Bars and Clubs
Want to know which of the many dance and nightclubs in the [node"45013 link L.A.] area is the hottest or hippest or most popular with the stars this week? You’ll need to ask the locals or read the alt-weeklies when you arrive, since these things change almost weekly. Check out the scene when you arrive, or pick one of these reasonably reliable standards.
Know that clubs in L.A. get crowded (and overcrowded) on weekend nights, and that bouncers take joy in selecting only the most chic hipsters in line to allow into the sacred spaces beyond the doors. Women have a slight edge, but in the top L.A. clubs, this can mean little to nothing.
Being young and beautiful helps, of course, as does being dressed in the latest designer fashions and knowing a celebrity or the club’s owner. So put on your finest and fanciest clubbing outfit, head out, and go for it!
For a good time dancing into the wee hours on a usually sedate Sunday night, head for Deep at Club Vanguard (6021 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323/463-3331, www.deep-la.com, Sun. only 9:30 p.m.–4 a.m., cover $20). This one-night-only monument to the freshest house music was opened in 1999 and has been growing in popularity ever since. Expect top-shelf house DJs from New York, L.A., and anywhere else the best are spinning these days. In addition to the crowded dance floor, you’ll find a full bar and a back patio done up in the finest Asian style.
For the rest of the week, this space is simply Club Vanguard (www.vanguardla.com), hosting DJs in various styles, VIP nights, lingerie fashion shows, and other events that draw in the young and hip on the Hollywood scene.
For serious rockers looking for something a little bit heavier, there’s the Key Club (9039 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310/274-5800, www.keyclub.com, daily 7 p.m.–2 a.m., cover $20). The Key Club caters to the heavy metal-and-dining crowd (yes, there is definitely such a thing in L.A.), with a full stage that hosts live bands and a full-service restaurant. This club feels like a warren, what with the stage and dance room, the casual and (in theory) quieter room down the hall, and the plush VIP suite upstairs. Of course you’ll find more than one full bar inside this multi-purpose club.
For an ever-so-slightly more laid-back L.A. clubbing experience, head on down to The Little Temple (4519 Santa Monica Blvd., 323/660-4540, www.littletemple.com, Mon. midnight–2 a.m., Tue.–Thurs. 8 p.m.–2 a.m., Fri.–Sat. 9 p.m.–2 a.m., Sun 9 p.m.–midnight, cover $5). This funky, hip space mixes Buddhist Asian decor with deep house, hip-hop, and Latin music for a sometimes dance-heavy, sometimes lounge-centric evening of fun and flirtation.
You can get your groove on down on the dance floor, then flop onto the huge communal bed to rest and relax with your oldest and newest friends. Decor mixes the sacred with the profane, and the full bar lubricates an already friendly evening with beer, wine, and cocktails.
Sometimes, a place doesn’t need a huge description or build-up to illuminate its atmosphere and theme. Bordello (901 E. First St., 213/687-3766, www.bordellobar.com, daily 7 p.m.–2 a.m., cover $10), with its provocative name and plush red interior, exemplifies such an establishment. Sitting at the former location of Little Pedros, the first bar opened in L.A. with a notorious reputation for its “other” business as a brothel, Bordello strives to be worthy of its historic locale.
The interior feels almost cluttered to a modern sensibility; it’s crammed with antique glass light fixtures, ornately painted and leafed geegaws, and velvet lounging couches. Musical offerings are deliberately eclectic. You might hear jazz one night, ska the next, and indie rock the night after that. Bordello also hosts regular burlesque shows. The full bar offers beers on tap as well as club-appropriate pink cocktails. Come in and be seduced.
The 3 Clubs Cocktail Lounge (1123 Vine St., Hollywood, 323/462-6441, www.threeclubs.com, Mon. midnight–2 a.m., Tue.–Sat. 6 p.m.–2 a.m., Sun. 6 p.m.–midnight, no cover) acts at once as a locals’ watering hole and a reasonably priced nightclub catering mostly to the collegiate set. Expect to find the dance floor of the rear club crowded and sweaty, with fairly generic modern dance mixes blaring out over the crush of writhing bodies. Two bars serve up drinks to the masses, and drinks are a bit cheaper here than in the “hotter” spots.
But if you’re a lone female, do be aware that 3 Clubs has no decent parking and you may have to walk several blocks along Hollywood Boulevard long after dark. Consider brining a friend or two along with you to up your safety quotient.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition