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Choose the mood

Times Staff Writer

A set of new blue doors on Hollywood Boulevard opens to Tinseltown’s largest nightclub, a New York-meets-Miami-style dance hall where revelers can party in a soaring loft interior with exposed red brick and steel -- or retreat to cozy, blue-glass towers or a sexy orange room for intimacy and seclusion. Ivar opened a month ago and is already a star-powered hot spot.

With its an industrial-futuristic look, 25-foot ceilings, five bars, two DJ booths and a stage area for live alternative-music performances, Ivar offers club-goers the opportunity to “club hop within the club,” said co-owner Alan Nathan, who also co-owns the 6-month-old Nacional lounge in Hollywood, and Tengu, an Asian-fusion restaurant in Westwood.

“We wanted it to be modular so that it feels as if there are different parties everywhere,” said Nathan, 32. “On the weekends, it will be a place for socialites and scene-sters, but on the other nights, we are striving to become known as a music venue.”

On a recent Thursday, house, techno and trance fans traveled from far away to groove to DJ Sandra Collins, who has been dubbed “the trance goddess” and is one of the nation’s finest DJs. Collins and Bay Area DJ Aquanote performed as part of the weekly “Stereo” party promoted by prominent DJ Gary Richards and DJ-producer Jason Bentley. With electronica DJs around the world making tracks to play in Los Angeles, Richards and Bentley hope that Ivar will become the venue of choice for that music genre.

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“We want to brand this place as a music destination, fighting the Hollywood association, the velvet rope, the actors and the wannabes,” Bentley said. “We’re still trying to find the best tone and signature sound for this place.”

Indeed, on this night the crowd was slow to warm up. Aquanote’s soulful house music did not motivate the 20-something clientele to dance. But as soon as Collins, barefoot in a miniskirt, touched her turntables, her up-tempo trance and tribal vibe seemed to move everyone. Those who were not grooving around her were standing in front of her, staring in awe.

“She’s the most inspiring DJ,” said Lorraine Contreras, 23, who drove from Fresno with her best friend to listen to Collins. “She connects one-on-one and makes you feel the show is just for you.”

On Friday and Saturday nights, Ivar turns into a hip-hop club where celebrities such as Lara Flynn Boyle, Tobey Maguire and Marc Anthony have been spotted mingling and partying, and co-owners Anton Posniak, 30, Eric Weitzman, 32, and Rick Calamaro, 39, throw VIP bashes on the third-floor mezzanine.

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With its capacity of 900, Ivar is second in overall size only to the Highlands, which includes a split-level restaurant as well as a dance club in the Hollywood & Highland complex.

“I like the vibe; it’s classy and you can breathe,” said George Libarian, 32, of Northridge, admiring the 14,600-square-foot space. “It reminds me of the clubs in Finley Park in Boston.”

If the throngs at the club are any hint, people in other cities may soon be saying the same about the Ivar.

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Ivar

Where: 6356 Hollywood Blvd., at Ivar Avenue.

Contact: (323) 465-4827.

When: Wednesdays through Saturdays. Wed.: 10 p.m.-2 a.m.; Thu.: 9 p.m.-2 a.m.; Fri.: 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sat.: 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m.

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Cost: $15 cover.


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