodBeast, NBC News, LAist, Life and Thyme, The Ringer, Input Magazine, and more.

Aerialists twirl upside down, pouring champagne into glasses as new visitors enter Mr. Wanderlust at Level 8. It’s a bold opening for the property at large, conceived and built by the Houston brothers, Mark and Jonnie Houston (No Vacancy, Davey Wayne’s, La Descarga) and Lightstone. As guests walk from one smaller room in Mr. Wanderlust to another larger one through a hidden entrance, they enter a vast library-style bar with a rotating piano, artifacts from around the world, and custom wallpapers and fabrics that span a vibrant range of colors. The splashy new Downtown restaurant and bar opens to the public on August 24.

Located on the eighth floor of the Moxy and AC hotels, the massive new Level 8 spans 30,000 square feet, encompassing eight different bars and eateries. Among the first to arrive is Lucky Mizu, a higher-end shabu-shabu option from fine dining Hisae Stuck (Joel Robuchon), with other projects from names like Ray Garcia (Asterid) and Joshua Gil (Mirate) still to come. And now there is Mr. Wanderlust, a globetrotting, high-flying piano bar and jazz lounge. The opening menu from beverage director Devon Espinosa pulls from bars and cocktail histories around the world, and includes collaborations with exceptional mixologists like Christian “Suzu” Suzuki-Orellana (Wildhawk in San Francisco and Netflix’s Drink Masters), Kate Gerwin (Happy Accidents in Albuquerque and Netflix’s Drink Masters), and Naomi Schimek (Soulmate in West Hollywood).

Executive chef Richard Archuleta (Openaire) oversees all the Level 8 concepts, including the food menu at Mr. Wanderlust. Archuleta says that stepping into Mr. Wanderlust is like immersing oneself in the eclectic library of a world traveler. “Everything in Mr. Wanderlust is designed behind a craft cocktail program,” he says. “There’s a whole lot of different inspiration. There’s some Asian, Southern Californian, and South American influence on the menu, and a little Indian influence.” To mirror the drinks menu, small bites at Mr. Wanderlust evoke dishes from all corners of the globe, like a raw tuna pani puri that plays off a popular Mumbai street food, and a caviar toad in the hole.

A dim look at an evening cocktail bar set to look like a library with dark wood and deep blue couches at new cocktail bar Mr. Wanderlust in Downtown LA.
Plush lounge seats and a long bar.
A burlesque dancer with a corset on throws a shadow against a wall in dim, blue and orange toned Downtown LA cocktail bar Mr. Wanderlust.
Dancers on display.

The library-like space is dark and ambient, filled with vibrant, rich fabrics; tall, lit bookcases; custom wallpaper; and a vast bar space. There are purse hooks shaped like exotic animals, various pieces of art and decor gathered from travels, and performances from live musicians, dancers, and aerialists. Guests can catch performances from the rotating piano bar or a second stage that will host a live band.

Customers who move through the Mr. Wanderlust space are — via a hidden door — brought to Lucky Mizu, the shabu-shabu and seiro-mushi restaurant from Stuck, which opens next week. There’s also the poolside carousel bar Golden Hour, where visitors can lounge and order from Archuleta’s menu of summery classics like burgers, strawbery-yuzu granita, and drinks from Espinosa.

Level 8 will also soon include teppanyaki restaurant Maison Kasai (which guests can enter through another hidden entrance in Mr. Wanderlust) and al fresco oyster and champagne bar Mother of Pearl from Gil. Other Level 8 spots include live-fire cooking eatery Qué Bárbaro and food truck-esque late-night spot Brown Sheep from Garcia, and dual-concept bar Sinners y Santos from the Houston brothers. It’s an unreal undertaking that could help to transform the Downtown hospitality scene in short order, especially once all of the restaurants and bars are up and running simultaneously in just a few short weeks.

Mr. Wanderlust and Level 8 are located at 1254 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015. The space is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. through midnight. From Thursday through Saturday, hours extend until 2 a.m. Reservations are available on OpenTable.

Two small luxury bites including tiny fried eggs, caviar, and toast on a black and white fine dining plate at new LA restaurant Mr. Wanderlust.
Caviar toad in the hole with quail eggs.
A smoky opened wooden box showing two bites of beef on long, elegant sticks, fine dining style, at LA restaurant Mr. Wanderlust.
Braised beef cigarettes with wagyu lengua.
Three cooked shrimp hang off the side of a glass on ice at new Downtown LA restaurant Mr. Wanderlust, as two dips in gold cups sit beside.
Jumbo shrimp cocktail with Old Bay dip.
A light yellow cocktail with flecked rim of seasoning on a leather shelf at new LA restaurant and bar Mr. Wanderlust.
Just What You Needed.
An orange yellow cocktail with slice of pineapple and greenery poking out from the top of a Collins glass against a black background at new LA restaurant Mr. Wanderlust.
Pa(n)dam, Pa(n)dam.
Two slider-style burgers with three buns and two patties plus pickles shown from the side against a colorful wall at new LA restaurant and bar Mr. Wanderlust.
Le Petit Mac.
Two small rectangles of pizza dough with pepperoni and broccoli on top set on a black and white fine dining plate at new LA restaurant Mr. Wanderlust.
Pan pizza bites.
A small table filled with snacks like chips and shrimp cocktail and drinks at new dim Downtown LA bar and restaurant Mr. Wanderlust.
Lounge snacks at and cocktails.

Level 8

1260 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015 Visit Website
AM Intel

Olvera Street’s Oldest Mexican Restaurant Ordered to Pay $242K in Back Rent or Leave

LA Restaurant Openings

The Biggest LA Restaurant Openings to Know in September

Local Legends

The Wild Wine Cellars of Le Chêne