5 Spots to Take Your New Boo: Los Angeles

Akbar

This Silver Lake gay haunt is a popular stop for a stiff vodka soda and serious bearded eye candy. If you and your boo are looking for a little Bachelor-style one-on-one time, there are a few tables toward the back where you can find out his favorite Netflix Originals. The space itself is pretty small but the chances your knees will touch are pretty big. The jukebox is well-stocked with familiar alt-gay artists (Morrissey, The Cure, Kate Bush) and provides a more mellow soundtrack for some starry-eyed conversation. When open, the back dance room can help with much-needed relief from the stress of getting to know a new boo. The first Saturday of each month is Mario Diaz’s Full Frontal Disco where you can show off how you Hustle. If you’re interested in an unpretentious vibe and music that isn’t the fun but exhausted Britney/Christina/Mariah holy trinity, Akbar is the perfect alternative to the often glammed-up din of the WeHo strip.

Don’t tell anyone: Sidestep the weekend debauchery and go on Wednesdays for Craft Night, where glue guns mingle with drink specials.

4356 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90029
akbarsilverlake.com
(323) 665-6810

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple

The Pacific Palisades is one of the most lux neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and for good reason. Nestled between Brentwood and Malibu, and just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean is this peaceful oasis with the longest name ever. But don’t let that mouthful fool you, this lush escape is all about simplicity and beauty. There’s plenty of benches for contemplating your next meal and garden pathways for a romantic stroll. The Windmill Chapel and Golden Lotus Archway are just a few lovely sights along the way. Admission is free but consider donating as the landscapes are perfectly maintained. The whole experience is a hushed one, so if you’re looking to whisper sweet nothings into your boo’s ear, this is the place to do it.

Don’t tell anyone: Some of the benches are more private and hidden deeper into the brush. Keep an eye out for those.

17190 W Sunset Blvd Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
lakeshrine.org
(310) 454-4114

République

The first thing you think when you walk into this much-hyped Mid-City restaurant, is that you’ve entered either a holy place of worship or that sprawling Harry Potter cafeteria. It’s possible it’s a little bit of both and that’s totally sweet. It feels new and cool and young, just like your boo. In the morning it’s a bustling bakery. Try the Croque Madame or pecan bar. In the evening it’s a dinner joint with even Frenchier fare like escargots en croûte—just practice rolling your r’s ahead of time. The sea of cerulean decor will sweep you away to a different time, and so will The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill pumping from above. While the price is a little steep, just tell your boo he’s worth it. So one of you be Julia Roberts and one of you be Richard Gere, and pretty woman the shit outta that place.

Don’t tell anyone: Use the valet. The search for parking can be a really downer when you’re dressed to impress.

624 S La Brea Ave Los Angeles, CA 90036
republiquela.com
(310) 362-6115

Griffith Observatory

It doesn’t get more romantic than this fellas. High above L.A., among the canyons and coyotes, is the Griffith Observatory. If you’re feeling particularly outdoorsy, strap on those Timberlands and have yourself a hike up the winding road that leads here. That’s also your best bet to avoid the nightmare that is finding parking. Once inside, learn the basics of physics and astronomy—all those classes you skipped in college—and explore different ways to use a telescope. The view of the city and sky are inexplicable. Tell your new boo how insignificant you feel compared to the universe, like a grain of sand. He’ll be putty in your hands.

Don’t tell anyone: Go at night. Less kids. More stars. More smooches.

2800 E Observatory Rd Los Angeles, CA 90027
griffithobservatory.org
(213) 473-0800

Bar Eightytwo

On the Type A tip? Have an epic Ms. Pac Man battle and make the loser buy shots at this 21+ old school video game arcade, complete with full bar and disco/hip-hop DJs to keep your head nodding while you score (points or otherwise). This place is huge and the nostalgia factor is strong, so soak up an afternoon there and make it a day date. Friday and Saturday nights get packed, and if you have to wait in line to get your Street Fighter fix, you’ve already lost, bro.

Don’t tell anyone: Try something offbeat and play a few rounds of Ice Cold Beer, which has nothing to do with beer and everything to do with steady hands.

707 E 4th Pl Los Angeles, CA 90013
eightytwo.la
(213) 626-8200

Grindr Plays: DJ Samy Jo

My name is:
Samy Jo or Jo if you ask me my Grindr profile name.

I started DJing:
In 2005 when I was 20. And twelve years later here we are.

The first place I DJed at was:
Les Bains Douches Paris. The mythic club from the 80’s. The funny story about that is I never thought about being a DJ when I started working at the club. It’s the fault of the artistic director, Thibault Jardon, who pushed me into it. My first gig wasn’t even planned. They looked at me at 5 a.m. and told me I was playing in 30 minutes. My passion began in that moment.

My musical style is:
Most of my tracks are classified as house, tech house, tribal house, and sometimes I go deep.

My favorite parties in the world are:
The H.I.M Festival in Antwerp, obviously. MENERGY in Paris because all the hot guys go there. Matinee Pervert for the Spanish production. Milk Festival in Amsterdam I just fell in love with. Algeria for the U.S. production. And as I’m currently in London, I’ll add Room Service, Dollar, and Daddy Issues to the list.

The song I play most in my sets is:
The “Sun Rising Up” by Rebeka Brown is a classic for me. And as of last year it’s probably probably “Kwango” by Micha Moor.

The best night out was:
I’ve had a couple since I started going out—you can’t have just one. I’d say in Paris of October 2010 at Garnier’s Opera. The party was the Grazia Magazine Masquerade Ball hosted by Club Sandwich. The place is unreal for a party and I was with some of my craziest friends so…

Right now I can’t stop listening to:
To be honest there are two tracks on my phone I play everyday. “Let the Bitch Know” from my dear Kiddy Smile on Defected Records—even the video is incredible. Also “Read U Wrote U” from RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars: Season 2. I can’t lie!

My musical influences are:
As a DJ, I’d say Pagano, Tom Stefan, Dario Nuñez, Erick Morillo, and Dennis Ferrer.

You can catch me playing at:
I’ll be playing for the Milkshake Festival Pre-party on April 8th in Amsterdam.

You can hear more from me at:
instagram.com/samy_jo orwww.mixcloud.com/samy-jo

Into It

Feud

Epic bitchfest meets history lesson meets Ryan Murphy fabulousness. We’re giving the edge to Susan Sarandon’s punchy but grounded Bette Davis.

MUNA – About U

Synth power pop from a lesbian trio we can’t get enough of. Think Lorde’s angst with Robyn’s beats.

Lincoln in the Bardo (Audiobook)

It has a cast of 166 star-studded characters and plays out like the weirdest, most glorious movie. For your ears only.

The Great British Bake Off

Cozy cakes with even cozier contestants. They call cookies biscuits, so like, just so you know.

Drake – More Life

Remember that time Drake made house music? And it was like….really tight?

“The Embers”

Vagabon makes herself known in this tune that Cranberries fans will go bananas over.

Call Me By Your Name

The gay hit outta this year’s Sundance by the director of I Am Love. Really hoping for some sensual food scenes in this one, too.

Throwing Shade

Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi make podcasts funny again. Especially for the gays.

Matt Lambert: Queer Films That Influenced Me

Matt Lambert’s work spans from narrative film, experimental documentary, music video, fashion and photography, with a focus on themes of love, intimacy and youth frequently skewed toward LGBTQ narratives. His recent limited release Home is an intimate study of safe spaces in gay culture, and is also Grindr’s first book. So which films helped shape his artistic vision? Let’s find out…

My Own Private Idaho

IMDB Synopsis: Two best friends living on the streets of Portland as hustlers embark on a journey of self-discovery and find their relationship stumbling along the way.

Mysterious Skin

IMDB Synopsis: A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth.

Pink Flamingos

IMDB Synopsis: Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine goes up against a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as “The Filthiest Person Alive”.

Tarnation

IMDB Synopsis: Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette’s documentary on growing up with his schizophrenic mother—a mixture of snapshots, Super-8, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, and more—culled from 19 years of his life.

Querelle

IMDB Synopsis: French sailor Querelle arrives in Brest and starts frequenting a strange whorehouse. He discovers that his brother Robert is the lover of the lady owner, Lysiane.

Bully
2012/Dir: Lee Hirsch

IMDB Synopsis: A documentary on peer-to-peer bullying in schools across America.

The Living End

IMDB Synopsis: Luke is a gay hustler. Jon is a movie critic. Both are HIV-positive. They go on a hedonistic, dangerous journey, their motto “Fuck the world”.

Shortbus

IMDB Synopsis: A group of New Yorkers caught up in their romantic-sexual milieu converge at an underground salon infamous for its blend of art, music, politics, and carnality.

Scorpio Rising

IMDB Synopsis: An army of gay nazi bikers make their engines roar and ride the way to pain/pleasure.

A Song of Love

IMDB Synopsis: Two prisoners in complete isolation, separated by the thick brick walls, and desperately in need of human contact, devise a most unusual kind of communication.

I Killed My Mother

IMDB Synopsis: A semi-autobiographical story about Hubert as a young homosexual at odds with his mother.