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The Call of the Local Wild

Late-night L.A. can be intimidating, but these spots are about good times for all.


OK, so the last time you went a'clubbing, fanny packs were in, it was OK to wear Dolphin shorts in public and lighting up to Skynyrd was your form of rebellion. Don't fear, Club Girl's here with hot tips for anyone who wants to tiptoe around Hollywood night life but may be uneasy about the clubland cluster.

Who can blame folks for being timid about the ever-changing club scene? You can't go here on Saturday, you can't get in there on Friday, you're not on the list, you are on the list but the doorman's still giving you the stink-eye.

What's an out-of-the-loop clubber to do? Dust off your Elton John-era platform boots (they're stylish again!) and follow the mellow brick road to an all-access nirvana:

I giggle each time I hear someone knocking Saddle Ranch Chop House, a Gilley's-themed bucking-bronco boogie bar and restaurant in West Hollywood because it looks like something out of Dollywood. I giggle, because the Saddle Ranch Chop House is a brilliant concept, and I hope its owners, Larry Pollack and Tom Dillon, are making money hand-over-hoof. Any night of the week, guests can revel in abandon in a cowboy joint. Reasonably priced, fattening American food is served late, and clubgoers can chew the cud and watch guests filled with liquid courage test their prowess on a mechanical bull. Giddy-ap.

At CityWalk's Howl at The Moon, guests can witness dueling pianists do a musical comedy routine that's sometimes political, sometimes silly, but generally amusing. The best part, however, is that the pianists bring out the zaniness in guests, so it's quite likely you may watch the stuffed shirts you came in with stripping down as if they were starring in their own "Ally McBeal" episode.

Believe it or not, on Fridays and Saturdays, those wanting to dance can do so by walking up to the door at Crush Club at the Continental and handing over money. Just pay your 10 bucks and get in. It's a great spot for those who really want to dance the night away to Motown and disco, without having to kiss up to a doorman. In Hollywood, doormen are like cops--some are good, some are bad, but you'd better be nice to all of them. And at Crush somewhere 'round midnight, dozens of pizzas are delivered and anyone who's maybe had a wee too much to drink can fill up on cheese till they rediscover their sea legs.

You don't have to be superfly to get into the Dragonfly. In fact, each week, I pop into its Wednesday night club, called Pretty Ugly Club--Taime Downe and D'fly co-owner J.D.'s picture-perfect homage to all that is great about rock 'n' roll present. The scene was built here by youthful rockers--both boy and girl bands. Now the clientele's getting older, with plenty of record execs returning to their rock roots. But the young crowd continues to bum rush the stage. It's a win-win situation.

Daddy's is a bar at Hollywood and Vine, it's got all the right ghosts, and it's making all the right moves. While other bars in the neighborhood routinely close their doors for private events and others are too jam-packed for the non-scenester to feel secure, Daddy's is right down the middle. Cool but not hipper than thou, elegant but not off-putting, centrally located but not in a rundown neighborhood. Now, if only it'd start serving food.

Every story needs a dark horse, an entry that makes readers scratch their heads in ponderance: "Why Scream? Why a Monday-night rock 'n' roll club produced by an '80s promoter?" Glad you asked: First off, people have got to see the Play Room, the new name for what was once the crummy Probe. Now it's Probe as modern art, compliments of designer Ricki Kline and his nail-pounding posse. On Mondays, with little hassle, promoter Dayle Gloria will gladly take your seven bucks (when the Cult's not playing) and you will get to see some very good rock bands from the '80s, '90s and on into the great Too-Kay.

Addresses, prices, dates, Page 26.


L.A. Club Primer

* Heidi Siegmund Cuda tells the ins and outs of getting into hot clubs. Page 58.


"I really love the atmosphere at the Garden of Eden, a nightclub in Hollywood. I especially like it on Sundays, when they play hip-hop. You just have a great time."


First baseman, Anaheim Angels

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