By  on January 10, 1994

LOS ANGELES -- From January (post-Christmas movies) through May (early summer movies), it's traditional downtime in Los Angeles -- with a brief resumption of activity in March (Oscar parties). But despite the current slump in movie-related events, there actually is some buzz below the surface -- and that's where the best things usually are in this intentionally superficial town.


A few tenacious promoters are keeping the nearly dead L.A. club scene crawling along. Bryan Rabin and Jimmy Medina do a one-nighter on Saturdays called Highball in a small place on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. Jaye Davidson hangs there when he's in town, and so do the hipper local actors, film and fashion types.

Brett Witke, the man behind nightspots B.C. and the T-Room, just opened a club on Sunset Boulevard across from the Chateau Marmont called Union. Open from Wednesday to Saturday, it features a private back room hidden behind a sliding bookcase. Like Highball, it's more about chatting and eating than dancing.

Despite River Phoenix's death, The Viper Room is still getting the Gen X crowd -- in fact, more than ever.

Thirtysomethings are checking out The Derby, a dinner/jazz club in the Los Feliz neighborhood that also features a gospel brunch the first Sunday of the month.

Jazz and blues are picking up steam -- The Hard Rock NY's Isaac Tigrett and Dan Aykroyd are readying a blues club in Venice to open by spring.


Chic expensive places come and go in L.A., but the medium-range funky watering holes are thriving in the (hopefully) last days of the California recession.

Swingers coffee shop is still the breakfast hot spot, the Emporio Armani restaurant is hottest at lunch and upscale Bikini in Santa Monica is adding a lower-priced, simpler food space called Abique. Fred Eric, a former chef from The Olive, is about to open a place called Vida in Los Feliz that will feature lots of vegetarian dishes, interesting design and a private party room. He says it looks like "a cross between a Viennese tearoom and an opium den." Lavish Drai's on LaCienega continues as the celeb den of choice.

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