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Dining and Dancing Make for a Boogie Night

November 17, 1994|CHRISTINA V. GODBEY

Nightclubs don't usually have the best reputation for adventures in dining. But Philip Cummins, owner of the supper club Renaissance, has found a way to mix his passion for good food and dancing.

Patrons can start out an evening of dining and dancing with a meal prepared under the direction of chef Jose Noel, formerly of Tatou, who has put together a menu combining the tastes of Provence and Asia. Appetizers range from $5 to $9. Entrees include a grilled vegetable plate for $10 and a terrific lamb shank for $15. The dessert tray is also not to be missed.

After a meal, diners can burn off the calories on the dance floor, which is the club's heartbeat.

Every Tuesday night, the Boogie Knights hit the stage to perform a meltdown of disco tunes from the 1970s. On all other nights, deejays spin the tunes. The music ranges from the latest hits to hip-hop and retro.

The club "has good music and a good crowd," said Derek Malmsten, 27, of Los Angeles. "I come here usually with a group of people and dance."

Cummins, a graduate of Claremont-McKenna College, said he has always been a night owl. Although the former investment banker began his career doing mergers and acquisitions, he always felt that his best energy came after midnight. While juggling a banking career, he opened the Crane Club in New York City in 1986 with his brother. They went on to open Spy Club in Washington, D.C., and the Merc in New York City.

In 1990, Cummins gave up his banking career so he could manage the clubs full time. The Ohio native, who has lived in Los Angeles since 1982, decided to try his luck on the West Coast.

"I didn't want to compete with Hollywood," said the 30-year-old entrepreneur. "I thought there was the demand on the Westside because there were no upscale, attractive clubs."

After a two-year search, Renaissance opened in 1993. Located near Wilshire Boulevard on the Third Street Promenade, the 10,000-square-foot club has 26-foot ceilings, large windows and a dramatic fountain in the middle of the dining area. There are two bars and a VIP room that has its own elevator and entrance. It also serves as something of an art gallery, displaying various pieces from the Robert Berman Gallery.

"I think it's a great idea to have a restaurant and club together," said Marina del Rey resident Audra Chavira, who was at the club Saturday night to help celebrate a friend's birthday.

Renaissance, 1313 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 6:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission is $10. Reservations for dinner are suggested. Information: (310) 587-0766.

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