December 12, 2023

Level 8
Golden Hour at Level 8 DTLA

FORBES – Level 8 Opens In Los Angeles

Liza B. Zimmerman — Contributor

Downtown Los Angeles is seeing a major revival. New restaurants and hotels are popping up left, right and center and one of the most exciting openings last month was Level 8, the multi-restaurant concept opened by the Houston brothers on Figueroa Street anchored in the same building as the Moxy and AC Marriott Hotels.

The twin brothers behind the restaurants and bars are LA locals—raised in Koreatown—with decades of background in the nightlife world. One of the most unusual elements in the new restaurants will be a drop-down wresting ring where actual fights will be held.

The property as a whole, with its many different dining and drinking destinations—and a built-in customer base staying in 727 rooms—is offering a downtown staycation experience modeled on Las Vegas: ideally no driving and lots of fun.

Mitchell Hochberg, president of real estate developer Lightstone, the company behind the hotels, shares that,“When we thought about the design and positioning of this property, we saw an opportunity to create two distinct hotel experiences under one roof.” Given the unique personalities of the two hotels, “We had the unique challenge of carving out distinct identities for each hotel while creating a cohesive property. Moxy DTLA evokes the iconoclastic romance and adventurous spirit of the California desert, with interiors that are sexy and irreverent. For AC, we wanted something refined and composed.”

Liza B. Zimmerman (L.B.Z.).: When did you both get inspired by nightlife?

Mark Houston (M.H.): Our mom was a bartender and our dad loved hospitality. Our mom then became a bar owner when we were kids, so we basically grew up in the world of bars and restaurants. We love bringing people together, so it made sense for us to delve deeper into it.

Jonnie Houston (J.H.): One of our inspirations is traveling and experiencing nightlife, entertainment and food from around the world. Weekend nights in Paris at Crazy Horse Cabaret and Moulin Rouge with dinner after was unforgettable. We hadn’t ever seen anything like this in LA. We were looking to bring that perfect balance of ambiance, performances, great vibes with unique cocktails to our guests.

L.B.Z.: Do you expect guests will mostly be local or from out of town at Level 8?

J.H.: We’re expecting a good mix of both. We have loyal guests who frequent all of our venues and many are excited to experience Level 8 and see what Mark and I have created. Guests at the hotel will have the opportunity to experience something that is truly LA, a compilation of things we have been doing for years. We also see a lot of visitors from around the world. We’re excited to share this experience with everyone.

L.B.Z.: Why did you decide to take on such an ambitious project?

M.H.: It is something that unites Angelenos and brings our melting pot of culture, culinary inspiration and entertainment together.

M.H.: Being deeply rooted in our hometown of Los Angeles, it’s only natural that we wanted to contribute to the city’s growth and create new experiences that bring people together. We were so excited to be a part of DTLA’s new vision and help drive this new experience that we’ve been working on for years. This journey aligns perfectly with our longstanding desire to create something meaningful within this city, welcoming our friends and community into an often-overlooked area.

L.B.Z.: How did you come up with some of wildest elements of the restaurant and bar complex?

J.H.: We spend a lot time traveling, and getting inspired. Mark and I really take in the spaces we choose to build out and let our imaginations run wild. We dream up ideas all of the time, and sometimes it just takes the right space and opportunity to make them come to life.

Mother of Pearl (Credit Michael Kleinberg)

L.B.Z: Why create and open 8 restaurants?

M.H.: It’s akin to our version of an adult Disneyland.

L.B.Z. How many employees will you have?

J.H: Level 8 will have more than 300 employees.

L.B.Z. What is going to be unique about the properties for DTLA?

J.H.: The whole concept is unique. Each property can be found within its own dream scape. In the spirit of Mr. Wanderlust, you can be transported many times over throughout the night. You can start with some bubbles and oysters at Mother of Pearl, then wander over to Mr. Wanderlust for some serious cocktails from popular bartenders from the around the world and take in a performance. Then head over to one of the restaurants for a full, chef-driven dining experience. To end the night, you can head over to Sinners y Santos for a totally unexpected nightlife experience: without having to traverse all across LA.

Level 8 \ Restaurant, Lounge and Nightlife Destination at the Moxy and AC Hotels

254 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

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