Fights, loud cars, women dressed and leaving almost nothing to the imagination, rowdy drunks stumbling on the sidewalk. These are the things that we’re starting to see less of on the weekends here in Hollywood. Doesn’t sound like it’s a bad thing right? Well, when you take into account the bouncers, DJs, waiters/waitresses, bartenders and the valet, they all have to survive somehow. So while many still don’t know what exactly is killing off our nightlife, many will attribute it to the main culprit, the economy. People are losing their jobs left and right, the housing market isn’t seeing an improvement, and we’re all reverting back to spend quality family time together. Choose any non-major event (Oscars, Grammys, etc) weekend and take a stroll through the Hollywood streets. Yes, you’ll still see people lining up at the bars, the clubs, the hole-in-the-wall venues, but they no longer have to wait in massive groups like they used to. Single file lines with no more than a handful of people, that’s all. But once you pass by Hollywood & Highland or even the Arclight, you will see the big crowds that once waited outside clubs like Kress, Ecco, Social, Cabana, and The Ivar. The change from clubbing to movie watching with friends or significant others has been proven through ticket sales and plain common sense. You can’t avoid it, it’s in plain sight.
What else is changing here in Hollywood recently? Well, for starters, businesses on Hollywood Blvd have started closing down at a very time of night. Many are closing as early as 7pm. Many are closing and staying closed. Take into account, La Cantina on Hollywood right off of Schrader & Hudson, every weekend it was packed and trying to get into the bar was a tedious task. Now? It’s a barren locale, an empty bar with covered up windows and a huge FOR LEASE sign on it. Makes you think doesn’t it? If business with a guaranteed amount of weekly customers went out of business, what’s to stop it from happening to the remaining clubs & bars. For one thing, clubs will remain open, but the names will change on the deed and it’s own name might change as well. They’re struggling to stay afloat. The perfect example being Florentine Gardens off Hollywood & Bronson. It was almost demolished a few years ago and converted into a firehouse. It’s still there. The crowds were there too. Now it just looks like a typical strip club on the outside. Very few people outside and the few that actually showed up to the party are already inside and have been for minutes, maybe hours. But what will happen next? No one knows, maybe the promoters and club owners do. We need to ask them the questions and have them answered truthfully with no sugar-coating of any kind.
One thing is certain, new clubs are still opening. The W hotel just opened recently and they have brought with them the Drai’s, Victor Drai’s fourth club and first outside of Las Vegas. Having hits like club XS and Tryst in Vegas, let’s see if Mr. Drai can help bring back what we’re quickly losing. Our Hollywood nightlife.