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BIZARRE: BOOGIE NIGHTS | SO SOCAL

Where Hollywood Hangs

March 22, 1998|Heidi Siegmund Cuda

Forget power breakfasts and the tactful sipping of mineral water: The citizens of Hollywood are getting loaded again. The chosen children who set glamour trends while making crazy cash for studios can only behave for so long before polite sobriety gives way to dam-bursting chaos. There are limits: falling out of doorways is still considered passe, and don't even bother showing up without a D.D. (designated driver). But if you're looking to sink a Gibson or two at venues with some cleverness in their composition--and some familiar faces from the screen--check out . . . .

GARDEN OF EDEN--Eden doesn't make the cut because Hugh Hefner chose the new Hollywood nightclub to debut his pending singledom. Or that Alyssa Milano, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and that LeBlanc guy have crossed the threshold. This plush nightclub edges out the competition on style alone. Walk through its grand doors and see designer Margaret O'Brien's modern-day interpretation of Rick's Cafe Americain, the nightclub created for "Casablanca." The only tragedy is you won't find Bogart and Bergman.

*

C BAR--This snug Beverly Hills caviar and vodka bar has all the right moves--and devotees like Robbie Robertson, artist Ed Moses and Patrick Dempsey (who celebrated his birthday here). The look harks back to the '30s, with classic Deco shapes and sandblasted windows shimmering under a tin ceiling that changes color with the capriciousness of a mood ring. It all feels so good, it should come with attitude. It doesn't.

*

LUCKY SEVEN--The winning combo of pork chops and Vegas. Sure, it sounds obvious now, but Lucky Seven was three years in the making and worth the wait. The 2-month-old Hollywood supper club keeps things simple with its limited menu, jazzy music and a ceiling that seems ready to envelop you in its curves. Jeff Goldblum plays jazz here, and Tobey Maguire, Patricia Arquette and Nicolas Cage have dropped by.

*

EL CARMEN--Why do people wait in the rain on 3rd Street to gain entry to this tequila and taco bar? Because they're itching to get inside, just like every other venue created by Sean MacPherson, who, with previous partner Jon Sidel, built some of L.A.'s most vital restaurants and nightclubs (Small's K.O., Jones, Swingers, Good Luck--all of which could still make this list today). The secret to Carmen is in the extensive selection of tequilas and the vintage Mexican wrestling portraits. Fans include Matt Damon and Rose McGowan.

*

SKY BAR--This nifty bar at the Mondrian on the Sunset Strip gets bashed by Hollywood club crawlers, and there can only be one reason: They aren't on the guest list (though presumably Jerry Seinfeld, Tori Spelling, Naomi Campbell, Kristin Scott Thomas and all the Rolling Stones entered unmolested). But don't dismiss Sky Bar just because it takes a little strategy to get inside. Go on an off night and enjoy the view. It's worth it.

*

CHEETAHS--As chill as a strip bar comes, with more hipsters than you can twirl a pasty at--regulars include Sofia Coppola, director Spike Jonze and Drew Barrymore. Cheetahs in Hollywood gives exotic dancing a good name. It's not terribly classy, but it's not desperate either.

*

GRAND VILLE--What's a kid who grew up in the clubs of Hollywood to do? Open one himself. Actor-producer Josh Richman and Rick Calamaro's orgiastic Thursday night club at 7969 in West Hollywood has thrived for three years and shows no signs of slowing. Every celebrity under the night sky has made his or her way over to this weekly staple, which features a Richman-emceed striptease after midnight and dancing to hip-hop before, during and after. The coolest thing about Grand Ville is the ease with which divergent Hollywood cultures meet and greet. Yes, we all can get along.

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