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Club Scene : For Rockers or Recliners

August 12, 1994|CHERIE SAUNDERS

Some customers come to Lose the Blues on Wednesday nights to lose themselves in live poetry readings at 8:30, followed by live music until midnight. Others find the entertainment a backdrop to the coffeehouse's more important role of "home away from home" where one can unwind, talk to friends or study for a test.

THE SCENE: A cozy, living-room feel permeates the room, aided by hand-painted ceiling tiles designed by customers who feel the urge to add their personal touch to the coffeehouse. Whether you choose to sit at a table or nestle into one of the sofas in the sitting areas, you may look up and see a portrait of Stevie Nicks, Jimi Hendrix or John Lennon, an array of peace signs and words to live by, such as: "One day at a time." The walls are accented by framed articles written about the coffeehouse and by posters of musicians from the Beatles to John Lee Hooker. The menu offers baked potatoes, chili, soup, chips, fruit and--of course--coffee and tea. There are outside tables in the front and back of the club, mostly inhabited by smokers, who are not permitted to light up inside.

THE CROWD: "It's a good mix of people here," said A. J. Merrifield of Agoura Hills, who said he comes to Lose the Blues every night. "It goes from yuppie to grunge, to leftover beatnik."

THE POETRY: A local poetry group walks to Lose the Blues after its Wednesday night meetings to try out new material. Regulars and newcomers take to the tiny stage near the entrance and recite in styles from fiery to monotone, religious to lines unprintable in a family newspaper. One poet recited his entire collection with his back to the audience.

THE MUSIC: Live entertainment is offered nightly, in the form of jazz, rock or blues.

THE GOOD: Tom Miner, 22, of Westlake Village came to study for his biology final. "I find it more productive here because there's no TV," he said. "The music doesn't distract me, and there's lots of caffeine."

THE BAD: Ventilation is dependent on a ceiling fan and a fan by the door; there's no air-conditioning. "It's a little hot in there," said Tricia Carter, 28, of Thousand Oaks as she stood outside with her cigarette. "But it's worth the heat."

THE WORD: "One time, my friend and I were playing chess here," Merrifield recalled. "A huge group of eighth-graders came in and just stared at us. I looked at one and said, 'What?' And she said, 'You are soooo rad!' "

Lose the Blues, 28888 Roadside Drive, Agoura, is open from 5 p.m. to midnight every night. No cover or minimum. Call (818) 889-8009.

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