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WANNA DANCE?

Thursday Is All the Rage at the VIP-Light Roxbury

June 17, 1993|ROSE APODACA | Rose Apodaca is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition.

It's been four months since the opening gala at Roxbury in Santa Ana; even longer since the media blitz began--with reporters speculating on everything from the club's financial outlook to which Hollywood stars would frequent it. So what can we expect now that the dust has settled and this sister club to L.A.'s legendary nightspot has gotten down to business?

Not the regular appearance of '90s brat packers from the 90210 set--although management insists they do show up occasionally, as do others who have had their 15 minutes in the limelight, such as pop star Gerardo ("Rico Suave").

(On the subject of Rico Suave-types, be warned: They check out more parts here than an auto shop.)

And despite claims to the contrary, the VIP room upstairs is really quite uneventful, unless you're into staring at a bunch of bored thirtysomethings and listening to rich kids talk about bringing their cellular phones to the restaurant below. The hottest thing in here is the fireplace. And to boot, the bar in the VIP room is only open Thursday through Saturday, so to get a drink you have to push your way past a beefy bouncer and the desperadoes trying to get in.

But those of you who care less about who and more about what's up should consider Roxbury a place to rage, especially on Thursday nights, which is the hottest ticket of the week. Independent promoters Derek Gebo, Robert Frias and Dan Barrett co-host the evening, which usually draws more than 1,000 fashionable partiers. The trio operates under Indigo Productions, which has created such past and present successes as Avalon, Land of the Lost and Indigo.

If dancing is your thang , Thursday is the night to go. DJ Enrie, known for his Power mixes for the radio station by the same name, packs them into the upstairs discotheque, spinning everything from hip-hop to commercial dance to old skool. (He also spins Saturdays). Thursday is also the only night that the downstairs bar, which usually features live bands, gets transformed into an additional discorama, featuring '70s fare. The scene really kicks in after 10:30 p.m., when DJ Sean Perry takes over. The folks still streaming into the club and straight to the lower room at 1 a.m. apparently have figured this out.

Thursdays are no different from other nights in terms of the steady parade of limos rolling up to the valet stop and the strategically parked designer autos. But the place is really less intimidating than it seems.

The celebrity sightings and a crowd that, according to the management, comes primarily from L.A. converge on Wednesdays. The promotion team Artist Groove Network puts on the night and is responsible for Tuesdays at Roxbury North, which is that club's biggest night, and the jumpin' Saturdays at Orb, also in L.A. Wednesdays is also Roxbury's more relaxed evening, when reggae bands set the mood downstairs and the doormen allow neat sneakers, T-shirts and shorts. (Too bad designer Shawn Stussy didn't know this before he was turned away a month ago, on a night other than Wednesday, for sporting just such duds.) Upstairs, DJ Rob Harris plays anything recorded in the last 20 years that's great to dance to. Harris also works at the other Roxbury, as well as Shelter, Dragonnfly, and Orb.

Crowds on Wednesday and Thursday nights tend to be mostly in their early 20s; Friday and Saturday seems to draw those in their late 20s and 30s. A factor could be the cover charge, which is higher on weekends, but whatever the reason, weekend nights don't pack them in as one would expect.

If you do go on a weekend, you'll find blues bands entertaining folks downstairs, while upstairs you can expect to boogie to anything R & B of a disco variety, old and new. DJ Roly of Disco 2000 fame works his magic on Saturdays.

Tuesday marked the opening of Roxbury's fifth night. Co-hosted by David Rickey XS Promotions, the club promises to hold those oh-so-exciting searches for models ("Be a model or just look like one . . .") and bands will be featured in the bar downstairs.

Bottom lines: On any night of the week, the club doesn't get going until after 10 p.m. The overall fashion statement here is dress trendy to impress, not to shock. And no matter the night, there are too many men with gym-sculpted bods flexing it in vests and little else.

And visit the ATM beforehand. There are plenty of opportunities to dole out the green: valet, $3 plus tip; coat check, $2; individual cigarettes, 25 cents (a pack is $3). Well drinks start at $4 and, depending on the premium level, can go up to $11; beer sells for $2.75 to $4.50; wines by the glass are $4 to $6.

* ROXBURY

* 2 Hutton Centre, Santa Ana.

* (714) 662-0880.

* Bar and nightclub are open 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

* Cover: Tuesdays, $5; Wednesdays, $5; Thursdays, $7; Fridays and Saturdays, $10.

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