Issue: Issue Winter 2008/2009

Star Is Reborn: The Kress Hollywood

The 38,800 square foot 5 floor complex will add sparkle to the continuing Hollywood revitalization - revelers can even take in the city lights and the stars above by enjoying a full 360-degree view of the famous Hollywood sign from the rooftop lounge.You’re more than likely to see some movie and TV stars too, as this is already the hottest place in town. The Kress contains a pan-Asian restaurant helmed by world renowned Chef Troy N. Thompson, two clubs (a basement level lounge and a live entertainment and dance floor), a third level banquet area and VIP Lounge, and then there is the spectacular rooftop lounge complete with lime green chairs, hazy blue lighting and seven private cabanas.

Each cabana has a personal server and table assistant, both of whom are at the ready with caviar and flat breads, although guests and visitors can get into the spirit at any time, anywhere - there are full service bars on every level. The dining room is lined with massive mirrors – who’s that sitting over there? - and an impressive red chandelier looms high over the center bar.

Getting a reservation in the 298-seat main dining room is easy (dinner is taken late it seems) although it’s worth remembering that unless you have your own line of perfume or are a regular on a TV show, getting onto the roof is going to be almost impossible. For nearly 60 years this incredible art deco structure was the landmark flagship location for Frederick’s of Hollywood, a lingerie business that was started in 1946 by Frederick Mellinger (inventor of the push-up bra and the unique “Hollywood Corset”) saw many stars of music, televison and movies wearing his creations, as well as many more hopefuls gracing the pages of his catalog. Two years after Frederick’s closed its doors in 2003 and moved just a few blocks nearby to Hollywood and Highland, The Kress stepped in and decided to take this historical masterpiece back to its original 1934 architectural brilliance.

By following the “Guidelines for the Treatment of Historical Structures” and carefully unveiling and refurbishing this gorgeous venue back to it’s original state, The Kress now proudly showcases the original 1930’s marble stairway, brass railings, ornate Italian-designed ceiling and an art deco façade. New owner Mike Viscuso, founder of Visco Entertainment Collection - one of Southern California’s largest nightlife and entertainment groups - spoke of hunting down the original blueprints at UCLA, such was his determination to honor the building and its Tinsel Town history.

Nicknamed the “King of the Gas Lamp” after turning San Diego’s gas lamp district into a booming night life mecca, he even commissioned Frederick’s of Hollywood to design the uniforms for the dancers at the club and named his new venture “The Kress” as homage to the original tenant and owner, S.H. Kress and Co., a nationally-recognized retail chain store which operated in this location until the late 40’s. S. H. Kress & Co. was a “five and dime” chain - a galaxy away from this new, multi-million dollar venue - and was originally started in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, by Samuel H. Kress in 1896. The stores became a familiar sight in most cities and towns across the country, and their classic architecural design was often as well known as their cheap prices and their record label, Romeo Records, which operated in the 1920’s and 30’s. Artists featured on the label included the Mills Brothers, and discs cost just 25 cents each. Today, the Kress Building on Hollywood Boulevard is again delighting visitors of all kinds; it’s mix of classic art deco sophistication and a high energy atmosphere has quickly made it a velvet rope destination. Hollywood “It” Girl Paris Hilton has already given it the seal of approval, holding a Masquerade Ball to celebrate her new television reality show “My New BFF” there. “It’s more than just a restaurant or bar,” Viscuso told the LA Times. “I’m bringing back the old glitz and glamour of Hollywood.”