Seeing Stars: Where the Stars Play


5364 Wilshire Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA / (323) 938-1696


Update:  April 4, 2006 -- After eight years on Wilshire's Miracle Mile, The Conga Room, L.A.'s, premiere Latin & World music venue, will move to the LA Live! Entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles.

The Conga Room will open at LA Live! on Dec. 10, 2008 and will feature a venue three times as large as its original space, with some 15,000 square feet, able to accomodate 1,000 guests. in a live entertainment venue/dance club, with onsite TV and radio broadcast capabilities. The new location will also feature their Boca restaurant, featuring a Pan-Latin cuisine.

Located across from (north of) the Staples Center and the L.A. Convention Center, LA Live! is a new entertainment complex which houses the Nokia Theatre, Club Nokia, and will eventually contain a 1,200 room hotel, a five-story ESPN building, restaurants, a 14-screen cineplex, and the Grammy Museum. (See their official site at www.lalive.com )

The Gipsy Kings will be performing at The Conga Room on New Year’s Eve.

In anticipation of its opening at LA Live! The Conga Room closed its doors on Wilshire on May 31, 2006. Bear in mind that the article below was written about the old Conga room on Wilshire, when it was open.


Arnold & Bruce have Planet Hollywood, Dan Aykroyd has The House of Blues, Reba & Wynonna had Country Star, and now some of Hollywood's top Latino stars have gotten together to help create The Conga Room, a showcase for Latin music on L.A.'s Miracle Mile.

Jimmy Smits ("NYPD Blue"), Jennifer Lopez ("Selena" & "The Wedding Planner"), comedian Paul Rodriguez, Dodger's third baseman Bobby Bonilla, and legendary Salsa singer Tito  Nieves ("I Like It Like That") are among the celebrity investors who hope to take advantage of the recent Salsa craze at this sparkling new dance club, lounge & restaurant.

Mixing modern decor with a flavor of Old Havana in the 50's, the Conga Room features a 4,000-foot ballroom with a stage for live Latin music, tables shaped like conga drums, three bars, colorful murals, a VIP Room, and even B&W photos of Cuba. They wanted to create an upscale club connected to the Latin culture.

The performer chosen to open the nightclub was none other than the legendary Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz (after Paul Rodriguez did the intros). Subsequent performers have included Jose Feliciano, Tito Puente, the Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble Conjunto Cespedes, and numerous Latin dance bands. The big name acts are reserved for Thursday, called "National Act Night" here. Friday, it's local salsa bands, and Sunday is reserved for Latin jazz.

The L.A. Times reported seeing Michael Douglas and Minnie Driver dancing the night away at the club a while back.

Iin early 1999, those on hand to celebrate the club's first birthday included Maria Conchita Alonso, Angela Bassett, Edward James Olmos and Robert Townsend. A month later, a salute to Latin Grammy winners brought out Enrique Iglesias, Rickie Martin and Andy Garcia.

Actress Halle Berry says she likes to come on Thursdays, when they have a different band each week. Actor Mario Van Peebles ("Ali") also likes to salsa there.

In April of 1999, Roseanne showed up, draped in a pink flamingo gown, cameras in tow, and taped an installment of her talk show at the Conga Room, as owners Jimmy Smits, Paul Rodriguez and Sheila E. taught her to Salsa.

And in July of 1999, a "Havana Nights" party attracted the likes of Harry Belafonte, Samuel Jackson, and Gregory Peck to the Conga Room.

In September of 1999, they announced that singer/drummer Sheila E. ("The Glamorous Life") has become one of the celebrity owners of the Conga Room!

That same month saw celebs like Donny Osmond, Natalie Cole and Pee Wee Herman enjoying the music at the club.

The club also offers Salsa dance lessons for the rest of us at 7 p.m. on Thursdays (for $10). Ticket prices vary; tickets for Celia Cruise ranged in price from $15 for general admission to $100 for special VIP tickets which guarantee a good seat for the big shows.

In December 1999, Conga Room opened a new Latin fine-dining restaurant next door to the club. It's called La Boca del Conga Room (or Boca, for short), and features Nuevo Latino cuisine such as ancho-rubbed pork tenderloin, saffron seafood rice and grilled baby lamb chops. Meanwhile, the current Conga Cafe, located above the club, will be remodeled and will feature casual food such as sandwiches and empanadas.

The opening of La Boca brought out NYPD alums Dennis Franz and Sharon Lawrence, as well as Tony Curtis, Alan Thicke and regular Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

 Getting there: The Conga Room is located on the south side of Wilshire Blvd., about half a mile east of the La Brea Tar Pits,a block west of La Brea Avenue, between Detroit St. & Cloverdale Ave.


[For more information, you can access the club's own website
at: http://www.congaroom.com.]

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