& 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
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.
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.
[For more information, you
can access the club's own website
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