So close to Westwood Village, but light years away emotionally, is one of the best hangouts in the city, the Bruins Den Lounge at the Doubletree Hotel. Sometimes you want all the rollicking good times of Westwood without actually nesting in the middle of it. This UCLA haunt tucked in among the high rise apartments and condos boasts an intimate drawing-room ambiance, where sports (on a large screen TV), meals and music, combined with a perfect rendezvous spot, fuse for a fantastic time.

The Bruins Den Lounge offers its own first-rate bar menu, or order from the Café’s full menu. Capable Chef Jose Guillen is responsible for the food. He’s a craftsman if ever there was one, and one of the reasons folks come to wine and dine here. Many locals call this place their "usual" for excellent meals and a great soiree atmosphere.

Every meal we’ve had here has been commendable. Some of our favorite starters are the Ahi tuna (also a main course), the brie cheese plate, the chicken sate and the pear salad. Main courses include entrees, sandwiches and salads. Big burgers, steak, shrimp and pork medallions are all excellent. Desserts are delicious and dizzying. Don’t be reluctant to be here because it’s a hotel lounge and restaurant. This place has the right amount of hustle, bustle and great vibes.

People also come to the Bruins Den Lounge to listen to Ana Guigui, resident pianist and singer. She’ll bowl you over with her cachet, talent, musicality and fun, expertly playing and singing songs from all generations. Not only will you love coming here for dinner, but come into the Lounge just for coffees, drinks and desserts where Guigui plays Wednesday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Guigui is also currently touring with Christopher Cross and is often requested to perform with other entertainers. Check her Web site at Happy Hour is Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with half price appetizers. Parking is validated in the lounge or restaurant.

The Bruins Den Lounge is located within the Doubletree Hotel at 10740 Wilshire Blvd., in Westwood, (310) 475-8711. For more information, visit