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UP ALL NIGHT / SOCIAL CLIMES

It's One Red Hot Spot

November 26, 1995|LAURA GALLOWAY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Since opening in February, the Red restaurant has made its niche on Beverly Boulevard as yet another hangout for trendy Angelenos of all ages.

Nearly every day a mishmash of patrons gather to nosh at the restaurant's outdoor tables. Drive by and you can't miss the spot where MAC lipstick and those shag haircuts--popularized by the television show "Friends"--reign supreme. And if the patrons don't grab your attention, the eatery's giant red facade that favors the labeling on a red Crayola crayon probably will.

As a coda to the restaurant's success, two months ago owners David Reiss and Michael Gans opened Red Eye, a bar adjacent to the restaurant that's fast proving to be a draw for customers ranging from neighborhood locals to employees of CBS' television city a few blocks away.

While the restaurant is designed with simplicity, Red Eye's hallmark seems to be irreverence. A bloodshot eyeball the size of a volleyball hangs above the bar's understated neon sign. The front windows are blacked out to create an air of mock mystique.

Irreverent, too, is the name. "We were fooling around with names one night and 'Red Eye' just stuck," Reiss says. "It was our idea of a hangover and staying up late."

However, the inside of the tiny bar (it seats only 40 people) has little in common with the images associated with late nights of rollicking. The bar has a strict no-smoking policy, and the clientele and decor tend to lean more toward the ravishing than the ravished.

Deep padded red leather booths lead up to a polished red mahogany bar complemented by stark white leather bar stools and red light bulbs. Save for a giant sunfish sporting a top hat on Red Eye's east wall, the bar possesses a trendy elegance.

"There's a warm vibe in this place," says patron Alice Cravens as she sips a beer at the bar. "It's like, if I had the money, it's probably how I'd decorate my house."

The bar has a variety of beers and wines but serves no liquor.

The bar shares a doorway with the Red restaurant, which can be a blessing or a curse. On the up side, hungry Red Eye patrons can partake in Red's full menu.

On the down side: Red Eye is sometimes used as an overflow room for the restaurant, so reservations are required to secure one of Red Eye's booths on Friday and Saturday nights.

"It's probably the smallest bar there is," admits Reiss. "But it's usually full."

*

Where: Red Eye, 7450 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (213) 937-0331.

When: Closing hours vary according to capacity. Doors open at 6 p.m. and are scheduled to close at midnight on weekdays, 1:30 a.m. on weekends.

Cost: Beer is $3.50-$10.50 per bottle; wine, $4-$5.50.

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