The Cannibal LA Delivers on Its Name With a Confident Industrial Design

As a restaurant with a very visceral name, the Cannibal LA had to appear equally dramatic. It needed to conjure the menu, a goes-without-saying comprehensive list of meats and beers, but it also had to be astute. Since the restaurant is set in the burgeoning Hayden Tract neighborhood of Culver City, where clever artistry is a calling card, the place couldn't just get by with the expected black leather and dark woods. "The overall goal was to disrupt the space," said founder and owner E. Christian Pappanicholas. The result is a palette of industrial materials that unite to create a confident, carefully intertwined design. High ceilings accented in wheat-toned wooden frames enclose smooth concrete walls and floor-to-ceiling windows. And upon closer look, copper light fixtures by local Studio MAI hang above stained white oak tables and porter-colored floors. It's a muted, controlled aesthetic, but it's not without some whimsy. "The artwork is from Pee-wee's Big Adventure — it's the opening dream sequence where he is winning the Tour de France," Pappanicholas said. Given that dramatic edge is a defining feature of the restaurant, it's important to have a touch of humor.

The Cannibal LA exterior
5 Photos
credit: Stan Lee

The Cannibal LA is located on the bottom floor of Platform, a mall of shops, galleries, and studios. The siding is treated birch, and the planters are made of black steel.

Seated bar area
credit: Stan Lee

The rosewood bar top and metal shelving are a sharp complement to angular black bar stools. Studio MAI provided the copper lighting.

Seated and standing bar
credit: Stan Lee

Beer fridges lining the back wall showcase the huge selection of craft brews on tap. Guests are welcome to gather at the standing bar to try a few.

The main dining room and communal tables
credit: Wonho Frank Lee

Vintage leather chairs by Industry West are a mix of metal and wood. The restaurant has a variety of tables to choose from, including long communal rectangles.

Wide view of main dining room
credit: Stan Lee

To create intimacy in such a large space, the design uses dark shades and large wooden beams to make the space feel cozy. But because of the large windows, the restaurant avoids appearing too dark.

Reyna Abraham

Reyna Abraham

Reyna Abraham is a Freelance Writer, Editor and Educator who studied English Literature and Language at California Polytechnic University California. Her work has been published online at Downtown Magazine New York, eHow, and Hunker. She works as a writing consultant for the Architecture firm Gregg Maedo & Associates and has an appreciation for the ways that human ingenuity, design, and thoughtful engineering intersect.