Instead of eating fancy, Americanized sushi in a trendy area, go old-school in a strip mall
If there's one thing that makes LA what it is, it's our limitless amount of incredible food in strip malls. Sushi especially. The long drive to Canoga Park is beyond worth it for Go's Mart (Go's fish is imported straight from Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo) though the entire SF Valley is packed with gems like Katsuya, Sushi Spot, Chiba, and more. For a non-Valley option, Hamasaku certainly won't let you down.
Instead of a dumb, predictable club, go to a Houston Hospitality speakeasy-style bar
It might sound odd to endorse an entire hospitality company, but fraternal twins Mark and Jonnie Houston have done something kind of incredible for LA's nightlife scene: They've created an enduring brand of genuinely fun destinations. When fans hear they're opening a new spot, they tend to geek out like a new Star Wars movie is on the way. Almost every HH bar is defined by a secret entrance, excellent live music, some sort of live show, and an insanely attractive clientele. Take a gander at No Vacancy to start off, as it probably best defines what Houston Hospitality stands for (and don't spoil the entrance!).