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CLUB REVIEW : Cramped Blue Saloon Takes Its Music Seriously

March 17, 1994|HEIDI SIEGMUND

One of the first things a newcomer might notice upon entering the Blue Saloon is that the patrons appear to be having an inordinate amount of fun. Absent from this North Hollywood night spot are the posing and snubbing one typically endures at some of the tonier Westside venues.

Good thing, because there really isn't any room for it. The 6-year-old club adds a new dimension to the word cramped : The 100-capacity room holds two pool tables, a long bar, a dance floor, a raised platform, a makeshift stage and an alarming amount of beer paraphernalia. The Blue Saloon should be subsidized by American breweries for displaying more hops and barley signage than possibly any other bar in town.

But somewhere underneath the beer flags, stuffed Spuds McKenzies and product-placement pool-table lights is a nightclub that takes its music seriously. The Blue Saloon offers a comfortable--if somewhat confined--haven for live rock, country, rockabilly and blues, and a recent set by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies added camp to the list. The eight-member group skillfully switches between post-punk songs celebrating body parts to the "Rocky Horror"-like show tune "I Was a Teen-Age Brain Surgeon."

If you're not out to hear live bands, however, find a different watering hole, because from the front-door entrance to the behind-stage bathrooms, there's no escaping the music.

* Blue Saloon, 4657 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood . Cover varies . (818) 766-4644.

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