Hollywood event producers are often creatures of habit when booking award season shindigs. West Hollywood’s popular solid options — Soho House, Chateau Marmont and Cecconi’s — often win out because of their proximity to other preferred venues, as event hopping is standard practice. Per A-List Communications’ David Manning, like real estate, location is everything. “If it’s not the right place, (that) can steer people away,” the vet party planner says.
Ultimately, each awards season sees the debut of places while tried and true venues freshen up. Variety’s list includes some sites that can host smaller events, talent dinners or meet-and-greet social hours. Most have advanced A/V options — digital screening technology is on the menu as surely as mixologist-made cocktails. This year’s most significant trend in entertaining SoCal-style: super-sized and weather-proofed outdoor spaces.
Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., #195, Century City
An outdoor deck wraps around Westfield Century City’s Seasons 52, which is housed in a remake of the former Houston’s space. Opened in November and steps from the AMC Century City 15, the emphasis is on seasonal cuisine: top-notch ingredients prepared without butter, never fried. Two private dining rooms (32 seated) are outfitted with drop-down screens and separate sound systems. Buyout capacity is up to 500 with outdoor decks; the glass-walled, chef’s table room holds 12, and is a surefire hit for lunch meetings.
Contact: Monica Challingsworth, 323-513-6789
9201 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
Across Sunset Boulevard from BOA Steakhouse and the Soho House, RivaBella, the 8,000-sq.-ft., about-to-open Italian eatery inspired by Tuscany from the Innovative Dining Group (IDG), has just what Hollywood’s event planners seek: a grand, trellised outdoor space that can be completely enclosed, so no prime party real estate is lost to inclement weather. A two-story fireplace, signature dishes crafted by chef Gino Angelini, a wine cave that seats 60 outfitted with flatscreen TVs and a private, off-street entrance add appeal. A companion Chinese boite, which shares the same kitchen, will open in the spring.
Contact: RuthAnne Gibson, 310-271-6000, ext. 113
362 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills
Natural light fills the upstairs events room at Beverly Hills’ newest player, Doma. The private space has a 150-inch built-in screen with 7.1 Surround Sound and can host up to 80 guests. The plank wood floor and slate colored walls serve as backdrop for the restaurant’s casually elegant, California-influenced Mediterranean cuisine. Doma is the second eatery from Sonja Perencevic, owner of Dan Tana’s, and aims for that restaurant’s same level of expert service.
Contact: Francesco Greco or Sanja Vujanovic, 310-277-7346
Golden Road Brewing, 5410 San Fernando Road West, Los Angeles
The premise is modern speakeasy at L.A.’s largest craft beer brewery. The location: behind a secure door within the Golden Road Brewery’s pub. Already a gathering place for nearby DreamWorks Animation execs, Chloe’s private rooms are decked out in owner Tony Yarrow’s vintage beer sign collection and have the latest digital devices such as 120-inch screen with Blu-ray player inputs. Upstairs there are pool tables and a private game room. Capacity varies depending on space booked (12-75 capacity downstairs).
Montage Hotel, 225 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills
Providing a rarefied vibe for cozy fetes, £10 is the exclusive by-reservations-only bar within the Montage Hotel on the loft level above Scarpetta. Up to 30 guests can sip on rare spirits (sample the Macallan 22 years) and sup on small plates. The outdoor space has all the attributes of a grand palazzo balcony with comfortable seating, built-in heaters and sparkly views of downtown Beverly Hills.
Contact: George Nickels, 310-860-5811
176 North Canon Dr., Beverly Hills
The go-to spot for Hollywood fetes has reconfigured its private dining rooms to make them brighter and more inviting. Interior designer Waldo Fernandez’s deft touch is quite evident in the gallery (faced with French doors overlooking the South of France-reminiscent patio with retractable roof) and the two other private rooms separated by floor-to-ceiling folding doors that expand and contract per the guest count. A private bar and entrance welcomes groups of 15 to 550 guests.
Contact: Alexandra Morrall-Pribuss, 310-777-3711
Hotel Casa del Mar, 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica
Although beyond the WeHo-Beverly Hills’ event axis, the private dining room at Catch at the Hotel Casa del Mar is ideal for a post-Spirits’ award nosh or to entertain the thesps and execs who bunk at Casa or Shutters next door during awards season. With views of the beach and Pacific, the secluded room seats 16 and has a hidden built-in digital screen. Sven Mede (formerly of Michael Mina restaurant group in Las Vegas) is the hotel’s new chef; expect an emphasis on seafood and farmers’ market-to-table ingredients.
Contact: Simon Sorpresi, 310-581-7724
Wetherly Event Space
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, 300 S. Doheny Dr., Los Angeles
The remodeled indoor/outdoor space has new tile floors that look like stained hardwood and an expanded, permanently covered patio and walkway under heat lamps. For receptions in the Wetherly Room, 80 guests is the capacity, 60 for sitdown luncheon or dinner. Oversized glass sliding doors add to the expansive feel. Larger events (QVC’s Oscar weekend telecast, for instance) can expand across the leafy, semi-tropical garden.
Contact: Jennifer Rebello, 310-786-2212
Pali Wine Co. Tasting Room
116 East Yanonali St., Santa Barbara
One of the 17 wineries on Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine trail, Pali Wine Co.’s recently opened, ultra-modern tasting room is just west of the 101 and close to State Street’s movie theaters. There are four rotating wines on tap; Pali’s Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays stand out. Up to 75 can fit into the streetside space that has a view-rich rooftop.
Contact: Stacey Rosser, 805-560-7254
Bacara Resort & Spa
8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta
The oceanfront, 78-acre, 354-room resort has myriad amenities from its spa and services to fine dining at Miro. On-site is a 211-seat screening room that melds with the resort’s 25,000 sq. ft. of meeting and events space. (The Santa Barbara Intl. Film Festival hosted a black-tie fundraiser honoring Robert De Niro at the resort in December.)
Contact: Jennifer Lindblom, 805-571-3107
Workshop Kitchen + Bar
800 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Suite G, Palm Springs
A stylish newcomer to Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District, Workshop Kitchen + Bar is located in the landmark El Paseo building. The restaurant’s look is industrial chic, with a private dining room that seats 20 that’s glass-walled and set off the busy outdoor patio — also inviting for receptions. Chef/owner Michael Beckman changes up the eclectic menu to reflect the seasons; cocktails are inventive and mixologist-made.
Contact: Jolene Greenbaum Peterson, 760-459-3451
1800 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs
Brilliant hues and some of the best dining in Palm Springs distinguishes the almost year-old Saguaro, a 245-room Joie de Vivre-managed property on East Palm Canyon Drive. Inside is El Jefe (Mexican-flavored menu and tequila bar) and Tinto, a Spanish eatery, both from “Iron Chef” Jose Garces. Tinto’s various sections, privatized by blonde wood lattices, and outdoor patio, lend themselves to relaxed gatherings. El Jefe’s sports and more than 125 kinds of tequila.
Contact: David Curell, 760-969-6470
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