A new reason to ditch the beach and be an active participant in Downtown’s cultural renaissance.
With the opening of the Freehand Los Angeles, Andrew Zobler and the hit-makers behind the Sydell Group put their winning recipe to the test: Take a historic building in a neglected part of town, bring in an acclaimed design firm to spice it up, add a sprinkling of local flavor, toss in a few must-try restaurants and bars, and let it bake. They tapped longtime collaborators Roman & Williams to make over the 1924 Commercial Exchange Building in Downtown L.A., imbuing it with distinctly Angeleno DNA that creates a dialogue between the city’s past and future. Cocktail gurus Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi of Bar Lab shook up a new version of the Broken Shaker on the rooftop and brewed Randolph’s Bar & Tea in the lobby. Teaming up with Angeleno chef Alex Chang they cooked up the Exchange, which serves Israeli cuisine with a Californian ethos. An outpost of Venice’s boho Flowerboy shop adds a touch of sweetness. The result is more than the sum of its parts—it’s a new reason to ditch the beach and be an active participant in Downtown’s cultural renaissance.