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Electric Pussycat features full Austin Powers influence

Electric Pussycat features full Austin Powers influence
Richard Halpern, portraying Austin Powers, and a go-go dancer entertained the crowd at the Electric Pussycat in Glendale earlier this month. (Photo by Matt Sanderson)

The swinging, psychedelic and groovy vibes of the 1960s are back in downtown Glendale and America's favorite international spy and man of mystery is emceeing the party, baby. Yeah.

Richard Halpern, an Austin Powers impersonator, along with his go-go dancers and Fembots, are entertaining crowds at Electric Pussycat, the former space of 103 Lounge on East Broadway.

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The two-story venue opened last month, and it is inspired by the London nightclub featured in the first "Austin Powers" film.

The decor of the approximately 3,200-square-foot space includes lava lamps, murals of laser sharks and Mini-Me as well as neon lights, disco balls, love beads, flashing lights, swirl patterns, candy colors and a Volkswagen Bug cut in half to house the DJ booth.

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"There's nothing like this," said Zach Neil, co-owner. "We came here for Glendale. A large portion of our customers come from Glendale. We don't want to make you drive a half an hour [to Hollywood], so this is something you can go do."

Neil is a pop-up restaurant and bar entrepreneur, who opened the "Anchorman"-themed bar called Stay Classy in New York City, the "Star Wars"-themed the Dark Side Bar and Beetle House, both in Hollywood.

His business partners who own some bars in Hollywood, Freddy Braidy and Spencer Kushner, were looking to create something fictitious with Electric Pussycat.

"Coming to L.A. from New York, these were great guys to get involved with," Neil said.

Neil visited the space on Broadway last July, and it looked like it had been vacant for a while, he said.

"I love Burbank and Glendale," he said. "It's like Pleasantville for me. I said, 'I'd like to open something here.'"

Starting with Stay Classy, Neil said his business model has been promoting themes he already follows and enjoys in cinema and music, adding that he recently got the licensing approval for a "Spinal Tap"-themed bar.

"I wanted to bring something great to life from something I love," he said.

Electric Pussycat offers a food-and-drink menu that plays on the "Austin Powers" films.

The Foxy Lady sandwich is a "big mover," Neil said, as it is essentially a grilled cheese bar. It is fontina, brie and sliced Granny Smith apples with salted caramel drizzle, Texas toast and garlic honey butter.

Another popular food item is the Odd Job, which is Asian-infused shiitake mushrooms cooked in homemade teriyaki.

For drinks, Neil said the boozy milkshakes are "really over the top," such as its Pop-Tart milkshake. Popular drinks also include the Cryogenic Freezer and Man of Mystery.

On the restaurant's opening night, Neil said they ran out of everything.

"People were calling, saying they had an amazing time, and loved the bartenders and waitresses," he said.

On a Saturday night earlier this month, general manager Dan McDonald slid down the pole next to the DJ booth and greeted guests before 10 p.m. as the place continued to fill up.

Patrons ranging in age from early 20s to 60s were inside.

McDonald had worked at the Dark Side Bar and TCL Chinese Theatre before coming to Electric Pussycat.

"People keep saying Glendale needs something like this," he said. "I wanted to create, at best, a shadow of what these bars used to be. We want to be a time capsule to the 1960s."

McDonald added that he has plans to add more Austin Powers props — such as the time warp machine — to the space, as well as other attractions on the first floor.

The ubiquitous character of the hour, Austin Powers, came out shortly after 9 p.m. with his go-go dancers to entertain the crowd with various hits.

Halpern has performed as Powers in Hollywood and New York City, and the Electric Pussycat owners sought out his talents.

"It's a nice crowd," Halpern said, who performs on Saturdays at the club. "Mini-Me comes on Friday."

Electric Pussycat is open Wednesday through Sunday, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

For more information, visit electriccatla.com/.

Matt Sanderson is a contributing writer for Times Community News.

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