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SOCIAL CLIMES / UP ALL NIGHT

Taking the Lounge Act Outside

July 05, 1996|TRACY JOHNSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Claustrophobic clubbers tired of hot summer nights, listen up!

The Star Lounge is offering summer scenesters a breath of fresh air. Air conditioning courtesy of mother nature. A breeze sans the Bacardi.

Situated on a Santa Monica rooftop just blocks from the Third Street Promenade, the swank Star Lounge takes its name from, well, the stars in the sky. Though they may only be visible on a clear night, the outdoor club, adjacent to the Abiquiu Southwestern-style restaurant, has quickly become the latest place on the Westside to see and be seen.

"The outdoors are perfect for the summer," manager Sareb Kaufman says when he explains the hot spot's success.

At the Star Lounge, the jet set works the dance floor, a spacious patio sandwiched between four office buildings, as the deejays spin songs from the '60s to the '90s. Wallflowers survey the dance floor from the black-and white wicker chairs and patio furniture scattered across the rooftop and from the lounge-style deck overlooking the crowd.

The chic club is particularly happening on Saturday nights, so Michelle McConnelle figured it would be a great place to celebrate her 40th birthday. She invited 50 of her nearest and dearest friends for hors d'oeuvres and drinks in the private gallery room, situated next to the dance floor.

Robert Starkman, photographer with the party, concludes that the shindig is better than the best Kodak moment and an even better opportunity to try out his new camera. He circles the concrete dance floor, illuminated by white Christmas lights that hang from trees surrounding the dance floor, and captures the birthday girl having a blast.

"I've known her 23 years," Starkman says as he surveys his pal dancing to Aretha Franklin's "Respect." "We went to high school together in Pacific Palisades."

Perhaps the most interesting feature in this club is clips from old movies that provide a backdrop. Betty Boop bops in the background. Larry, Moe and Curly take turns knocking each other upside the head. And the Marx Brothers are larger than life.

The old reels play all night long on the back wall above the dance floor.

Star scenesters are a well-dressed set. Men wear dress shirts and slacks, women get dolled up and wear their favorite dress.

"This is the kind of place to have dinner and go dancing in the same place," Lisa Thompson of Santa Monica said. "It's just great."

*

* Where: The Star Lounge, 1413 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 236-0028.

* When: Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

* Cost: Cover, $10. Domestic beer, $3.50-$4.50; mixed drinks, $5-$7; grilled whitefish, $16.95; Enchiladas Papas, $15.50.

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