The panels across the space on Santa Monica Boulevard that once housed Raffi’s Jewelers, Balliamos dance studio and Unicorn Alley, an “adult” store, have gone from dark gray to a bright orange that proclaims it as the location of Bottega Louie. Meanwhile, the façade of Motherlode, one of West Hollywood’s few dive bars, now has been shrouded with light gray wood, making it invisible to passersby. But those on the inside of Motherlode how have a surprising view of the sky as its bar front is being reworked and a canopy installed.
It’s still unclear when the shrouds will be removed and the exterior of those adjacent places will be revealed. But illustrations from the architects of both spaces give us a taste of what’s coming. Bottega Louie, whose architect is Bulli Architecture, has a bright and open façade that offers a view through to West Hollywood Park. It very much reflects the image of what some describe as a hip Manhattan restaurant / bakery. Motherlode, whose architect is Sigma Design, has brown walls and an expanded front patio covered by a black canopy, reflecting the stated desire of its owner and employees to keep their dive bar vibe.
Motherlode will be bracketed on the west by P.U.M.P., the reality TV garden, bar and restaurant, while Bottega Louie is likely to be bracketed on the east by Tom Tom, another bar and restaurant venture of reality TV celebrity and P.U.M.P. and Sur restaurateur Lisa Vanderpump. In West Hollywood, reality comes in many flavors.
The Bottega Louie space, which went through years of evolution from the small stores to the proposed Cooley bar and restaurant, still has at least one struggle in front of it. The West Hollywood West Residents Association has reached out to City Hall to protest the decision to void some of the noise-calming measures that city was prepared to demand of Cooleys. Those include a tall glass wall to block sound from the restaurant’s rear patio into adjacent West Hollywood Park.