When Ricardo Gieseken closed his popular Glendale nightclub Limon y Menta last January and moved eight blocks uptown to open a new dance club, he left behind more than just an old address and some used furniture. He also discarded Limon y Menta's generic ambience in favor of something with a bit more bite.
"We want to become a Hispanic version of the House of Blues," he says.
That goal is still a ways off for the Copacabana, Gieseken's new nightspot. But if the first three months are any indication, the eclectic club's journey in that direction figures to be a quick and entertaining one.
First, however, they'll have to deal with the local competition. Housed in the still-operating Stars Theatre, the Copa shares Glendale's inviting Brand Boulevard with two other Latin-themed nightclubs: Pappy's and Giggles. So to set their place apart, Gieseken and his partners plan to bring international acts to their intimate 650-person club one Thursday each month. Last week, for example, Puerto Rico's Eddie Santiago and Tito Nieves from New York, two of the biggest names in salsa, shared the Copacabana's tiny stage. Next month, Colombia's Grupo Gale will be there.
On most Thursdays, however, the club is given over to recorded salsa, merengue and Spanish-language disco while Saturdays feature live salsa and merengue from Yari More and his orchestra, the house band. Fridays appear to be something of a tribute to Gieseken's Limon y Menta days with a laid-back feel featuring rock en espanol, pop, reggae, techno and just about anything else you might find at a high school dance. In fact, the program is so different the club even changes names on Fridays, becoming Energy.