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Heavy Breathing

At the Southland's First Oxygen Bar, You Are Strongly Encouraged to Inhale


Brace yourself: The next "So L.A." trend has arrived, and it's a gas! O2, the first food, drink and oxygen bar in Southern California, has opened its doors in the thick of the Sunset Strip.

O2, owned by Hollywood herb man Woody Harrelson, may be nestled in Hedonism Central between Barfly and Viper Room, but it's meant to be an "alternative bar experience."

"There's been a focus on naturopathy in the past few years for the over-40 generation with Deepak Chopra and others, but not for young people. We want to appeal to Generation X by combining healing elements with a party atmosphere," says holistic physician Richard "Doctor D" Deandrea, who co-owns O2 with Harrelson and his wife, Laura Louie.

Since opening last month, O2 has had a steady flow of celebs, club kids and the curious. The oxygen (actually oxygen-enriched air) is served through breathing tubes that trail out from hookahs in a cushion-filled room that looks like a cross between an ashram and an opium den.

At $13 a pop, it can be dispensed plain or spiked with lemon, lime or orange for an extra $2, or aromatic flavors "joy," "clarity" or "energy" for an added $3. After signing a release form, O2's customers experience a 20-minute session.

So, what's it feel like? Typically, a mild high, one that made one oxygen-therapy virgin feel, well, a bit "smiley."

Those wanting a liquid high might wander into the "herbar," designed to look like an underwater Mayan temple. The ubiquitous martini glass is well-represented here, but you won't find it filled with Kettel 1. Try instead the "Don Juan Colada" ($6), a nonalcoholic mix of frozen coconut and pineapple juices, catuba, muira puama and ginseng concocted as an herbal Viagra of sorts. O2's food is all vegetarian, organic and delicious.

A club room offers deejays and dancing on weekends, with yoga classes, activist meetings and nutrition lectures planned.

"We want this to become a place where people can hang out and learn about nutrition, herbs and meditation," Doctor D said.

O2, 8788 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.-4 a.m. (310) 360-9002.

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