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Incoming: New Details on $26M Renovation of Lafayette Hotel

CH Projects nears completion on the massive undertaking, adding Oaxacan church altars and in-room bartending
Photo Credit: Post Company
The Gutter

The Gutter will be the hotel’s moody new bowling alley, cocktail lounge, and game room.

Photo Credit: Post Company

Last year we talked about how Consortium Holdings purchased The Lafayette Hotel—a North Park classic, whose clamshell band space and summer pool gatherings of local musicians and creatives were a treasured part of our local heritage. Now CH Projects is finalizing their $26 million renovation of the 2.5-acre colonial-style property. With an expected June opening, the castle of food, bev, relaxation, and, yeah, wellness is CH Projects’ most ambitious project to date.

Kudos must be given, first, to car dealer and developer Larry Imig. In 1946, where others saw barren land, he saw the blueprint for his 250-room hotel, Imig Manor. Thanks to 24 retail and business tenants (a hair salon, nightclub, office spaces, restaurants), the hotel has always been a crowd magnet. It changed hands several times, adopted its longstanding name, and served as a weekend retreat for Bing Crosby and Katherine Hepburn.

In-Room Bar Cart

Rooms will include a bar cart complete with bottles, mixers, and cocktail-recipe placemats.

Photo Credit: Arlene Ibarra

CH tapped Brooklyn design firm Post Company for the restoration. Expect joy machinations like Gutter, a vermouth-fueled, mahogany-lined escapist bowling alley, cocktail bar, and game room. Soothe your realization that you suck at bowling at Quixote, one of the seven—SEVEN—food and beverage concepts. Quixote is an agave bar modeled after an Oaxacan house of worship, the scene set by a centuries-old Mexican church altar. The kitchen will have handmade masa cakes, while another onsite restaurant, Le Horse, will slice prime rib tableside. Beginners Diner drew inspiration from a 1940s Worcester lunch car, and, in true diner style, it will be open 24/7.

If you never got around to living out your early twenties dream of shaking and straining, there’s still time to shine. Bar carts in the rooms will have a bounty of tequilas, mezcals, hand-selected single barrel rums, plus the fixings for classic cocktails. Not sure how to mix a Negroni? No need to Google, and tell Siri to pipe it. CH—one of the best names in cocktails in the country at this point—will have step-by-step recipes on the bar placemats.

More good news: The pool isn’t going anywhere. It’s still the hotel’s aquatic social club, framed by guest rooms. Only now swimmers can imbibe cafe cocktails and Italian aperitifs from the adjacent Pool Bar. And CH—which has gone deep into the hi-fi audio realm, turning Neighborhood into a vinyl record shrine and launching Part Time Lover, a listening bar with one of the city’s most iconic record stores in the back—has lined the entire place with obsessively placed Ojas speakers.

T-minus two months or so.

By Jared Cross

Jared Cross is a writer who grew up near the US-Mexico border in San Diego. He credits this experience with refining his appetite for food and culture.

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