Dancing never goes out of style
THE latest hot spot in West Hollywood may have a celebrity past, but it’s shooting for an Everyman future. Seven, the brainchild of first-time bar owner Noah Silverman, had a starring role -- in its former incarnation, iCandy -- in a short-lived but popular reality television show (“Open Bar”) on MTV Networks’ Logo channel.
Now the small yet stylish lounge, open since May, is trying to position itself as a straight bar, hoping to cash in on the coming crush of new bars along Santa Monica Boulevard that may soon turn the strip between La Brea and Crescent Heights into a viable alternative for barhopping hipsters from all over Los Angeles.
“Everyone’s welcome here,” Silverman yells over a Daft Punk track booming from the sound system on a recent Saturday. And while Silverman, who co-manages the under-200-person-capacity room with partner Chris Campbell, gets the occasional visitor dropping by hoping Seven is still iCandy, most in the neighborhood are aware 7929 Santa Monica Blvd. is no longer a gay bar.
“While our demographic is primarily straight, we’re not going to turn anyone away,” he adds. The crowd at Seven may be predominantly hetero, but it’s certainly a stylish set that hits the bar on weekends (one that might frequent venues like Hyde, Cinespace or the Standard’s Purple Lounge). Everyone from Chloe-clad Italian women on holiday to the West Coast director of OK! Magazine have been dropping into Seven lately -- tired of the hassles of larger clubs in Hollywood.
“Hollywood’s all about bottle service and miniskirts now. . . . I think it’s really lost something,” Silverman says. And while Seven, on the surface, has much in common with Hollywood bars like Sugar and Opera that Silverman purports to hate (velvet rope, VIP area and, yes, miniskirts), what’s different at Seven is the venue’s human scale, and the crowd.
“They have a cool mix of music people and fashion people,” says Evan Volk, 26, an assistant in the Firm’s music division. “But it’s not pretentious at all. . . . It’s just an interesting crowd.”
“Seven’s success has been built by word of mouth rather than promoters attached to a specific night of the week,” says Matt Wilkinson, the man from OK! “The clientele appears to be a little more grounded, and the regulars seem like they’re going to remain regulars even when the next Bolthouse pops up on La Cienega Boulevard.”
DJ Daisy O’Dell, who also spins at Teddy’s and Bar Marmont, echoes the sentiment: “One of the great things about playing Seven is that you get this really kind of dynamic group of people who are a cross between Eastside hipsters and West Hollywood beautiful people who come together on the dance floor.”
On Saturday nights especially, clubgoers of all stripes seem more interested in dancing than posing while O’Dell supplies a motley mix of club and indie music. There’s plenty of flirting and socializing on the bar’s sunken leather booths and outside on the two smoking patios.
And while Saturdays are hottest (Anthem magazine and the hip Sunset Boulevard clothing boutique Kin have sponsored the night in weeks past), Silverman seems poised to do well every night of the week soon -- his lounge will likely be the beneficiary of a string of new bars on that stretch of Santa Monica.
In addition to the already packed scenes at nearby hot spots such as Winston’s and Bar Lubitsch, former Chi owners Art and Allan Davis will open their anticipated club down the block at 7969 Santa Monica Blvd. by November.
And Winston’s co-owner Andy Fiscella’s new concept destination about 10 blocks away is expected to debut soon thereafter, making the boulevard a low-key alternative to the Cahuenga corridor for discriminating drinkers bent on barhopping by foot.
But for now, Silverman is happy with his busy weekend nights. Recently, Wednesday and Thursday nights have been as lively as Saturdays. “We are making Wednesdays a showcase for a different fashion designer every week,” the L.A. native says.
And Wednesday nights feature beloved former Kibitz Room DJ Morty, who is known for mixing up Minneapolis funk tracks to the delight of Prince fanatics. Thursday evenings are being branded as an “electronica” night (KCRW-FM’s Jason Bentley has played Seven several times).
The owner even plans to introduce something a little different for the vodka-and-Red Bull set this weekend. The former promoter is launching seven different signature herbal elixirs in addition to his full bar offerings.
“One will give you energy, one will detox you, and one will be an aphrodisiac,” he says with a laugh. “Not like any of our crowd needs help in that department.”
Where: 7929 Santa Monica Blvd.,
When: Open nightly except Sundays
Info: (323) 822-0700; www.sevenhollywood.com
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