Monica Racz, 23, poses near entrance and welcomes guests to Confidential… (Jay L. Clendenin, Los Angeles…)
In Beverly Hills, one can shop at the finest upscale luxury boutiques and dine at world-renowned restaurants, but one thing that's not so easy to find in the middle of all that fancy is a genuine nightclub. Owners of a just-opened lounge called Confidential aim to change Beverly Hills' sleepy reputation via a European-style clubbing destination to rival similar clubs in West Hollywood and Hollywood.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, November 20, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 59 words Type of Material: Correction
Confidential Lounge: In an article in the Nov. 18 Calendar section about a newly opened lounge in Beverly Hills, a production error caused several names to be changed. Actor Alain Delon's name was misspelled Aloin Delos; partner Sasha Poparic's name was misspelled Sashay Polaris; DJ Avicii's name was misspelled Vici; and DJ David Guetta's last name was misspelled Gutta.
"We want a little bit of night life to return to Beverly Hills," says co-owner Solomon Moss.
"There are very few places to go here after midnight," adds the 33-year-old, who was born in Rome but raised in L.A.
Megan Roach, marketing manager for Beverly Hills, is well aware of the city's nightclub gap. It has lost late-night business to West Hollywood as a result, though it does have a fair number of smaller bars.
"We're making an active effort with our business community to increase night life," she said, noting that the expected opening of the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in 2013 may increase demand for late-night fun in the area. Although Roach said she was not familiar with Confidential, she noted that the city was "taking a look" at how to add nighttime options outside of what's available at hotels.
In early 2010, a team out of Las Vegas tried to create a club inside the Beverly Hilton Hotel with the sleek Bar 210. It managed to stay open just a year before fizzling in February.
Moss and partners have a superior location in the former Aqua Lounge space in the heart of the city (on Beverly Drive), which boasts a bit of foot traffic, several large hotels nearby and a team of well-known hosts. Allison Melnick, friend of Paris Hilton and host of successful nights at rival clubs such as Trousdale, holds court on Thursday evenings.
Moss sees Century City, Beverly Hills and Westside singles tiring of the increasingly chaotic and cluttered scene in Hollywood -- opting instead for a night out closer to home.
On a recent Tuesday evening, Confidential was jammed with exactly the kind of clientele the club hopes to court: the roving French Tuesdays party, which boasts wealthy expats and well-off locals who spend big when out on the town.
There are advantages to going out past 11 in the tony city. In an inverse of the typical daytime outing on Rodeo Drive, partyers arriving late to Confidential were greeted with free street parking as far as the eye could see.
The experience at the modern yet simple downstairs hang is essentially the same one found at analogous clubs such as West Hollywood's the Beverly and Trousdale. Yet owners aim to offer just enough of a twist to entice a select crowd (yes, the velvet rope is here) to make the sojourn into Beverly Hills late at night.
For starters, the white-walled club greets early arrivals with a female lounge singer crooning alongside a white grand piano, offering jazz standards such as "Fever" and takes on recent hits such as Kings of Leon's "Sex on Fire."
"It's something different," says Moss of the early evening entertainment, the warm-up to dancing later.
Everywhere one looks at Confidential, aspirational elegance is in the air -- from the dressed-up lounge act to cocktail waitresses decked out in white chiffon cocktail dresses, to the black and white prints of Grace Kelly and French actor Aloin Delos gallivanting around Cannes in the 1960s. Moss' partner, Sashay Polaris, was raised in Switzerland and the European touches are evident.
Later at night, however, Confidential becomes indistinguishable from any other L.A. nightclub, with DJs spinning house music (including Vici and David Gutta) and patrons dancing near booths reserved for bottle service.
Part of the strategy of Confidential also depends on well-heeled tourists staying in nearby hotels such as the Peninsula and the Montage.
"Ideally, what we want to do is have people who will develop relationships with the concierges at the hotels," said Polaris.
"I don't know much about Confidential, but our guests all want to go to a celebrity-driven place with a scene," said Valerie Steinfield, a concierge at Thompson Beverly Hills. Famous faces are a selling point. "It's the No. 1 thing people want," she added.
"Sometimes they say, 'Is there a nightclub nearby?' And we have to say no," she said.
Now she can say yes. It remains to be seen if Confidential can keep drawing the steady stream of actors and models that make such a scene run. But the city and local club-goers already seem to be pulling for them.
Where: 424 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills
When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Price: No cover, but dress code enforced
Info: (310) 275.8511; www.confidentialbeverlyhills.com