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HOLLYWOOD — To hear nightclub impresario Steve Adelman tell it, the era of the low-key lounge is over. What the world wants — no, needs — now is the bodacious superclub.
“We’ve gone through so much in the last two years. People are looking to go off and let loose,” Adelman says. “And there is nothing like the big nightclub experience: the mix of the people, the music, the excitement.”
This story first appeared in the October 2, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Excitement is a favorite word of Adelman’s who, along with co-owner John Lyons (and partners Brent Bolthouse and Dan Aykroyd), will mark the red-carpet opening Friday night of Avalon Hollywood, a new all-service club housed in the former Palace, the legendary Art Deco performance hall on Vine Street off Hollywood Boulevard, where artists as diverse as Judy Garland, The Beatles, Iggy Pop and Snoop Dogg have taken the stage.
Avalon is the latest — and biggest, in terms of square footage — supersized nightclub to breathe new life into L.A., from White Lotus and the Highlands in Hollywood to downtown’s resuscitated Mayan Theater. The renamed and renovated site will feature a slew of spaces for the democratic partygoer. There’s the souped-up main ballroom for concerts; Cafe Royale, a French bistro helmed by chef Todd English will be open 24 hours a day; the Spider Club, a VIP salon; upstairs cabanas appointed with PlayStation consoles, and the ultra-private “Townhouse,” which is actually a three-level apartment brimming with luxe comforts, tailored for musicians and their famous friends.
Adelman’s mission to intensify the way Angelenos club is not just a California effort. A New York Avalon opened Sept. 20 at the landmark Limelight space in Chelsea. Some 6,000 partiers crashed through the place until it closed at 10 a.m. the following morning (Avalon New York legally accommodates 1,800; Hollywood, 1,500). The bicoastal overhaul, including state-of-the-art digital sound and lighting systems (imagine a dance floor saturated in light resembling ocean waves) rang in at a combined $6 million. Adelman and Lyon also own an Avalon in Boston, and Lyon and his brother Patrick own 24 more restaurants and clubs in Boston and New York.
“In L.A., we set out to do something a little more intelligent,” Adelman explains. “You’ve got to entertain people, excite them. They travel. They have the Internet. They’re very savvy about what’s up. It’s not like it used to be 15 years ago.”
No, but the Avalon crew intends to serve the kind of drama and color that superclubs from Studio 54 to the Limelight were notoriously known for. The key, said Adelman, is creating a series of spaces to keep adventurous guests interested.
“It” boy Donovan Leitch has signed on as creative director of the Spider Club, a 300-capacity salon set to open next Wednesday and easily accessed by an outside staircase. Leitch will wrangle his cool well-known pals along with performance artists to create the vibe. Designer Samantha Crasco mined the Spanish-Moroccan style of early Sixties bohemian dens, complete with hand-hammered cocoon lights and rolling leather sofas.
It’s not so much about velvet ropes as it is about “reservations,” says Adelman, which will allow bold-face locals entrée. “Hey, it’s Hollywood. You have to act accordingly.”