YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


A.D.: It's a Name to Live Up To

The talents behind the Playroom reopen the venue and serve notice of their intentions.


With A.D., an ambitious Hollywood nightclub on Highland Avenue, we begin a new era. Its three owners, Art and Allan Davis and Cheryl Rixon-Davis, set out to create an ultimate clubbing experience we haven't seen the likes of before. A.D. is sexy and decadent, cinematic and lavish, a hard-core nightclub for the new millennium.

The Davises weren't content to rest on the laurels of such successes as the Gate and the Lounge, two major L.A. hot spots. They wanted to rock, in a big way. Three years ago, they bought the Probe, which at the time was L.A.'s greasiest nightclub. It was transformed into a fabulous pop art venue called the Playroom, and along with such hot club promotions as Cherry and Scream, bands like Buckcherry and the Cult put it on the map. But when a fire torched the Playroom a year ago, the Davises decided to take advantage of the situation and turn things way up. Thus, the birth of A.D., which debuted with a sold-out Club Cherry in December.

Combining the rich look of Parisian cathedrals, European manors and hecho en Hollywood fakery, they've aggressively gone after L.A.'s rock and glamour set to winning effect. A.D. is a labyrinth of sorts, with hidden nooks, lounges and too many flirting vantage points to count. The three-level nightclub features dramatic mahogany walls and open, cathedral-style windows that allow you to peer into various rooms. A downstairs prison, set up like a dungeon, adds a touch of camp and provides the backdrop for many out-there performances.

The concept of merging decadent European elements with Hollywood camp is no accident. While a scene of "Rush Hour 2" was being filmed at the Gate, the Davises met set designer Eddie Esparza, whom they enlisted to give A.D. its over-the-top drama. The main room is flanked by bombed-out pillars. Water walls shield VIPs tucked away in hidden booths. In addition to the dramatic flair, they added two smoking patios and a third bar.

In just a few short weeks, the 600-capacity club is already home to numerous popular dance and rock promotions. Club Cherry's back on Fridays, and it's a feast for the eyes: Wild rockers and colorful drag queens mill around in A.D.'s dark Euro-glam settings. It all works, in a weird way. "Remember when the Who and the Rolling Stones went out and bought their first English manor homes but had no idea how to set the table?" asks Cherry promoter Bryan Rabin. "That's A.D. It's got all this decadence and poshed-up opulence, but then it just throws it away."

In many ways, A.D. is an extension of the Davis' other popular hang, the Gate. That gothic West Hollywood restaurant has been a favorite for nearly a decade, and many of its long-term promoters are building new scenes at A.D.

Wednesdays and Thursdays have dance club nights featuring successful Gate and Lounge promoters, and Bolthouse promotions, which already has hot Wednesdays (Las Palmas) and Thursdays (the Lounge) going, is moving in on Saturdays. With the imminent return of Scream, which may make its debut with a performance by Marilyn Manson, things will only get hotter.

A.D., 836 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, (323) 460-6630. 21 and older. Cover varies.

Los Angeles Times Articles