The Cool & Hips Hotspots Under The Hollywood Sign
It is home to celebrities, fancy lounges with exclusive VIP areas and velvet ropes. But do the hip people of L.A., really hang out in Hollywood?
The famous Hollywood club scene is thriving. Hollywood is home to L.A.’s mega dance clubs – if you want to dance in this town, Hollywood is the place to do it – but also many long-standing little haunts located in the back alleys of main streets with no names on the door.
Hollywood bars are happening almost all nights of the week, though they peak Thursdays thru Sundays.
One of the best things about Hollywood is that its resurgence has created a cluster of bars, so walking from one to another makes it more like New York than car-dependent L.A.
About Hollywood – A Quick Travel Guide
From a tourist standpoint, there’s the Walk of Fame, the hand and footprints at TCL (formerly Grauman’s, formerly Mann’s) Chinese Theater of 262 celebrities and a beautiful shopping and entertainment complex known as Hollywood and Highland.
Located at the intersection of those two streets, Hollywood and Highland is also home of the formerly-named Kodak Theater. which is venue for the Academy Awards ceremony.
That event, the “Biggest Night in Hollywood,” is Sunday, Feb. 28. And yes, it’s possible to “attend” the Oscars as an outside spectator. It just takes a while if one wants to be in the grandstands for the arrival of the starts on the red carpet. Here’s our Viewing Guide to the Academy Awards.
Places like Hollywood and Highland have helped create a resurgence in Hollwood nightlife and, unlike many places in L.A., it’s possible to walk from one venue to another.
It’s those velvet ropes that present the biggest challenge to mobility.
But not every place requires a certain “look” (or a quck-draw wallet). There are some fun lounges and bars in Hollywood and we’ll start with those before moving to the clubs.
Hollywood’s Top Pubs & Lounges
There are bars, and then there are b-a-r-s. This section is a taste of old L.A., places that have been around for years and won’t be gone in a month when the trendy crowd moves to the next hip location.
Locals, celebrities, movie executives and everyday people come here for good music, live bands or just to have a few drinks.
The Room houses some of L.A.’s best music. The long, narrow, dark bar features up-and-coming deejays playing to an all-everything crowd, which includes up-and-coming actors and models.
If you like music, this is a good place to find it. On Tuesdays, it’s THE place to be in Hollywood. Like many great bars, The Room is difficult to find. It’s on Cahuenga between Selma and Hollywood behind a blue building with an orange awning; go around the back and look for the doorman.
Address: 1626 N. Cahuenga Blvd. (323) 462-7196
It’s across the street from The Burgundy Room, another good bar, cool music with a cool crowd (cash only). A close walk away is Opium Den, a rock bar for young alterna-rockers. The tiny stage area gets packed and Mondays are especially cranking with local radio station KROQ’s “Zeke’s Backyard” night.
Address: Burgandy Room, 1621 1/2 N. Cahuenga Blvd. (323) 465-7530
Address: Opium Den, 16051Ú2 N. Ivar Ave. (323) 912-0636
Goldfingers, one of L.A.’s most interesting haunts, is unfortunately gone, replaced by a red, posh “new Hollywood” place called the Red Buddah Lounge. We’ll see.
Address: 6423 Yucca Blvd. (323) 962-2913
Looking for a good bartender? Daddy’s has among the best in town. They are friendly and know how to mix the prefect drink. Daddy’s has a strong reputation as a pick-up bar.
Address: 1610 Vine. (323) 463-7777
The Frolic Room (Hollywood and Vine) is a very local bar that gets going late, after 11, after the Pantages Theater next door show is over. Frolic’s main architectural feature is a wallpaper mural of old-time Hollywood stars.A
Address: 6245 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 462-5890.
On a different scale, the Pig ‘N Whistle is a restaurant that turns into a bar at night. It has different themes on different nights and is operated by the owners of the celebrity-favorite Sunset Room. For example, it turns into the Nubar some nights, a cool martini bar with a mostly younger crowd.
Not to be confused with the Pig ‘N Whistle is the Cat ‘N Fiddle, reputed to be a Rolling Stones fav. Any surprise it’s a British pub? It has a dart room, a dining room and a patio. Laid-back locals love the place. To drink, try the Snake Bite. Not a lot of femms go there, though.
Address: Pig ‘N Whistle, 6714 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 463-0000.
Address Cat ‘N Fiddle, 6530 Sunset Blvd. (323) 468-3800
Merix (located in nearby West Hollywood, on Santa Monica east of La Ciegena) is mostly gay, but has a wide variety of fruit margaritas (kiwi, mango, etc.). It’s absolutely impossible to get into on Sundays after the noon hour, a tribute to its tasty frozen concoctions
Address: 8350 Santa Monica Blvd., #210. (323) 848-2450
If it’s Monday, check out Les Deuz Cafe, a French bistro which has a bit of a scene that night. It’s also reputed to be a hideaway for Hollywood stars (Sharon Stone, Jerry Seinfield, Cameron Diaz, Lenny Kravitz…).
Address: 1638 N. Las Palmas Ave. (323) 465-0509.
Hollywood Lounges & Bars
Want to see a celebrity? Or at least mingle where they mingle? Hollywood is home to several upscale bars that attract celebrities,directors and producers, movers and shakers, and more “ordinary” folks who like a good drink and a good time. Most mix dancing with comfortable bar seating.
Geisha House is a sushi-and-more restaurant with a lively bar scene. It has two bars surrounded by a cool dining atmosphere. Go upstairs to that bar, which often features PubClub friend Jennifer mixing up some master house drinks.
Address: 6633 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 460-6300
One of the best bars in Hollywood for the “average” person is Lucky Strike Lanes. Hollywood nightlife nightclubsIt’s not a chore to get in and people actually talk to someone who’s not in their own crowd. It’s a beautiful bowling alley and bar – this is becoming big in L.A. – in the Hollywood & Highland complex.
Address: 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 143. (323) 467-7776
The heartbeat of Hollywood’s nightlife are its dance clubs. There are more here than there are stars on the Walk of Fame (or so it seems). And even more are on the way.
Tip: Find out where DJ Caroline Posada is spinning, She’s a hot, vibrant blonde Brazilian bombshell who does EDM music and plays clubs all over Hollywood.
Vanguard brings it with cool DJs, go-go girls on a catwalk and enough dance floor space to fit in the relaxed but energetic crowd, which ranges mainly from 25s-early 30s. There’s an outdoor tropical-style patio in the back for VIP service, but this place is really just a pure dance club with few distractions.
Address: 6021 Hollywood Blvd. (213) 480-3232.
In the heartbeat of Hollywood Blvd., are two so-called “hotspots,” Mood and Geisha House. Mood’s mood is Indonesian has go-go dancers in panties and t-shirts and theme nights put on my various promotors. A-list parties are on Wednesdays, Asians are attracted to Thursdays, Top 40 on Fridays,, celeb and VIP-seeking Saturadys and R&B on Sundays.
Address: 6623 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 464-6663
The Ivar is a restaurant/bar/club with an industrial look and feel and a hot-looking crowd. Most of the peo;e are standing outside but o get in, get there by 9 or at least 9:30. If you get stuck, the pizza place next door has pretty good social action.
Address: 6356 Hollywood Blvd 1st Floor. (323) 465-4827
CineSpace Hollywood nightlife nightclubs is an upscale restaurant, bar and screening room showing movie classics. The front bar is for the scene, the screening room for couples and diners. Movies – think dinner and a flick – start at 7:30 with the DJ coming on at about 10. CineSpace is located upstairs in the same building as Ivar.
Address: 6356 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 654-1268.
The Highlands is a club that gained immediate success. Located on the fourth and fifth floor of Hollywood & Highland, it has four decks and has hosted movie premier parties and other VIP events.
Address: 6801 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 461-9800.
Celebrities are flying into Club LAX, an airplane-themed club with three bars and two outdoor smoking patios. It hosts many private events for celebrities an on “regular” nights, it’s advisable to go early.
Address: 1714 N Las Palmas, 323-464-017.
The Palace has re-opened as Avalon and is open for now only on Fridays for a New York-style disco (starts 10 p.m.).It’s huge buildingis full of history for theater, TV shows (Jerry Lewis, Merv Griffin among others) and bands. On the top of Avalon is Spider Club, which has a smokin’ good-looking crowd. It’s almost twin VIP rooms, each with a DJ and dance floor and bar; one is more intimate and the other is larger.
Address: 1735 Vine. (323) 462-3000.
For the trendy-seeking, Xes (sex spelled backward and pronounced “excess”) has go-go dancers on poles and shows videos of girls in bikinis smashing bugs and such which, for some reason we’re not quite capable of comprehending, is all the rage for some folks. Tuesdays are hosted by an adult film company, Wednesdays are 80s, Thursdays are Top 40 dance and weekends are for it all (call ahead).
Address: 1716 N. Cahuenga Blvd. (323) 461-8191
On the edge of town is a dance club with a Latin flair, the Rhumba Room. Wade your way through the high schoolers at Universal’s City Walk on a Friday night to this packed and fun bar. Start with dinner and drinks at the TuTu Tango Cafe.
Address: TuTu Tango (818)769-2222
Address: Rhumba Room (818) 622-1222
Club Circus and the Arena is a gay and bisexual club with three dance floors, heavy on Latin music and features guest DJs. Actually they are two clubs located right next to each other. On Fridays, though, a promotion called Red at Arena draws in a huge mostly Asian straight crowd of post-rave progressive house and trance featuring local DJs. Cover is $20, or $10 before 10 p.m. (323) 692-3533.
Address: 6655 Santa Monica Blvd (at Highland). Circus: (323) 462-1291
Club One Seven is an Under-21 dance club at Hollywood & Highland, open only on weekends, $20 cover.
Address: 6801 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 462-4172.
Take a walk on the wild side: Cinematic is an S&M club in West Hollywood. Located two blocks West of Fairfax on Santa Monica Blvd., the building rotates themes each night. Saturday is S&M night which, for those not eager to participate, makes for great people-watching.
Or, you can check out Deep where sex is definitely in the air. In fact, the owner was quoted in a local publication as saying his club “pushes the envelope in terms of sexuality, decadence, voyeurism.” Male and female dancers perform R-rated shows to encourage the sexuality, decadence and voyeurism of the patrons.
Deep: 1707 N. Vine (Hollywood and Vine). (323) 462-1144.
After Hours Bar
For those who would rather schmooze than lose another bar opportunity, AT The Factory has after-hours activity on Saturdays. It’s a mix of people – straight, gays, black, white, Asians, you name it – who dance to high-energy house music. It goes from 2:30 until 8 in the morning. Cover is $15-20.
Address: 652 N. La Peer Dr., West Hollywood. (310) 659-4551.