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Seating Arrangements

April 16, 1999

It's a tale of one party and two different experiences.

Guests at the opening of the Madison on Pine Avenue--Long Beach's popular restaurant row--filled the former bank building (originally raised in 1918) from one vaulted door to the other on Saturday night.

During the four-hour event, more than 1,300 people crowded into the eatery and watched as professional dancers did the tango, Charleston and swing to the sounds of a 12-piece orchestra.

The biggest crush was at the front door, where staff with clipboards meticulously checked their lists, separating invitees from those trying their best to crash.

Allison Smith of Aliso Viejo made it in but not far into the crowd. She had to stand most of the time, elbow-to-elbow, but said she enjoyed the madhouse atmosphere. When the throng proved too much, she steadied herself by taking in Madison's picturesque, 40-foot ceilings and large crystal chandeliers.

On the opposite side of the 10,000-square-foot supper club, Ron Boehner of Fountain Valley and his group, perched in a cushy booth, had a more relaxed time. Waiters kept coming by, serving baby beef Wellington, Pernod shrimp cocktails, five-nut tarts and champagne.

Smith, and others, learned something about the party scene. Be sure to arrive early and park yourself as close to the kitchen as possible.

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