Food, Funk, Foosball and Flannel

A Topanga Plaza security vehicle periodically creeps past the entrance to Yankee Doodles. Co-owner Andreas De Leon, who leases the club from the mall, eyes the passing car with annoyance. "They have to make sure everything's OK," he said. The mall should be more than pleased. The 2-month-old combination restaurant, sports bar, nightclub and pool hall has been consistently packed since it took over the old Reubens Summer House restaurant and Rebar nightclub.

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SCENE: A steady drizzle doesn't stop this Saturday night crowd from braving the elements in the name of fun. By 10:30 p.m., the line outside is about 25 to 30 people deep and a capacity crowd has packed itself into the club's two levels. But once inside, there is a dilemma. Do you grab something to eat at the full restaurant? Or do you head straight for the club area to get your groove on? Are you up for a game of pool? Foosball? Darts? Table hockey? Perhaps a video game? Or maybe you'll just sit and watch the Laker game on one of the many TVs hanging around the 22 pool tables. Decisions, decisions.

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CROWD: The average age is mid-20s and every fourth person has some type of flannel garment on, whether it's unbuttoned over a T-shirt, buttoned to the neck, or--the extremely popular yet misunderstood style--tied around the waist. Those expecting to meet a future boyfriend or girlfriend come dressed to impress. Almost anything goes--fashion-wise--in the restaurant and game rooms; however, no baseball caps are allowed in the dance area.

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MUSIC: Most sounds like the stuff you'd hear in the aerobics room at Holiday Spa. A deejay spins lots of dance music and disco, mixed with a little hip-hop, funk and those dance-floor favorites designed for you to act out the words (or letters) such as "YMCA" and "Shout."

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GOOD: "I like the whole package--the pool, the games and dancing," says Sherry Edgerley of Agoura Hills. "It's fun. There are no places around here like this."

"It caters to everyone," adds Edgerley's boyfriend, Ron Parker of Woodland Hills. "The socializers can talk upstairs and watch the pool games, or, if you want, you can go clubbing." Those on a budget will appreciate the free parking.

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BAD: After waiting outside to get in, expect another 15- to 20-minute wait to get into the dance area, or an even longer for one of the 22 pool tables. "I've been waiting four hours for a pool table," says Calabasas resident Joe Lennex, 38, watching the people on the dance floor. "Usually it's just two hours. Also I was talking to a girl who had a baseball cap on and the security made her leave because she wouldn't take it off."

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WORD: "When I first came in, I was in a good mood and felt like high-fiving people," says Richard Hughes, 30, of Burbank. "Two people left me hanging and looked at me like I was an idiot. Now I'm in a so-so mood."

* Yankee Doodles , 28170 Victory Blvd., Woodland Hills. Club hours: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday to Sunday. Karaoke from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday to Friday. $5 cover after 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Information: (818) 883-3030.

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