When the Mint closed down last year, the venerable L.A. institution was gasping its dying breath. Spotty booking and a deteriorating reputation with performers had taken their toll.
So Todd Christiansen, who owns 14 Below in Santa Monica, saw an opportunity and took it. "I bought them out," he says of the previous owners. "They're not a part of it anymore."
In its mid-'90s heyday, the Mint was a singer-songwriter haven under the watch of Jed Ojeda, a music-business veteran who made sure that up-and-coming artists like Macy Gray and the Wallflowers were taken care of. Christiansen wanted Ojeda to return.
"I got the call from Todd, and I was just ecstatic that the club was back in good hands again," says Ojeda, who will be booking the club with Wood Fowler, another longtime L.A. promoter.
A redesign included a new sound system and renovated green room. In a move that may cause controversy among some, they gutted the club's studio and instead installed a VIP room with bottle service. The main room's metallic bar was replaced by a concrete one, and the whole club got a face-lift. And Christiansen also hired tapas chef Matthew Gladstone to overhaul the menu.
The club had a soft opening a few weeks ago; Ojeda and Christiansen say that they're waiting to book the right act for a grand opening. For now, they want to "reestablish the Mint as a melting pot for new talent," says Ojeda, who name-checks the Hotel Cafe as a venue that's doing things right. "It's not about getting bands in at a certain time, or seeing how many people they draw -- it's about creating atmosphere."
Where: 6010 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.
When: Nightly, except Sunday, from 7 p.m.
Price: Cover varies
Info: (323) 954-9400