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AT THE CLUBS

Fun and Entertaining, Cozy's Lives Up to Name

August 15, 1996|HEIDI SIEGMUND CUDA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

On the East Coast, they call it the "bridge and tunnel" crowd, the citizens of such New York outposts as New Jersey, Long Island and Queens who pour into Manhattan on weekend nights to frequent the clubs. In L.A., they call it the "valley" crowd, residents who hop on the freeways to populate Hollywood's music clubs.

Well, next time the much-maligned Valley-ites don't feel like driving too far, they might want to consider Cozy's, a new local gem in Sherman Oaks. Although the 4-month-old nightspot is touted as a blues club, its ambitions extend beyond mono-genre--from a regularly featured Elvis impersonator to the eclectic Hillbilly Soul Surfers, Cozy's keeps the entertainment varied and fun.

Living up to its name (the young nightclub's handle is actually derived from the name of its 29-year-old owner, Steve Rakoczy), Cozy's offers a very comfortable, friendly atmosphere. Its staff makes you feel right at home, even on the first visit, a rare treat in clubland.

The main restaurant area is separated from the bar, so smokers keep their distance but diners can still view the stage. And a separate back room has been turned into a three-table billiard hall, which despite its nice upscale look will only cost you a buck per game.

The intimacy makes it a nice place to see traveling blues acts and the cover charge is generally modest. A current regular is blues singer B.J. Sharp, who usually performs every couple of weeks, and special upcoming benefits include Sunday's Elvis tribute, a benefit for multiple sclerosis and Aug. 25's pediatric AIDS benefit, "The Cosmic Hot Sauce Festival," led by performer and Trinidad-born hot sauce "guru" Clive, who will be dishing out samples of spicy edibles as well as performing reggae songs he created for each of his special sauces.

* Cozy's, 14048 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. All ages (18 and over in billiard room), cover varies. (818) 986-6000. Closed Mondays.

*

The Buzz: The Derby's planning on a smokin' three-year anniversary party on Sept. 17. Along with "surprise musical" guests, the Los Feliz swing club plans to launch its own cigar brand, made by downtown L.A.'s La Plata company, a "fine cigar" maker since 1947. . . . Great Monday tip: The Nightwatch (at the corner of Sunset and Vine) is hosting a free series by the lethal lounge combo of deejay Senor Amor and performance artist Joey Sehee, who has put together an eight-piece "sock-it-to-me-a-go-go" orchestra, which features ex-X drummer D.J. Bonebrake on drums and glockenspiel.

* Derby, (213) 663-8979; Nightwatch, (213) 871-2995.

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