There's something so American about a club called Yankee Doodles being owned by entrepreneurs from Uruguay, Argentina and Italy. That's the case with the Woodland Hills location of the popular nightclub chain, whose owners--Argentine native Raul Da Costa, Italian-born/Canadian-reared Frank Bartolini and Andreas de Leon of Uruguay--teamed up three years ago to open a Yankee Doodles in the Valley, and the rest is capitalist history.
Yankee Doodles, which has three other Southland locations--the original Long Beach site, the trendy Santa Monica location and the 2-week-old Marina del Rey venue--has tapped into a tradition as American as trailer parks and auto racing: the urban meat market.
Like such chains as Black Angus and the Red Onion, Yankee Doodles is a popular stop for the single guys and gals to find a bit of romance. One of the original founders likens it to a "Chuck E. Cheese for adults," while De Leon thinks of it more in terms of a "Disneyland for grown-ups."
No matter how you slice it, Yankee Doodles offers something for the suburban everyman. The two-level Woodland Hills site, which takes up 20,000 square feet, is like an over-the-top sports bar. With music coming at you from every nook, the hot spot comes equipped with 22 pool tables, 35 TV and video monitors, a full restaurant and bar, an outdoor patio and a separate dance club. No such hangout would be complete without some KROQ tie-in, and disc jockeys Richard Blade and Scotty Boy make a weekly appearance on Wednesdays, spinning '80s flashbacks as well as current KROQ hits.
On Tuesday nights, Yankee Doodles goes gothic with "The Bog," an industrial and new wave theme night, while Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are packed with single guys and gals.
The outdoor patio features "lite" classic rock by singer Jay Bolan. The billiard areas, which take up most of the upstairs and downstairs portions, allow guests to choose their own music from a jukebox. Shooters can line up their cues to the best of Blondie, Tom Petty and Van Halen, for a bit of that late '70s, early '80s rock heyday vibe. Or they can opt for a softer, romantic touch with the collected works of Sade or Marvin Gaye.
Late-night revelers might enjoy the fact that Yankee Doodles serves food till 1 a.m., so you can dine, dance and play darts--there's also a slew of grown-up arcade games to choose from. While it doesn't offer anything particularly new or inventive as far as night-clubbing is concerned, it does offer folks a chance to find some fireworks of their own, and that's a tradition that'll never grow old.
Yankee Doodles, 21870 Victory Blvd., Woodland Hills, (818) 883-3030. 21 & over in nightclub, all ages when accompanied by an adult in billiard and restaurant. Cover varies (generally, $5 in nightclub; no cover in bar, billiard and restaurant areas).