19 February 2012
the la files: part two
Story by Tim Arnold
Tim Arnold reveals the rocker’s guide to the great unwashed.
In this edition, we will journey through a night out in LA, with live music being the thread that binds. Clubs are featured in descending order of sophistication. Start your night at the top, and work your way on down, all the way down. Remember, all clubs close at 2am, so I’d advise that you start early.
The Standard Hotel, Downtown LA (550 South Flower at Sixth St. 90071)
What a place to start. The Downtown Standard is one of four very hip hotels by the same name, the others being situated in Hollywood, New York and Miami. It’s a modern affair; sleek, artsy and minimal, with one of the best roof top bars I’ve ever been to. The view is of buildings, but you feel far enough removed from them that they become this vague and beautiful backdrop to whatever it is that you may be doing. In my case it was playing a show, not on the rooftop unfortunately but in the equally impressive foyer. Beautiful acoustics mirror the beautiful surroundings. Watch attractive people order expensive drinks from attractive bartenders. It’s a great place to start. Go and get hip with it.
The Dresden Restaurant (1760 North Vermont Ave. 90027)
Equally as hip as the Standard but in a vastly different get up. The Dresden is old school all the way. In the restaurant you can order all your relic favourites, chicken cordon bleu, veal marsala and shrimp cocktail, but it’s the lounge bar we’re after tonight. Made famous by its appearance in the movie Swingers, the bar features live music every night. Marty and Elayne, the jazz duo also seen on the movie Swingers, have played most nights here for the past 30 years, including open mike night on Tuesdays. Bring your best renditions as everybody here seems to sing well. Elderly gentlemen in waistcoats and ties will provide any lubricant you may need.
Hemingways Lounge (6356 Hollywood Blvd. 90028)
A live music venue in the middle of a library, not a real one of course, but there are books covering all of the walls. Something to do with some writer, apparently. It does make for quite a nice effect, and the acoustics are good with all that paper and those uneven surfaces to soak up the sound. Very much a live music destination for the young, hip and happening; my compadre and I also enjoy the free pours at the bar. Vodka on the rocks, all the way to the tops! When it starts tasting like water, you know you’ve made it. Winning.
Harvard & Stone (5221 Hollywood Blvd. 90027)
To those who live in, or who have been out and about in Auckland, Harvard & Stone is very much like the Kings Arms in Eden Terrace. It’s dressed a little better, and you’ll probably get a better cocktail at Harvard than you would at the Kings Arms, but in terms of entertainment, it occupies a similar space. Live music is the focus, which at this stage of the night is becoming a bit blurry. We best be moving on…
The 3 Clubs (1123 North Vine St. 90038)
And now into Threes. Similar in décor and styling to the Dresden, The 3 Clubs was, according to their website, ‘the original Hollywood martini lounge’. Now it’s a dark but not too dingy bar and live music venue. The music here is loud, the bands are not always good, but there is a back bar to hide out in if the hair and cymbals become too much. Get to know the bartenders and the pours will get bigger. Always remember to tip. You may find it hard to get served anywhere if you don’t. Which brings us to our final port of call…
Cheetahs (4600 Hollywood Blvd. 90027)
Ah Cheetahs. Yes, it is a club with dancing girls and poles. No, the girls don’t take it all off. Yes, you can get a lap dance there. No, I haven’t had one. Promise. There is something endearing about Cheetahs. It’s a place where the burlesque rub shoulders with long haired LA rockers, where as many girls come to party as do boys, where the Armenian Mafia comes to play and throw their money about, and where we, coincidentally, have our first LA residency gig. Every Wednesday in February you can see us, the band behind the girls. Tell mum we’ve made it.