5 new businesses to check out now in DTLA

Photo: Sneaker LAB/Yelp

Itching to explore the freshest new spots downtown? From eco-friendly shoe care to a boozy mermaid hideaway, read on for the newest hot spots to open in this part of Los Angeles.

Sneaker Lab


721 S. Los Angeles St.
Photo: Sneaker LAB/Yelp

Sneaker Lab is a shoe care spot "born from an infectious passion for sneakers and the minimalist street culture," explains the company on its website.

Specializing in environmentally friendly shoe care, the new storefront serves as a sneaker laundry service that uses biotechnology to keep your kicks looking fresher for longer. Swing on by to have your sneakers cleaned, browse some merchandise or drop off shoes for a later pickup. (You can check out the online shop here.)

With just one review so far, the new spot has already made a positive impression.

Yelper Jo F., who reviewed Sneaker Lab on Sept. 9, wrote, "Dropped off my sneakers and had them cleaned. Got them back later in the day looking and smelling like new!"

Sneaker Lab is open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tuesday-Saturday. (It's closed on Monday and Sunday.)

It's Boba Time


372 E. Second St.
Photo: Ha Ngc N./Yelp

It's Boba Time is a spot to score bubble tea, juice, espresso, smoothies and more in Little Tokyo.

The regional chain has additional outposts throughout SoCal and offers an array of bubble-focused drinks, with flavors like coconut mango, sweet potato, wintermelon, rose and red bean. Acai bowls and slushies are available as well, along with shaved ice and shakes. (See the full menu here.)

Reviews are mixed for this new spot, with a 3.5-star rating from Yelpers so far.

Yelper Daniel B., who reviewed It's Boba Time on Sept. 9, wrote, "I got the avocado smoothie because they are the only place I know who makes them. It was paler and more diluted than usual, but still tasted delicious; maybe they were out of avocados."

"The butterfly pea sunset drink was less in-your-face about sweetness and very refreshing," added Yelper Laura H. "Both my eyes and my tongue enjoyed a break from sugar and heat. The boba was very enjoyable! Right in the Goldilocks zone of chewy and soft."

It's Boba Time is open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Acai Hero


134 Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka St., Suite 103
PHOTO: hana k./YELP

Acai Hero is an eatery serving acai bowls, sandwiches, smoothies and more in DTLA's Little Tokyo neighborhood.

If you're looking for a boost, indulge in a Spartan acai smoothie made with blueberries, strawberries, Greek yogurt, apple juice, prebiotics and vitamins; or try a shot of lemon and ginger with cayenne pepper.

Build-your-own acai bowls and hearty sandwiches are also on offer, for those seeking a more filling option.

Acai Hero appears to be a welcome addition to downtown with a current rating of five stars out of nine reviews on Yelp.

Yelper Martha M., who reviewed it on Aug. 8, wrote, "I'm so glad there's finally a place like this! ... I love their smoothies and my co-workers love their empanadas, which seem to be popular."

And Yelper Angela C., added, "I ordered the Acai Hulk, which had acai, matcha, spinach, kale, banana and almond milk. Does it sound amazing? It was. The flavors melded wonderfully together."

Acai Hero is open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday.

In Sheep's Clothing


710 E. Fourth Place
Photo: Daphnee F./Yelp

Over in the Arts District, you'll find In Sheep's Clothing -- a bar and cafe modeled after a Japanese kissaten, a tea house and coffee shop that also serves light snacks, TimeOut Los Angeles reports.

Stop by during the day for fresh, local pastries, coffee and ambient records. As night falls, enjoy a cocktail while listening to an all-vinyl playlist curated by Zach Cowie (Master of None), designed with more active-listening albums "to liven up the space."

In Sheep's Clothing's is off to a strong start, with a four-star rating from Yelpers.

Tyler B., who reviewed the new spot on Aug. 8, wrote, "I've said it before and I'll say it again, walking into this place is like dropping into another planet. The Hi-Fi rig alone deserves five stars and their record collection is insane."

"The cocktails were well balanced and delicious," noted Yelper Doug D. "The comfy atmosphere is stylish and comfortable, with a clean, chic aesthetic inspired by mid-century design sensibilities."

In Sheep's Clothing is open from 9 a.m.-1 a.m. on Tuesday-Saturday and noon-10 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.)

The Mermaid


428 E. Second St.
Photo: Nari C./Yelp

Last but not least, The Mermaid is a tropical new cocktail bar that comes courtesy of Katie Kildow and Arelene Roldan, Eater Los Angeles reports, the same duo behind LA's Lemon Poppy Kitchen and Steampunk Coffee Bar and Kitchen.

A full selection of craft beer and wine is on hand, as well as fruity (but strong) cocktails like The Mermaiden Voyage -- a blend of two rums, house lime cordial, house hibiscus syrup, lime juice and mint.

Bar bites include tangy spicy chicken wings, shrimp ceviche and Hawaiian rolls with pineapple pork and red cabbage slaw. (You can check out the full menu here.)

Yelpers are excited about The Mermaid, which currently holds four stars out of 10 reviews on the site.

Nari C., who reviewed the bar on Aug. 8, wrote, "Great addition to Little Tokyo! This place is a hipster dive bar. Sounds like an oxymoron, I know. But, it's definitely worth a visit. Eighties music, quality cocktails and disco-lighted bathrooms. What's not to love?"

And Yelper Aly S., raved, "This is a great bar! Excellent drinks, tasty food, fun decor and great music. Extremely fun vibe and a great spot for a date or a night out with friends."

The Mermaid is open from 5 p.m.-2 a.m. on Tuesday-Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.)
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