Issue: Fall 2013
Party Venues for the Holidays
Star-studded parties and shimmering nights on the town are an integrated part of Los Angeles culture, and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood nightlife creates a mystique that many people dream being a part of - even if just for a few hours. Hollywood is a party destination with options as limitless as your imagination. Chances are you’ve heard of these locales, but choosing the right spot for an office holiday party, black tie gala, or a sublime 21st birthday bash can be daunting. As the saying goes, it’s location, location, location, and as we head into peak party season, here is a sampling of the many destinations that can make your special evening one that will keep people talking in the months and years ahead.
If you’ve settled on a theme—and variations on the Hollywood theme are endless fun—the choice of location follows. Much depends on your budget. Themed parties remain a popular staple and offer guests the opportunity to enjoy planning before the party even gets underway. To get truly decked out for a real red carpet experience, there’s the Hollywood Museum to consider. Situated in the Historic Max Factor Building, this gorgeous Hollywood Regency art deco building was purchased in 1928 by legendary makeup artist Max Factor as his Hollywood headquarters. The museum has played host to a variety of special events through the years, and can easily customize an event for as few as 20 people to as many as 650 of your nearest and dearest. The flexible event space can also be used for trade shows, book launches, corporate retreats, or automotive events as the elevator has the ability to transport a vehicle or large displays.
Sometimes Hollywood suffers the rap of being too fake or plastic. But what if some of the guests at your next bash were made of, say, wax? Now picture yourself and 20 to 1,500 of your guests mixing and mingling on a swank Hollywood rooftop terrace with some of Hollywood’s A-list celebrities—or think of the photo op when you snap that picture of your boss whispering in Marilyn Monroe’s ear after a few glasses of champagne.
Sure, Madame Tussauds is a museum, but party people that it has an expansive terrace that can serve as the backdrop for your corporate holiday party, brand launch, wedding or cocktail reception. “Madame Tussauds is an unexpected party destination,” explained Jenny Dempsy, the events manager at Tussauds, “With a starlit rooftop space in the heart of Hollywood and over 125 figures, the venue definitely offers something no place else can.” Madame Tussauds boasts more three levels and 12 specially themed rooms. If the sky’s the limit you can choose to buy out the whole venue for the evening, open a few bottles of champagne and tell your life story to Johnny Depp or Clark Gable. You’ll know you may have had one glass too many if they start to share theirs with you.
How about a pool party in Hollywood? Some of the best parties take place poolside, and what better venue than the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel to practice your best Esther Williams or show off those hard-earned abs? A lush oasis in the heart of Hollywood, the Tropicana Pool Bar wraps itself around the celebrated David Hockney pool. This retreat has played host to Hollywood’s “it” crowd both day and night with exclusive pool parties, intimate gatherings and large-scale special events. The Spanish style hotel, built in 1927 and financed by Louis B. Mayer, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford offers a number of banquet rooms - including the elegant Blossom Room, site of the first Academy Awards. The hotel is rumored to be haunted by Hollywood nobility including Montgomery Clift and Marilyn Monroe (who lived there for two years). But it’s really the romance that sets this venue apart - and if romance is on your party menu, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more romantic spot than the The Gable Lombard Penthouse, located on the top floor of the hotel and purported to be where the legendary affair between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard began. The Penthouse can accommodate up to 150 people, and is the perfect setting to channel your inner movie star.
You can’t get more Hollywood than staging your party at Hollywood’s Paramount Studios, and it’s the only location in Hollywood that can give you New York! The New York Street backlot offers your guests a chance to party in the Big Apple without the hassle of getting on an airplane. Paramount also offers sound stages, park settings, two theaters, a blue sky tank (with or without water!) and of course the famous Bronson Gate. Paramount parties offer the opportunity to let your imagination run wild and make your event a true “blockbuster”.
Just a few blocks away from Paramount, there’s an all party venue that is a relative newcomer to Hollywood. The Taglyan Complex on Vine seems like a private retreat. The garden is reminiscent of an Italian villa, with cypress and olive trees and a huge tiered fountain. It’s a serene and picturesque spot for a cocktail reception, and the adjacent foyer can serve as an elegant place to mix and mingle, but it’s the grand ballroom that is the attention-getter at Taglyan. A stunning 5,000 square foot circular stained glass ceiling is flanked by marble pillars and crystal chandeliers. If you are thinking European palace for your party, this location is as close as you can get has the added bonus on easy on-site parking.
For an option where live music can play front and center, the jazz club at Catalina Bar and Grill on Sunset near Highland could be the destination to make sure your bash hits all the right notes. A celebrated live music destination for years, and is an equally comfortable spot for an intimate birthday celebration with a dozen of your closest friends or a big corporate soiree. The venue can accommodate up to 235 guests, and they have access to a wealth of incredible musicians, so your party can jump, jive and whale the night away to a full band or bliss out to the romantic tunes of a single performer.
Also on Sunset Boulevard, the Cat & Fiddle has one of the best outdoor spaces in Hollywood - maybe even all of Los Angeles. This nicely tucked away British pub is located in a 1929 building that once housed part of the set from Casablanca. The venue works equally well for day or evening parties, and you can opt for one of the cozy indoor rooms - but it’s the Spanish courtyard, melodic fountain and twinkling lights on the patio that sets this destination apart and make it a wonderfully versatile spot that works equally well for a company event, birthday party or wedding brunch.
Another interesting indoor/outdoor option is Sadie Kitchen and Lounge. Just off Hollywood Boulevard on Las Palmas, Sadie has a sleek sophistication and ambiance that would lend panache to any party. The stunning patio courtyard has a state-of-the-art weatherproof fully retractable roofing system. Jennifer Laskey explains the allure of of the space, “Sadie is such a beautiful and unique space for events because it has that outdoor Bohemian glamour that Angelenos love, but without the worry of inclement weather ruining an event.” Sadie can accommodate all types of functions from small intimate dinners of 20 to mixers of a few hundred to large scale buy-out events for up to 400.
On Cherokee, one street over from Sadie is Boardner’s. For the past seven decades, this place has enjoyed the patronage of Hollywood elite from the days of Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power and actress Elizabeth Short (who had her last drink Boardner’s before becoming the legendary “Black Dahlia”) to Heath Ledger and Russell Crowe - Boardner’s has stood the test of time. Boardner’s B52 Club offers an antique art deco bar, 22 foot ceilings and Moorish arched windows and iron scroll work with a VIP loft and dance floor that could keep your bash rocking through the night.
Hollywood has it all right here. An intimate party with close friends or a fabulous fete with a few thousand—old Hollywood glam or new Hollywood sophistication—it’s your party! Or in the immortal words of Ray Charles, “Hollywood Party! Get up! Get out! Get in it! Hollywood Party! Nobody sleeps tonight!” DH