Competition is fierce for showbiz largesse during event season. Venues all over compete with the latest sound systems, ultra-chic private dining rooms, of-the-moment food and drink and elevated service. Here are the latest party trends and the spots where premiere and wrap parties, product launches, celebratory dinners, meet-and-greets and award season events are welcomed year-round.
UP ON THE ROOF
Views and more views — it seems that everyone wants to be above it all. Here’s where you can take in city lights during private events:
The 174-room The Hoxton, Downtown L.A. hotel is on the southern end of Broadway and only blocks from the pro sports at Staples Center (home to the Grammys on Jan. 26) and Microsoft Theater’s 120 annual events. Set in a restored 1922-built, 10-story Beaux Arts building, it contains several purpose-built event spaces, from the view-rich outdoor pool bar and seafood-centric restaurant (Pilot) on the roof to the vignette-filled ground-floor restaurant, Sibling Rival, with Bohemian-style private dining room. 1060 S. Broadway, thehoxton.com
It took four years to remake Soho Warehouse’s 1916-built brick-and-concrete edifice on the edge of Los Angeles’ Arts District. Now open, the art-filled private club (and 25th “house”) has 48 hotel rooms in addition to a rooftop social space with pool deck, bar and terrace restaurant, all with views of downtown’s skyline. Members (and those sponsored by members) can host private events in the coming months. 1000 S. Santa Fe Ave., sohowarehouse.com
Popular on Variety
Opened in November, the 54-room desert modern-styled Silver Lake Pool & Inn from Palisociety of Palihouse Santa Monica and West Hollywood and Palihotel Culver City, is just what the neighborhood needed for socializing. Events can extend on multiple levels from the scenic upstairs pool deck with views of the Hollywood sign to the patio of Marco Polo Trattoria and Bar, the inn’s all-day-to-night, contemporary Italian restaurant. Up to 150 can be accommodated for passed appetizers and cocktails; 42 for seated dining.4141 Santa Monica Blvd., palisociety.com
Jetliner views through wraparound glass walls are the pull at Harriet’s, atop the 1 Hotel West Hollywood. Open to the sky, there’s room for up to 190 guests; arrival is by a dedicated elevator. Further west on Sunset Boulevard, the newly opened, 191-room West Hollywood Edition has double-height floor-to-ceiling windows and room for 88 at its rooftop lounge aptly called The Roof. 8490 Sunset Blvd., 1hotels.com; 9040 W. Sunset Blvd., editionhotels.com
There’s a bright and airy feel to Mastro’s Beverly Hills, the Penthouse perched above Beverly Hills. The revamped space has its own menu, a private dining room with wine wall and a relaxed indoor-to-outdoor flow. 246 N. Canon Dr., mastrosrestaurants.com
“Consumers are now educated about content,” says Todd White, founder of natural wine club Dry Farm Wines (dryfarmwines.com). Although there are approximately 700 natural wine producers out of the world’s 220,000 wineries, per White, there is an increasing demand for these smaller production wines (sparkling rosés are quite popular) made from organic or biodynamic vineyards, using native yeasts for fermentation, with no additives and minimal intervention in the winemaking process. For those seeking a wine-country experience in town, Pali Wines’ tasting room in L.A.’s Arts District can host up to 110 standing and 48 seated guests for those who want to try naturally produced pinot noir and chardonnay straight from the tap. Bottled wines by the glass are available, too, and selections change seasonally. 811 Traction Ave., paliwineco.com
In highly competitive markets, service needs to be “white glove, tailored, personalized concierge service,” when coordinating events for clients, says Sacha Tanha, Toca Madera’s corporate director of VIP services. Almost similar to a private club, event venues need to provide a dedicated team. The white-hot L.A. eatery just expanded to Arizona via the strategically divided, 8,000-sq.-ft. Toca Madera Scottsdale, designed with events in mind. 8450 W. 3rd St., 4736 N. Goldwater Blvd., Scottsdale, Ariz., tocamadera.com
Even at the largest venues guests and planners are requesting more sustainable events. As Chandra Allison, senior vice president of sales at the 7,000-room Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, says that plays out in several ways, from “innovative food and beverage options; with ways to reduce waste streams, whether it’s through donation programs, or offering more digital capabilities; inspiring attendees to choose healthier options; and helping groups plan programming that gives back to the communities they visit.” The city-sized resort has 350 meeting rooms alone, plus more than 30 restaurants, including the just-launched Majordōmo Meat & Fish (event capacities range from 28 seated to 325 standing), the latest restaurant from chef David Chang. 3355 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, venetian.com
The Beverly Hilton’s executive chef Matthew Morgan points to the mainstreaming of meat alternatives, including Beyond Meat or the Impossible Burger. “We are very conscious of food waste not only for our cost, but also to minimize our global footprint,” he says. 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, beverlyhilton.com
WIRED FOR SOUND
Guests want their personalized playlists. New venues build out their top-of-the-line sound systems to meet that demand, often with pro DJ turntables and mixers. At the tropical hued, 60-seat Pinky’s cocktail bar in Los Feliz, music is fundamental. There’s a DJ set-up at the ready and music programmed by Alex Rodriguez, who runs Coachella’s record shop.
South of Market Street in San Francisco, the 194-room Virgin Hotels San Francisco, in a nod to founder Richard Branson’s music business career, outfitted its two-story bar and restaurant Commons Club with a nightclub level sound system and DJ booth.
Some venues prefer to keep their location on the down low, creating a certain buzz. There’s no sign at West Hollywood’s Employees Only, adding an air of mystery to the L.A. enterprise known for its upscale cocktails and wide-ranging spirits list. Henry’s Room, which managing partner Tom Sopit describes as a “speakeasy within a speakeasy,” is tucked inside and features a brass-topped bar, low lighting, a fireplace and is a go-to spot for showbiz private parties (60 standing; 30 seated).
The team behind Santa Monica’s Elephante launched The Kassi Club in the spring, bringing a Mediterranean island vibe to mid-city. An architectural screen hides the interior, decorated in muted colors and natural fabrics. There’s room for 100 standing, 70 seated and the Greek-inspired menu is of-the-moment.