Prime Events Draw Fans, Celebrities To The Key Club

January is proving to be a busy, glittering month for the Key Club. On Friday, Jan. 9 music fans lined around the block to see up-and-coming indie bands perform at the Sunset Strip venue.

Director Jason Reitman’s DJ act Bad Meaning Bad performed with Mitchell Schaffer and the evening featured Ginger and the headliner of the night — The Cool Table, a rock group that performs mash-ups live without the use of DJs.

George Clooney, Keanu Reeves, Katherine Heigl and the cast of the hit series “The Office” were spotted in the audience at the sold-out Key Club show.

Mitchell Schaffer, who coordinated the concert, plans to bring the show back to the Key Club in the spring.

Another event that is sure to drive high wattage star power to the Key Club is the 10th Anniversary of the Carnival Choreographer’s Ball, which will be held Wednesday, Jan. 28.

Carnival showcases the best in choreography and dance. It the longest running show in Los Angeles and now in London, New York, Sydney and Tokyo, spanning genres with routines in everything from ballet to modern dance, martial arts to hip hop.

With more than 120 dancers and 18 renowned choreographers contributing to the event, Carnival is a platform for the best talent in L.A.’s dance industry to exhibit the latest and greatest movement. A lifetime achievement award will be presented to producer, director, choreographer, actress and dancer Debbie Allen.

The event always attracts a celebrity crowd and tickets are in high-demand. Contact the Key Club to purchase your tickets today.


Photo information: Mitchell Shaffer performs at the Key Club Jan. 9
Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Murlless

Sunset Strip Business Association And House Of Blues To Host Neighborhood Reception

The Sunset Strip Business Association (SSBA) and the House of Blues Sunset Strip will host a neighborhood reception on Wednesday, January 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the House of Blues located at 8430 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. The reception will provide the opportunity for residents and businesses to have an open dialogue about the Sunset Strip and Sunset Strip Business Improvement District.

Residents and business representatives from Sunset Boulevard and surrounding neighborhoods are invited to attend. The Sunset Strip Business Association was created in 2002 to oversee the Sunset Strip Business Improvement District, which is an assessment district that aims to improve the business and neighboring residential environment in the area adjacent to Sunset Boulevard by providing security, street maintenance, public outreach and marketing for the Sunset Strip. The SSBA seeks and encourages business and resident participation and input on its programs.

“The reception is a wonderful opportunity to meet your neighbor residents and businesses and talk about issues that are important as a stakeholder of The Strip,” noted SSBA Executive Director Todd Steadman.

Steadman, along with SSBA President Jim Uhl and Security Director Kris Zagyva (Block-by-Block), will be available to answer questions about The Strip and discuss upcoming SSBA programs at the reception.

For reservations, please contact the SSBA at 310.659.7368 or info@thesunsetstrip.com.

Sunset Strip 2008 Holiday And New Years Eve Guide

The lights shine a little brighter and the carols rock a little harder on the Sunset Strip. From shopping along the glittering boulevard to innovative restaurants and spectacular music events, the Sunset Strip invites you to add some spice to your holiday season.


Thursdays at The Standard
Dec. 4, 11 and 18
8300 Sunset Boulevard | 323.650.9090 | www.standardhotels.com
Enjoy a live DJ and food and drink specials from 6–9 p.m. while relaxing in The Standard’s Cactus Lounge.


Pussycat Dolls at the Viper Room
Dec. 5, 6, 19, 20, 26 and 27
8852 Sunset Boulevard | 310.358.1881 | www.viperroom.com
Naughty and nice, the Pussycat Dolls bring some extra cheer to The Strip.


Steel Panther at the Key Club
Dec. 8, 15, 22 and 29
9039 Sunset Boulevard | 310.274.5800 | www.keyclub.com
Rock out this holiday season with famous ’80s heavy metal comedy act Steel Panther.


Camp Freddy at The Roxy Theatre
Dec. 9, 16 and 23
9009 Sunset Boulevard | 310.278.9457 | www.theroxyonsunset.com
Camp Freddy ushers in the holiday spirit with a December residency at The Roxy Theatre. You never know who may stop by…


“Tuesday Tastings” at One Sunset
Dec. 9, 16, 23 and 30
8730 Sunset Boulevard | 310.657.0111 | www.the1group.com
Indulge in executive chef Jason Marcus’ “One of Almost Everything” tasting menu every Tuesday night. For only $45 per person, satisfy your cravings with five courses sampling the menu, and for one dollar more, complete the dining experience with a bottle of select wine.


Live Nation Presents Zappa Plays Zappa at The Roxy Theatre
Dec. 10, 11, 12 and 13
9009 Sunset Boulevard | 310.278.9457 | www.theroxyonsunset.com
Dweezil Zappa leads an extraordinary band during a four-night stay at The Roxy Theatre. Each night features a unique set filled with Frank Zappa classics and more.


Jim Norton at the Viper Room
Dec. 12 and 13
8852 Sunset Boulevard | 310.358.1881 | www.viperroom.com
Comedian Jim Norton takes over the Viper Room for two nights. Early and late show sets both nights.


Carrie Fisher Signing at Book Soup
Dec. 16
8818 Sunset Boulevard | 310.659.3110 | www.booksoup.com
Legendary actress Carrie Fisher presents and signs “Wishful Drinking” at Book Soup, 7 p.m.


Ozomatli & Chali 2na at the House of Blues Sunset Strip
Dec. 18, 19 and 20
8430 Sunset Boulevard | 323.848.5100 | www.hob.com
Latin-infused, rock, funk, hip-hop, jazz hybrid Ozomatli headlines a three-night stay at House of Blues with founding member Chali 2na.


A Holiday Stroll at Sunset Plaza
Dec. 19 and 20
Sunset Plaza Drive at Sunset Boulevard
An evening of good, old fashioned holiday cheer featuring a musical performance by Definitely Dickens Hol¬iday Carolers, late night shopping and complimentary hot chocolate and baked goods from Buttercake Bakery. At Sunset Plaza, 6–9 p.m.


BLT Steak Christmas Eve Dinner
Dec. 24
8720 Sunset Boulevard | 310.360.1950 | www.bltsteak.com
BLT Steak will feature a special Christmas Eve menu with delectable offerings such as chestnut apple and celery soup with sage croutons and crème fraiche; wild mushroom risotto; roasted legs of lamb with olive tapenade and rosemary and confit lemon jus; marinated Alaskan baked cod with Acacia honey and parsnip puree; maple whipped sweet potatoes; and snow white layer cake with cranberry compote and Grand Marnier reduction. Please call for reservations.


Holiday Meal at Cabo Cantina
Dec. 25
8301 Sunset Boulevard | 323.822.7820
Cabo Cantina celebrates the holidays with an all-you-can-eat holiday meal with turkey and all the sides for only $6.95. Or stop by for our famous two-for-one happy hour from 4–8 p.m. Open normal business hours, 4 p.m.–midnight, on Christmas Eve and Day. Cabo Cantina is also accepting reservations for holiday parties. We can customize our menu to fit any need or budget. Reserve a single section or the entire restaurant for your holiday party. Call our office at 323.822.0849 for more information.


Holidays at The Sunset Trocadero
Dec. 25
8280 Sunset Boulevard | 323.656.7161
The Sunset Trocadero is open Christmas Eve and Day and will serve a full food and drink menu until 2 a.m. Happy hour from 6–8 p.m. features half-priced drinks and specialty martinis. Sunset Trocadero is available for your holiday parties. We can custom cater our extensive menu to fit any needs or budget, offering tray passes and party platters for large groups. We can accommodate all sized groups by reserving the entire restaurant or a single section for your exclusive special occasion. For more information, please call our office at 323.822.0849. Let us make your holiday party unforgettable.


Grafton on Sunset
Dec. 1-31 8462 Sunset Boulevard | 323.654.4600 | www.graftononsunset.com
The Grafton on Sunset invites you to “Sleep on Sunset!” and rock on with super discounts this holiday season. Call today and receive 10 percent off your December stay. Plus, book more than two nights and look forward to a free upgrade. Offer based on availability and not valid with other offers or discounts. Party like a rock star by night, or sleep-in during the day at this hip West Hollywood hotel.




BLT Steak
8720 Sunset Boulevard | 310.360.1950 | www.bltsteak.com
BLT Steak presents a special New Year’s Eve blackboard menu, with options including Maine lobster bisque; roasted “Millbrook” venison loin with chestnuts, braised savoy cabbage and huckleberry-juniper sauce; marinated Alaskan black cod with Acacia honey and parsnip puree; truffled mac n cheese with a parmesan crust; and strawberry mousse cake with champagne gelato and chocolate dipped strawberries. Please call for reservations.


BOA Steakhouse
8462 Sunset Boulevard | 323.650.8383 | www.boasteak.com
BOA Steakhouse offers an early and late seating for New Year’s Eve dining. The 6 / 6:30 p.m. seating will feature the normal menu, while the 9 / 9:30 p.m. seating features the full menu as well as a four-course pre-fixe option with a champagne toast at midnight ($125 per person). The lounge is open to the public.


New Year’s Eve Fiesta and New Year’s Day Brunch at Cabo Cantina
8301 Sunset Boulevard | 323.822.7820
Enjoy Cabo Cantina’s famous two-for-one happy hour from 4–8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Cabo will be open for extended hours from 4 p.m.–2 a.m., and will open at noon on New Year’s Day for a brunch featuring bloody marias.


Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood
1020 N. San Vicente Boulevard | 310.358.7788 | www.gordonramsay.com/gratthelondonwh
Reserve your place at the table and enjoy either a five- or seven-course gourmet dinner at the celebrated Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood. The early 5–8 p.m. seating features five courses ($85 per person), while the later 8:30–10 p.m. seating features seven ($130 per person).


Snoop Dogg at the House of Blues Sunset Strip
8430 Sunset Boulevard | 323.848.5100 | www.hob.com
Spend New Year’s with music icon and rap superstar Snoop Dogg.


8877 Sunset Boulevard | 310.657.8100 | www.islacantina.com
Isla will be transformed into a glittering champagne cantina featuring south of the border influenced California cuisine and fabulous drink specials all set to an electro house beat.


8439 Sunset Boulevard | 323.650.8585 | www.katanarobata.com
Katana offers two seating times for New Year’s Eve dining. The first seating at 6 p.m. features the regular menu plus specials. The second seating at 9 / 9:30 p.m. features a five-course dinner with dessert and a champagne toast at midnight ($150 per person). Non-diners may enjoy the DJ and dancing on the patio ($25 at the door, includes one drink).


Mirabelle Restaurant
8768 Sunset Boulevard | 310.659.6022 | www.mirabelleonsunset.com
Celebrate at Mirabelle’s annual New Year’s bash, featuring a DJ and three-course dinner with a champagne toast ($89 per person). Nonna of Italy 9255 Sunset Boulevard | 310.270.4455 Nonna of Italy invites you to enjoy a cozy, comfortable meal this New Year’s. Call to verify reservation times.


One Sunset Black Tie And Lingerie Masquerade Ball
8730 Sunset Boulevard | 310.657.0111 | www.the1group.com
Enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres from 9–11 p.m., a champagne toast at midnight, special guest DJ and an open bar. Pre-sale tickets are available for $100, or $125 at the door. Bottle service packages are also available.


Rainbow Bar & Grill
9015 Sunset Boulevard | 310.278.4232 | www.rainbowbarandgrill.com
Join revelers at the Rainbow’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration.


Indie 103.1 Presents The Wailers at The Roxy Theatre
9009 Sunset Boulevard | 310.278.9457 | www.theroxyonsunset.com
Ring in 2009 with legendary reggae group The Wailers.


SkyBar at Mondrian Black And White Masquerade Ball
8440 Sunset Boulevard | 323.650.8999 | www.mondrianhotel.com
Always in style, the renowned SkyBar features a New Year’s Eve bash complete with a fashion show by bebe. For tickets and table reservations, email skybarla@morganshotelgroup.com.


The Sunset Trocadero
8280 Sunset Boulevard | 323.656.7161
The Sunset Trocadero features a happy hour with half-priced drinks, specialty martinis and champagne until 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Full food and drink menu served until 2 a.m.


Sushi On Sunset East/West Fusion
8264 Sunset Boulevard | 323.656.8377 | www.sushionsunset.com
Indulge in innovative sushi while experiencing the history of The Strip through colorfully named drinks and dishes.


LA Riots / Mattie Safer at the Viper Room
8852 Sunset Boulevard | 310.358.1881 | www.viperroom.com
Set the dance floor on fire this New Year’s Eve with LA Riots and Mattie Safer.


New Years Eve Rock N’ Roll Celebration at the Whisky A Go-Go
8901 Sunset Boulevard | 310.652.4202 | www.whiskyagogo.com
The Strip comes alive at this legendary rock and roll venue.


Photo courtesy Bob Friday

Los Angeles Institution Los Lobos Still Impresses At House of Blues Sunset Strip

No impartiality here; I love Los Lobos. They’re a Los Angeles institution, and one of the world’s most consistent and enduring rock bands. Together almost 30 years, the band still rocks and has never lost touch with its roots.

The House of Blues was rocking on Friday, Dec. 12, with two private parties upstairs, as well as a full house with DJ in the Foundation Room. The restaurant, which just keeps getting better, was hopping, too. And with a heavyweight act in the main room, the night’s energy just kept building. After checking out another L.A. rock and roll icon, Dave Alvin and The Blasters, who were upbeat and really set the party mood, we went up to the Foundation Room for cocktails and to drink in some more of the evening’s flavor.

The room was buzzing, and the DJ was bringing hip-hop booty style. No dancing, yet, just a smattering of polite semi-rhythmic gyration, but the December Elite was hanging in the upper dining room so it was a safe bet the night was going off sooner or later. We finished off our respective drinks and took those wooden stairs with the stellar view of the city down to the big room for the main event.

Los Lobos began a little after 10 p.m., and they were in great form, as usual. The main room is divided into three sections, and you can choose how close to the music you want to be, or back it up a bit to hang out more socially at the bar in the back. The dance floor in front of the main stage was pleasantly packed with fans that were in for a treat. The band opened by alternating tracks from its The Town And The City album.

Classics “Maria Christina,” “That Train Don’t Stop Here” and “The Neighborhood” were joined by the newer “Luna” and “Don’t Ask Why.” After all these years, the band has balanced its ability to present prime material that their fans know and love — save for “La Bamba,” which apparently only comes out on special occasions — with a sense of showmanship. Being a great rock band comes with its own set of expectations, and living up to them is part of the process when providing a great show for your fans. Blowing those expectations away is the other part.

By the time David Hidalgo picked up his accordion for the opening strains of “Kiko And The Lavendar Moon,” the band already had the crowd dancing and celebrating, so phase one was complete. They kicked it into overdrive on the next three songs, including “Don’t Worry Baby.” Then Blasters’ singer Dave Alvin joined them on stage for vocals and a little guest harmonica to make it a full-blown party. Alvin’s passionate singing and energy was a great counter-point for Los Lobos’ strong, controlled musical thunder. Great to see two of L.A.’s own on stage together.

After two encores, the main show concluded downstairs, so we took it back up to the Foundation Room for drinks and to check in on the hip-hop and December Elite. True to form, the crowd had stayed, and so did we until closing time.

It was a great night with fantastic entertainment of all kinds from top to bottom at the House of Blues on Sunset Strip. With one of the all time best rock and blues bands in the House, we experienced this legendary venue in top form.

The Skatalites Original, Rich Ska Sound Resonates At The Key Club

The Skatalites returned to the Sunset Strip for another sparkling set of horns-infused ska on Oct. 19. Their sound – still super-rich and infused with the wisdom of the ages – is the deepest because it’s the original and the brightest, thanks to those blazing horns.

The original ska band of Jamaica opened its set around 11 p.m., and the good time, happy ska-skiffle dance-around ensued for nearly two hours. The band is funky, groovy, tight and joyous at the same time. Having played many of the venues on the Sunset Strip at some point – Whisky A Go-Go, House of Blues and now the Key Club – the band is a Strip perennial, as well as a reggae ska legend.

The Skatalites lineup has changed over the years, 44 of them to be precise, since the band first hit the state in 1964. Originally an 11-person outfit fronted by Don Drummond, Tommy McCook and Roland Alphonso, today’s 10-some is led by the lone remaining original, Lester “Ska” Sterling, and includes vocalist Doreen Shaffer, who brings a sweet and spicy, Ella-style voice to the proceedings.

Gently building on the energy of the first few minutes, and bringing the crowd along with them, the band’s vibe is celebratory and positive. Not going so much for the dance, but for the groove, they inflate the room from the bottom up, rather than going for the over-the-top, jump and pump your hand of the more aggressive maestro.

Running from early classics to the mid-career success of “Skavoovee” (on Shanachie) the band also introduced new compositions from its latest release, On The Right Track. All instrumental and infused with real ska and the essence of true jaxx. On its way to a peak around the one hour mark, the Skatalites launched into its all-time classic, “Guns Of Navarone,” taking their fans and those new to the fold to the evening’s first great high.

That marked Doreen Shaffer’s entrance into the proceedings. She and Sterling led things for a while, and took the audience through original compositions and reggae classics infused with their brand of ska.

A highlight was Shaffer’s soothing version of “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” the John Denver classic using the reggae vocal arrangement by Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals fame.

The band then took us up and out with an instrumental jam that showcased the evening’s crew and unleashed their immense individual talent. Truly an exceptional collection of music-makers, blending perfectly to create the fusion of reggae jazz and horny skiffle, the band delivered us the sweet confection of ska. A night of ska by the originators of the form: the Skatalites.


BLT Steak On Sunset Strip Tempts Your Palate And Eyes

I have been looking forward to visiting the new BLT Steak on the Sunset …

I have been looking forward to visiting the new BLT Steak on the Sunset Strip since the day it opened in March. Having been to the original, critically acclaimed location in New York, I was familiar with their incredible a culinary excellence. So having an outpost here in my hometown, in the house of the former Le Dome, was good fortune, good timing, and bound to be good for my belly.

Joined by my buddy Rich, in town from New York and also familiar with the original, we had a fantastic meal at what I consider the hottest and most accomplished new dining room in town.

We started with BLT’s huge crab cake, loaded with generous, fresh chunks of crab and served with a remoulade sauce and spicy slaw. The caesar salad was chilled and crisp, with fresh made dressing that’s slightly creamy and characteristically salty, and a big, soft-yet-crunchy crouton in the middle. We also split a side of sautéed, wild mushrooms and white corn, a daily special that was special indeed.

The space at BLT Steak is open and airy. With an outdoor patio, roomy dining area and an impressive, long bar on the west wall, the space is modern, communal, inviting. Exchanging Le Dome’s elegant intimacy for BLT’s elegant airiness is a fair trade, especially given how well the space fits the mood and that brilliant BLT cooking comes with the deal.

The atmosphere and culinary expertise attracted some star-studded indulgers as well. I spotted actor Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”) out with a few buddies, and as our steaks arrived, Denzel Washington dropped in looking very happy to be on his way to culinary bliss.

Stars in place, we launched into the main course, divvying up two house specialties — the 22-ounce grilled rib eye and braised short ribs. The rib eye was beautifully charred and grilled, served in a super-hot cast iron skillet and accompanied by a half bulb of roasted garlic and a smidgen of bone marrow, served, appropriately, in a bone. Delicious, full of flavor and grilled to absolute perfection.

The short ribs are also a flavor extravaganza — marinated and braised till crispy on the outside and tender within. Meat falls off the bone, and the texture is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The short ribs were served in a deeper cast-iron dish to contain the au jus. For sides, we opted for grilled asparagus, crispy and thin French fries, and out-of-this-world creamy spinach. First-class comfort food all the way. I’m a big fan of the sauces, and in addition to the spicy mayo that came with our fries, we opted for horseradish (perfect for short ribs), and my favorite, three mustards, which was right for dipping both asparagus and the fries.

For desserts — and dessert is as good as you might expect from this expert Gotham-based eatery — we opted for peanut butter chocolate mousse with banana ice cream. I recommend everything on the BLT dessert menu. On my first trip to the New York location with my sisters and cousins, we ordered half the desserts on the list and they brought us those and all the rest. Let me tell you, it all rocks the house.

If you’ve heard about this new bastion of excellence on the Sunset Strip and have been thinking about a splurge, or even if this is your first BLT tip, you should do yourself a favor and celebrate life with a visit to this vibrant venue. BLT Steak has been in West Hollywood less than a year, and it’s already a local favorite.

BLT Steak is located at 8720 Sunset Boulevard. Lunch is served Monday – Saturday, 11:45 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Dinner is served Monday – Thursday, 5:30 – 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5:30 – 11:30 p.m., and Sunday, 5 – 10 p.m.. For reservations, please call 310-360-1950.


Lotus’ Free-Spirited Performance Set The Tone For A Night On The Strip

I’ve loved The Roxy Theatre and its neighbor, the Rainbow Bar & Grill, ever since my first visit back in the ’80s. My girlfriend and I were grabbing dinner at the Rainbow before an event at the Roxy, and David Lee Roth stumbled past our table, spilling over the saltshaker. After a ten-minute confessional from the Dave, we all tossed some salt over one shoulder and got back to rock and roll.

A couple of decades later, the salty luck remains, and the Rainbow and Roxy continue to rock it on Sunset Strip. Last Thursday, Oct. 16, I joined my friend Rob and a group of his jam-band diggin’ friends for a triple-bill at the Roxy with groups Blvd., Region of Darkness and headliner Lotus. Following a solid set by the electronic-fused-with-rock-and-soul of Blvd., Region of Darkness took the stage and delivered a moving performance of post-electronic rock.

Influences are as diverse as the bandmates’ priors, which include keyboardist Steve Molitz (formerly with Particle and Phil Lesh & Friends) and Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction and Porno For Pyros alum). If the rock pedigree is solid, the performance ranged from strong to thundering. A highlight for me was a roaring Black Sabbath cover powered by guitarist Josh Clark and vocalist Adam Iscove, who later told me he had rehearsed the song for the first time the day before. Could have fooled me.

Following two top-notch performances, Lotus took the stage and delivered an outstanding two-hour set that had the crowd rocking and grooving from the first minute to the very end. A jam-band in the vein of Widespread Panic and String Cheese Incident, Lotus is an instrumental experience with serious peaks and very few, if any, valleys. The band has been touring the states and promoting their newest release, “Hammerstrike.”

The crowd was young and groovy, with more flower-power than the usual Roxy rock and roll night. I spotted Kevin Connolly of “Entourage,” who seems to be spending even more time on the Sunset Strip after opening new restaurant Cristoni Pizzeria with partners NBA stars Sam Cassell and Cuttino Mobley.

The Lotus show was a throwback, of sorts, to good, old-fashioned musical virtuosity, taking the audience on a danceable journey highlighted by outstanding musical moments, rather than wacky costumes or crazy histrionics. The band’s talent and cohesiveness was the beef, and it makes for a meaty and satisfying live show.

After the show, Rob and I dropped by the Viper Room for a little underground vibe and some entertaining people watching before heading back across town.


A Classic Hotel With Modern Twists

The Sunset Strip’s luxurious and unique hotels continue to raise the bar on unrivaled travel experiences with breathtaking renovations and sumptuous upgrades. The Sunset Marquis Hotel and Villas recently completed its final phase of construction on an unprecedented expansion by celebrated designer Olivia Villaluz.

The undertaking includes 40 new villa suites, a complete renovation of the property’s 12 existing villa suites, and a 3,200 square-foot, two-story presidential villa featuring a living room, executive office, two bedrooms, three bathrooms, poolside cabanas, full kitchen and dining room.

The updated villa designs incorporate Villaluz’s vision of modern, Zen-infused, casual yet elegant spaces and capture contemporary Hollywood glamour with warm, rich colors and plush fabrics.

“I want guests to walk into each suite and immediately feel the warmth that they experience in their own homes, but sense an element of richness at the same time,” she noted.

Accommodations at the hotel range from 100 spacious single bedroom suites located in the main building to 52 multi-room villa suites in 10 detached villas with private balconies and patios that evoke the architectural style of the south of France. Deluxe suites offer soothing views of the gardens and pool areas.

Also included in the upgrades is brand new RESTAURANT (at Sunset Marquis) with acclaimed Executive Chef Guillaume Burlion, a new spa and five acres of lush gardens featuring fountains and a koi pond designed by Garrett Carlson. The hotel’s world-renowned Whiskey Bar has also been re-christened Bar 1200.

And since this is the Sunset Strip — an entertainment and music Mecca — some the hotel’s newest upgrades appeal to the rock star in everyone. The underground parking can hold two full-size tour buses; a villa butler is on-call 24 hours a day; a private elevator was added for those wishing to escape the throngs of adoring fans; and upgrades were made to the hotel’s onsite production studio, NightBird.

NightBird, which is overseen by acclaimed producer/composer Jed Lieber, is available to all guests and is a feature unique to this hotel. It has been utilized by high-profile artists, including Aerosmith, Jeff Beck, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna and Josh Groban. In addition, the studio has serviced the production needs for several motion picture soundtracks.

A California landmark and haven to Hollywood and the international jet set since 1963, the Sunset Marquis Hotel and Villas was “boutique” before boutique hotels became an industry trend. The all-suite concept was pioneering when it opened, and it instantly became an attractive hotel for influential entertainment and music industry icons such as Lenny Bruce, Bill Cosby, Bette Midler and Estelle Parsons.

Over the years the hotel has become the premiere destination for the rock-and-roll scene while also luring notable actors, directors, photographers and fashion models, including The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Brad Pitt, Uma Thurman, Gabriel Byrne, Green Day, Depeche Mode, Jennifer Lopez, Slash and George Clooney.

For more information about the Sunset Marquis, or to reserve your stay, visit www.sunsetmarquishotel.com.

Newly Redesigned Mondrian Blends High-Style Glamour With Surrealist Fantasy

The Mondrian has received a vibrant renovation from acclaimed designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz that highlights style, glamour and surrealist fantasy as well as captures the heartbeat of the hotel’s unique surroundings.

The Mondrian Los Angeles opened its doors in 1996 with dazzling interiors from iconic designer Philippe Starck. The design united a quintessentially Californian embrace of nature, the casual, glamour and fantasy. Now, in 2008, Noriega-Ortiz has rejuvenated this beloved destination.

“The design of the hotel is so adored in the industry that I’ve heard the word Mondrian used as an adjective,” says Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz. “I didn’t want to eradicate Philippe Starck’s original vision, I wanted to build on it; I wanted to enhance it.”

Entering Mondrian through Starck’s signature, thirty-foot mahogany doors, guests are bathed in daylight that highlights the creamy whites and warm Mondrian marigold palette of the entryway. Glamour is deeply defined throughout the space, and appears in the sophistication of the new orange-hued, indoor/outdoor “Sunset Bar.”

Deep colors, grand mirrors and a surrealist, looking-glass theme abound in the newly renovated hotel. And the color palate and design flow helps usher guests from the lobby towards two of the hotel’s favorite hotspots: Asia de Cuba and Skybar.

Each of the hotel’s 237 rooms and suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of Sunset Boulevard and downtown Los Angeles. Silestone tiled bathrooms with waterfall shower fixtures, oversized daybeds and sustainable bamboo floors are just a few of the little luxuries that have been exclusively designed with the pleasure of Mondrian’s guests in mind.

Mondrian’s penthouse boasts amazing cityscape views and a large terrace with plush outdoor lounging furniture by Tord Boontje and stools by Marcel Wanders, contributing to the overall aesthetic of playful pleasure and vibrant storytelling.

“We have undertaken the redesign of our flagship property during a time of substantial growth for the Mondrian brand. With Benjamin’s new design, we have fully exited our shabby chic phase,” explains Fred Kleisner, president and CEO of Morgans Hotel Group. “…Once again this hotel exudes authenticity and glamour.”

 Mondrian hosted an official launch event on September 4, which included an intimate reception with Noriega-Ortiz, a live performance by Cat Power and an after party hosted by Amy Sacco. Guests included Jamie Foxx, Samaire Armstrong, Shane West, Shawn Ashmore, Giovanni Ribisi, Catherine Keener and Paris Hilton, among others.

For more information about the Mondrian, or to make a reservation, please visit www.mondrianhotel.com.

Cristoni Pizzeria Brings Neapolitan Pizza To The Strip

The Sunset Strip welcomed new Italian dining spot Cristoni Pizzeria to the boulevard this month. The restaurant, which was created by investors Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”), Sam Cassell (Boston Celtics) and Cuttino Mobley (LA Clippers), features authentic Neapolitan style pizza and various pasta options.

The friends decided to create Cristoni as they were looking for a casual Italian style pizzeria that, as Connolly stated, would be “a place with great food that I could come to with my friends after a night out.” Staying true to this mission, the restaurant is open for late dining every night with extended hours – until 2 a.m. – three nights a week.

“We envisioned a place where we could come to day or night to enjoy authentic, thin crust pizza and rustic Italian pasta,” noted Cassell.

Cristoni Pizzeria boasts an extensive menu of classic Neapolitan style pies created under the direction of Enrico Sautto, a fourth generation Pizzaolo who was trained in the traditional methods of pizza making at his family’s world-renowned pizzeria – Antica Pizzeria Da Michele in Naples, Italy.

Menu items include classic staples, including Margherita and Bianco, but guests will be pleased to find modern interpretations such as Pizza Tartufo – shaved black truffles, porcini mushrooms and mozzarella cheese; Pizza Cristoni – ricotta crust with cherry tomatoes, smoked mozzarella, baby arugula, shaved Parmesan and truffle oil; and Pizza Dolce – ricotta cheese, walnuts, sliced pear and mozzarella. Cristoni will also feature five daily specials that utilize fresh seasonal ingredients creating an exciting and constantly evolving menu.

Upon entering the pizzeria, guests are enveloped by a casual yet lively atmosphere. Menu items are hand-written on chalkboards, which hang above a marble countertop in front of the pizza oven. The floor plan offers an open layout, allowing diners to observe the creation of their pizza after ordering. Three large rich wood and leather banquettes provide an intimate dining experience perfect for any size group, from a table of two to a party of eight. Cristoni also offers a large outdoor patio, allowing guests the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Southern California weather.

Cristoni is located at 8539 Sunset Blvd., between Alta Loma and La Cienega Boulevard. The restaurant is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 12 a.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. Take-out service is available by calling 310.657.8931.