I’ve always thought LAX was the most glamorous airport in the U.S., not because you stand a better than average chance of spotting a celebrity at the next urinal, but because of the Theme Building, which is as close as it gets to visiting The Jetson’s in their intergalactic bubble house. (OK, there’s always psilocybin mushrooms and a Hannah-Barberra marathon on TV, but you get the drift.)


Its 60s space-age modernity captured my imagination as a kid, when my father took us there, and I think we even went out onto an observation deck that got closed after 9/11. The only other time I went was in the late 80s, when my friend overestimated the traffic on La Cienega, and we got to the airport early enough for a couple of pops. Still, I’ve never flown into or out of L.A. without at least trying to get a peek at it.

Recently, I found myself with a 7-hour layover in L.A.—not something I’d normally welcome. But when I called my Hollywood-dwelling friend and asked if he wanted to meet for an early dinner, I was pants-wettingly excited when he suggested Encounter—the restaurant in the Theme building that’s not particularly convenient to anyone who lives in L.A. but should definitely be the restaurant where James Bond meets “Magma-gina .”




Apparently redone in 1997, it’s now a mini-theme park inside LAX. Here’s what it’s like when you arrive:

Trippiest Elevator Music Ever. 

Here’s what it looks like inside:




And here’s what it’s like when you leave:

Even Trippier Elevator Music

One of many reasons to love LAX.