The team behind Los Angeles’ Teragram Ballroom has opened a new venue called the Moroccan Lounge at 901 East 1st Street in the Downtown Arts District.
Announced in August and set to launch with Canadian punk band Pup on Sept. 19, the Moroccan had its soft opening on Tuesday, Sept. 12 allowing press and future patrons a first look at the space.
The main music room is smaller than its sister venue, with a capacity of 275 versus the Teragram’s 600, with a bar stationed opposite a seating area of roomy booths and standing tables. There’s also an order window serving Moroccan-inspired food. The location’s history goes back — it’s one of LA.’s oldest liquor-licensed buildings.
As for entertainment, it’s a standing room-only space that will cater to up-and-coming talent, much like what was showcased Tuesday when D.C. indie rockers Tennis System and L.A. singer-songwriter Jaws of Love performed sets.
“It was important for me to open a little brother to the Teragram Ballroom — a fresh, sound-strong venue that supports bands, giving them that first step up to performing in a first rate, state-of-the-art venue,” said venue co-founder Michael Swier in a statement at the time of announcement. “A venue the size and quality of the Moroccan Lounge develops bands with the kind of professional attention and treatment they will come to expect as their careers gain speed and they play the larger, more venerable venues.”
The building was previously home to a well-known diner called Little Pedro’s, and according legend, was at one point a brothel.
Swier also co-founded New York staple Bowery Ballroom. His brother, Brian, designed the interior for the Moroccan, which he said was inspired by the building’s “existing Moorish style.” Duncan Smith will serve as principal talent buyer with Scott Simoneux and Johnny Beach (also of Bowery) overseeing bookings.
Other upcoming acts include BØRNS, Geographer, and Grizzly Bear, and events range from all ages to 21-and-over.