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South Bay Nights

A super supper club opens at the beach. So when you're all dressed up, you'll have someplace to go.

July 30, 1998|TRACY JOHNSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The South Bay never really has been a cultural mecca when it comes to night life. Neighborhood pubs and beach watering holes have always outnumbered venues that offer fine dining or dancing, and finding a place that offers both has been even more of a battle.

Finally there is a place at the beach where the two coexist. A spot where the people dressed to impress outnumber those donning denim and where martinis and mixed drinks are ordered more often than cerveza.

Hermosa Beach has gone Hollywood with the opening of Pointe 705, an upscale supper club created in the style of the old eateries that offered people a place to spend an entire evening. The opening of Pointe 705 gives those living near the sand and surf a reason to avoid the drive into town.

The place is a class act unparalleled by any other venue at the beach. Pointe 705 is a gorgeous establishment on the site of the old Descanso Restaurant and Pier Bakery that uses all of its 9,400 square feet perfectly and attracts people of all ages.

Pointe 705 uses Art Deco designs and French artwork in its two main areas. The establishment has a restaurant and a nightclub that are separated by a bar in the entryway, a sleek humidor where cigars can be prepared and lockers rented and an outside patio where smoking is allowed.

Voila, the restaurant, is a polished room with leather booths and soft candlelight. French and Continental cuisine are served Tuesday through Saturday nights (brunch only on Sundays) and a live jazz band provides a mellow backdrop until 11:30 p.m. Patrons there just to listen can sit around the bar.

The nightclub is called Pointe 705, and though it's as nice as Voila, it offers a much more casual atmosphere than the restaurant. Lighter fare, mostly California cuisine, is available here, and there are plenty of tables and booths where it can be enjoyed.

When the nightclub is swinging, the place feels a lot like the Derby. The booths overlooking the dance floor and the soft candlelight are reminiscent of yesteryear, and much of the dancing clientele dresses in the style of the 1940s, with saddle shoes and suspenders.

In the nightclub, a diamond-pattern design spreads across the top of the walls and is met at the bottom by a shiny mahogany base. The spacious hardwood dance floor is one of the biggest in town, and the stage attracts a wide variety of entertainment nightly.

On Tuesday nights at 7:30, the nightclub features free salsa lessons for an hour, before a large band plays into the wee hours. And on Wednesdays it's the same thing with swing.

Live music is featured Tuesdays through Saturdays, and the cocktails are always flowing. Pointe 705 serves up signature martinis with names like Voila, Swing, All That Jazz and Scotland Yard along with well-known vodka drinks like the original martini and Cosmopolitan.

The dress code is casual-elegant, and though nice jeans are not forbidden, there aren't many folks wearing them. Sneakers are a definite no-no.

Pointe 705 is worth the drive to the beach, or staying put if that's where you live.

BE THERE

Pointe 705, 705 Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach. (310) 372-9705. 21 and over after 9 p.m. Cover varies. Full menu; dinner served Tuesday-Saturday, brunch only on Sundays.

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