Located in what was once an old film supply warehouse, just two blocks from the Cinerama Dome, the Sunset Room is an elegant mix of restaurant, bar and nightclub, harkening back to the supperclubs of Old Hollywood. And since its opening, it has been attracting celebrities like bees to honey.
Leonardo DiCaprio hosted an MVP party for Shaquille O’Neal here after the Lakers won their 2000 Championship. Ben Affleck was seen partying there in Feb. 2000. George Clooney spent a night dancing with underwear model Lisa Snowdon. One Friday night in April 2000 saw Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Denzel Washington and Dustin Hoffman all dining under the cabanas on the restaurant's patio. Dennis Quaid and his band, The Sharks, have performed here.
And there have been parties galore: in March 2002, Denzel Washington was honored for his Oscar win with a party at the Sunset Room which drew Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith, Ethan Hawke, Eddie Murphy, Barbra Streisand & James Brolin, John Travolta & Kelly Preston, Natalie Cole, Quincy Jones, Jerry Bruckheimer, Naomi Campbell, Arsenio Hall, the Wayans brothers, etc.
In Feb 2000, a party thrown by GQ Magazine for the Artist Rights Foundation drew Harrison Ford, Paula Abdul, Sharon Stone, Vince Vaughn & Jon Faverau, Carmen Electra, Lauren Holly and Daisy Fuentes. A party by "Variety" brought out Leo, Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rod Stewart and Denzel.
There have been a number of industry wrap parties held at the Sunset Room. They held the wrap party for "Beverly Hills 90210" here in April of 2000. Brandy celebrated the 100th episode of her TV series, "Moesha," with a party here. They also held the "Party of Five" wrap party here in April 2000. (It featured appearances by Jennifer Love Hewitt, Matthew Fox, Neve Campbell, Scott Wolf, Jennifer Aspen and the rest of the cast, plus Yasmine Bleeth, Dick Clark, Calista Flockhart and Frankie Muniz.)
The party following "The Pledge" premiere saw Jack Nicholson (with Lara Flynn Bolye), Sean Penn & Lou Adler. The post-premiere party for "Snatch" brought out Madonna & Guy Ritchie, Vinnie Jones and Benicio Del Toro.
A scene from the TV show "Sex and the City" was shot here, featuring Hugh Hefner.
Other celebs spotted at the Sunset Room in 2000 include Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, Prince, Angelina Jolie, Mick Jagger, Cuba Gooding Jr., Winona Ryder, Damon Wayans, Sheryl Crow, Penny Marshall, Jamie Foxx, Jerry Bruckheimer, Oliver Stone, Mike Piazza, Mark McGrath and Kevin Costner (who, according to some reports, has called the place "the Brown Derby of our generation.")
Investors in the club include top agents, Hollywood lawyers and film execs. The owners are Brad Johnson and Chris Breed - Johnson was responsible for Roxbury and Georgia. The man behind the Sunset Room is Lebanese entrepreneur Elie Samaha, who created the club Babylon, and who was married to actress Tia Carrere ("Wayne's World"). He is now a movie mogul in his own right, responsible for John Travolta's "Battlesbip Earth" and "The Whole Nine Yards."
Chris Breed found a book called "A Night Out With the Stars", and borrowed ideas from several Old Hollywood clubs. The result?
A cavernous, gorgeous place, with an opulent dining room evoking Old Havana (if not Casablanca), with 35-foot-high ceilings, an open kitchen, cream walls, period furniture and art deco sconces. Not to mention a huge mahogany bar, plus a patio with enclosed cabanas and a fireplace. The spacious dance area includes a main stage for live jazz & blues, but the disco is dimly lit, so those familiar faces might be hard to recognize.
If you're expecting a quiet, intimate spot, forget it. This place is usually hopping, filled with noise and a long parade of drop-dead models and actress types. The idea here is to offer guests everything under one roof: dining, drinking, dancing...
The only drawback? The place is hard to get into. The dreaded velvet rope and fussy doorman. And by the time the stars and those with reservations are admitted, there's only room for about 200 members of the general public. So the doorman can afford to be particular.
Fortunately, there's an easy way around all that. Just make reservations for dinner. (Be smart and make them several weeks in advance.)
So, how is the food? Very good, from all accounts.
The chef is none other than Claude Segal, formerly of Drai's, Pagani and Maxim's of Paris. The style is French-Californian. Or, as Claude puts it: "Californian with Asian and French flair." We're talking lobster wontons, Peking duck salad with curly endive, a mesquite-grilled tuna steak, Chilean sea bass marinated in soy sauce and sake, and the most expensive item on the menu (at $32), a 13-ounce filet mignon in a black-peppercorn sauce. And service is friendly. But obviously this is not an inexpensive place to dine.
There is more than one VIP room at the Sunset Room (including those enclosed cabanas on the patio), but a booth in the dining room should provide a good viewing spot as celebs shuttle between the patio and the disco.
They have a strict dress code. of course. No jeans, no T-shirts, of course. But if you're smart you'll dress sharp here - if only to to match those dressed-to-kill supermodels.
The Sunset Room is
open Tuesday through Saturday, with dinner served from 6:00 p.m. to 10:30
p.m., and the club is open from 9:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. 21 and older.
there: The Sunset Room is located at 1430
N. Cahuenga Blvd., one block south of Sunset Blvd. From Hollywood
& Vine, just go two blocks south to Sunset Blvd. Turn right
(west) on Sunset and go three short blocks west (past the Cinerama
Dome) to Cahuenga Blvd. Turn left (south)
on Cahuenga and the Sunset Room will be on your left (east) side.
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