Between relaunching LA.com and launching Metromix, I didn’t have as much time as last year to contribute to Los Angeles magazine’s annual Best of L.A. issue. I’m still glad I could weigh in on a few topics. I especially loved choosing the best all-ages venue because it meant getting to take my kid brother out on the town. In fact, Safari Sam’s was totally his best-of pick.
Aside from Koo’s Art Center in Long Beach and the Smell downtown, few all-ages clubs in L.A. book bands worthy of praise. Without booze, the kiddie clubs are avoided by most legal-age night owls. Safari Sam’s, however, attracts a crowd so cool that many 21-plus regulars don’t realize it’s open to all. Hipsters, fashionistas, musicians, and the occasional celebrity converge at the two-story club to experience new bands and popular indie and electro-pop dance parties. Bar food, including vegan meatless loaf, is available.
A strange new animal is on the prowl in Hollywood clubs: snobby sophistication. The places may look inviting, but the door policy isn’t. Teddy’s, a tiny spot in the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel with brown leather couches on which the high-heeled may relax, kindled the trend in 2005. Then came M Lounge and Holly’s, cozy hangs for the Industry crowd. Impresario Rande Gerber, however, has polished the concept at Stone Rose Lounge at the Sofitel hotel. Decked out in burnt orange velvet couches and dark woods, the warm, elegant space lures a posh crowd. The music is never too loud and the lighting never too low, making it possible to have conversations over cocktails.
Clubbers oohed and aahed last year when interior designer Tracie Butler outfitted the Hollywood spot Shag with couches upholstered in a Missoni-esque zigzag pattern and a terazzo dance floor flecked with abalone and mother-of-pearl. But its her interior at Parc, which opened earlier this year, that has us stunned. Butler created a parklike space, using walnut and ebony for the archways and tabletops and cream-colored grass-cloth for the walls. This place isn’t granola, though. The modern space has flower-shaped sconces, Regency-style furniture in fabrics reminiscent of Hermès prints, and a 14-foot tree lit by Swarovski-crystal globes that look like beehives.