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Calibar looks to raise caliber

Times Staff Writer

If you haven’t heard of Calibar, it’s not because you’re out of the loop. The cozy Beverly Hills lounge, with sister bars in London and New York, opened with a whisper about a year ago and has functioned mostly as a special events venue. But owners Ladd Vance, Joy Gallardo and George Hearst are ready to make a big splash by collaborating with a host of new promoters and DJs to attract some of Hollywood’s A-list crowd.

“We want it to remain a place where people can come in and relax and not be so concerned with being seen,” Vance said. “But we do want it to become a good alternative to the Hollywood clubs, and that’s why we’re bringing in some of the promoters who create the big parties over there.”

The split-level restaurant and lounge, wedged between some of Wilshire Boulevard’s finest boutiques, serves Asian-fusion tapas, such as Ninja Prawns and Peking Duck tacos, and even offers karaoke on some nights. With its dim lighting, reddish hues and impressive artwork collection, Calibar has an East Coast-meets-feng-shui feel.

On a recent night, Belova jewelry designer Vera Landver displayed her handmade semiprecious-stone collection on the second floor as hipsters mingled downstairs.

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“I enjoy showing my jewelry in this atmosphere because it just seems people are more relaxed and are really enjoying themselves,” said Landver, whose black pearl and moonstone sets were worn by Angela Bassett, Shannon Elizabeth and Paris Hilton at the Academy Awards. The following night, Calibar hosted a reunion party for MTV’s “The Real World.”

“We’ll continue to have these kinds of events here,” said Calibar spokeswoman Julie Goldman. “But ... we’re hoping it will become more of a destination, where you can get away from the Hollywood thing and not care so much about what you’re wearing and how you look.”

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Calibar

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When and where: 9667 1/2 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. nightly. For info: (310) 777-0065.


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