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CLUB SCENE : Come Early to Rock This House

The Beach House Restaurant and Bar, which took over the problem-plagued Red Onion in Woodland Hills, hopes to shake off old onion ghosts with its month-old, beach-themed club. Patrons can expect a long wait on weekends, leading to a loud, fun night where waitresses dance on countertops when the mood strikes.

THE SCENE: You’ll need a Thomas Guide to find your way around the two levels. When the club is filled to capacity, you are led inside and upstairs to a sports bar that turns into a waiting area for the main club on Fridays and Saturdays. This area is a miniature version of the main club, with its own bar, DJ and dance floor. You are given a number, then must wait until it is called to go downstairs to the main club. The bottom floor also has the restaurant, a labyrinth of large, airy rooms equipped with TV monitors that come in handy for Monday night football. The club area has a neon-lit dance floor bordered by booths, tables and chairs. Bucket seats from old cars sit in one area, and spray-painted palm trees decorate the walls.

THE CROWD: Since its opening in early September, the club area downstairs has consistently reached its capacity of 360 by 10 p.m., according to general manager Craig Bonham. Get there early to avoid a long wait outside, or upstairs in the holding area.

THE LOOK: The dress code says no sandals, hats, flannel shirts or tanks. Men’s shirts must be tucked in. Although none of these restrictions were heavily enforced last Saturday, Bonham said they intend to crack down in the coming weeks. As with most clubs, jeans dominated. The men either wore T-shirts and vests or shirts with button-down collars. Among the sea of women wearing baby-Ts under slip dresses, tight leather dresses and bustiers were also spotted.

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THE MUSIC: Tuesday nights are devoted to disco, while music from KROQ takes over Thursdays. On Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, the DJ mixes it up with blocks of disco, hard rock, funk and alternative music. The dancers crowded on the floor looked like they were landing a plane while doing the hand motions to “YMCA” by the Village People.

THE GOOD: You can watch yourself dance as you dance, courtesy of a stationary video camera that scans the entire dance floor and is shown on monitors that hang on either end of the dance floor, as well as a lounge area.

THE BAD: The wait. “I didn’t like the fact that we had to be shuffled upstairs first,” said Paula Ruiz, 23, of Agoura. Her friend, Jamie Martinez, 25, of Studio City, chimed in, “Yeah, we waited 20 minutes outside, then 50 more minutes upstairs.”

THE SIGNS: “He who looketh upon a woman, loseth a fender"--a message on one of the many signs hanging from the ceiling of the club.

The Beach House Restaurant and Bar, 6424 Canoga Ave., Woodland Hills. Club hours: 5 p.m. to midnight Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays; 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays. The main club is closed Sundays and Tuesdays, but the sports bar is open from 11 a.m. to midnight. (818) 598-8075.


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