Nightlife impresario Brent Bolthouse has already had a busy 2008. The founder of Bolthouse Productions (and SBE partner) took a touring version of his Sunset Strip nightclub Hyde to the Super Bowl (he also took Hyde to Sundance). Later this month, Bolthouse and SBE will roll out their new West Hollywood destination, Foxtail.
IS L.A. NIGHTLIFE BECOMING MORE LIKE LAS VEGAS, OR IS VEGAS BECOMING MORE LIKE L.A.?
Good question . . . it's hard to say. In Los Angeles, people are starting to spend more money on venues. We, as a company [SBE], take a lot of pride in things that we design and the design partners that we have. Now you have people coming to town like the Thompson Hotel Group who are spending money as well. So, in that way, we are catching up to Vegas.
HOW DID SUNDANCE AND THE SUPER BOWL WORK OUT?
It was great. We kept it exclusive . . . no photographers and no red carpet. We made it feel warm and cozy like the L.A. club. Obviously, it's hard to re-create that space [Sunset Boulevard's Hyde]. There was no "gimmick" at [the Sundance or Super Bowl parties]. It's more just like "sit down and listen to great music and enjoy yourself."
WHERE DO YOU THINK L.A. NIGHTLIFE IS HEADED? MORE EXCLUSIVE LOUNGES? OR MORE INCLUSIVE BIG CLUBS?
I think for the moment we're going to see smaller lounges. Like anything else, people will get bored of small and want to go back to big. But I think what's really great is that music is becoming relevant in Los Angeles again. Electronic music matters in Hollywood now.
HAS "THE HILLS" BEEN A GOOD THING FOR BOLTHOUSE PRODUCTIONS AND SBE? OR DO YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE WITH ALL THE NOTORIETY?
I think it's been a good thing. It's portrayed us in a pretty positive light and, at the end of the day, we're on the No. 1 show on cable TV, and I mean you can't be mad about that. You know? It's helped building the Bolthouse brand and the SBE brand. I knew ["The Hills"] would be successful, but I didn't really know it would become this phenomenon.
WHAT CAN L.A. BAR-GOERS LOOK FORWARD TO AT FOXTAIL?
Foxtail is going to be incredible. It's smaller than Area, but bigger than Hyde. The whole concept was to really re-create the golden age of Hollywood where there was a place where the entertainment business could call their own. You know? In the way that the Brown Derby was without, obviously, redoing the Brown Derby. We want a place that becomes part of the fabric of Hollywood -- part of the fabric of what happens in this town in the same way that maybe Dan Tana's has on the restaurant side of things.