Who would have thought it possible to create a successful gem of a club in the heart of one of Hollywood’s sketchiest districts, but Goldfingers must have the Midas touch. Smack in the middle of a downtrodden neighborhood filled with 18th Street gangsters and homeless punker kids, this newcomer is a diamond in the rough.
Located at the former Hell’s Gate, which found inspiration for its skull-and-bones motif from the neighborhood, Goldfingers took the opposite approach. The result is a simple yet classy postmodern lounge, right in step with the current wave of “lounge chic.”
“Rather than create a nasty little bar, we wanted to do something really beautiful,” says Sara Kennedy, an ex-Lava Lounge bartender who conceived of Goldfingers with partners Mark Leddy, a musician, and Glenn Quinn, an actor on “Roseanne.” “Instead of bringing people down, we wanted to bring people up.”
More important, in only two months, the nightclub is bringing people out. It helps that the city’s recent crackdown on neighborhood crime has helped, but nevertheless Goldfingers is making a name for itself and attracting a cross section of club-goers, from arty scenesters to older musician-types who like its alternative cabaret spirit.
Inspired by the James Bond movie, the owners gave the space a bit of old-school glitz and glam. Using primarily black and gold, the nightclub is a contemporary exercise in retro restraint.
The real coup are the three antique chandeliers that hang above the bar, offering Goldfingers a proper sense of decorum as well as sense of humor. A gold silhouette of a dame with a gun can be found atop the club’s tables and also on the door to the ladies’ room. The shiny stage area features a baby grand piano and is backed by gold lame curtains.
On Thursdays the club has the Wonderful World of Joey, a lighthearted lounge revue. Its Vegas-inspired rock ‘n’ schlock is a perfect match for the space. Fronted by singer Joey Sehee, go-go dancer Sarah Vidar, with guest vocalist Eddie Vegas, the band takes listeners through nutty renditions of cocktail standards and beyond. Only Sehee can effortlessly fuse a Christmas traditional (“What Child Is This?”) with a metal hit (“Sweet Child O’ Mine”) and wind up somewhere between Wayne Newton and Axl Rose.
On Fridays, the club invites rockabilly scenesters to hear the Voo Doo Boys, and on Saturdays, Daniel Ash from Love & Rockets deejays an eclectic mix of old and new British dance, pop, techno and whatever he pleases. On Sundays, jazz and blues performer Hadda Brooks performs, and the rest of the week is filled out with rock, underground pop and touring acts.
It’s a small club, and the only glitch is that one of its best features, an outdoor patio, won’t be reopened until the end of April, but it may be worth the wait.
“We’re gonna make it look like Pussy Galore’s bedroom,” says Kennedy, who’s envisioning the naughty Bond girl’s boudoir as a very red, feminine room with velveteen cushions and sweet-smelling flowers.
Goldfingers, 6423 Yucca Ave., Hollywood. 21 & over; cover varies. (213) 962-2013.