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Lots of style, even with no velvet rope

Special to The Times

ANDREW Fiscella may consider owning bars a second career, but he might have to consider giving up acting if the crowds at Winstons keep coming.

The actor, one of the principal owners of the beloved Fairfax district bar the Dime, has improved on a winning formula with Winstons, a larger version of his minimalist Dime.

“Our philosophy is the same as the Dime ... everybody’s welcome -- no velvet rope,” he says of his new place, where the crowd is nonetheless good-looking and sophisticated enough that it looks as if it would have passed muster with a doorman. “That’s because we’re in the industry but we’re not. We know the industry, but we’re not going to build all our business on celebrities coming to our bar or not.”

Indeed, Winstons does have a discernible “industry” feel, partially as a result of Fiscella and his partners’ large circle of friends, many of whom are young agents, actors, producers and writers.

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The New York native describes his new bar’s design scheme as “a lounge, but with a neighborhood vibe -- kind of like mid-century Frank Lloyd Wright meets Deco.”

High ceilings and exposed brick walls give the dimly lighted bar a New York City ambience, and DJs play to the crowd every night with a lively mix of hip-hop and lesser-known crowd-pleasing 1980s tunes.

Fiscella, who is a busy working actor repped by Endeavor, hopes Winstons can help change the notorious stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard that it occupies for the better. Although some may mourn the loss of Spike, the bar that occupied 7746 Santa Monica Blvd. before the actor and his crew bought and remodeled the space, West Hollywood police at least presumably prefer Fiscella’s crowd to the after-hours set that spooked some in the neighborhood in years past.

Regardless, Fiscella may be on to something with his latest nightspot. Another new upscale destination a block away from Winstons, Bar Lubitsch, officially reopened early this month after working out permit issues with the city of West Hollywood (the two bars have pooled together to host a valet station and parking lot leased from the city).

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All of a sudden, the same neighborhood used to battling horny hordes of all stripes for parking (famed adult theater the TomKat and the adult megastore the Pleasure Chest flank Winstons) now must contend with Jetta-driving publicists for coveted spots. Street parking at meters, once plentiful, may not be much longer.

But few in the neighborhood are complaining. Winstons, which opened last month, brings in a stylish, respectful crowd -- especially on weeknights. “It’s special here,” says 34-year-old esthetician Carin Kingsland. “This bar just has a great vibe.”

weekend@latimes.com

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Winstons

Where: 7746 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood

When: Open nightly, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Price: No cover. Drinks: $8 premium liquor, $7 well drinks, $6 imported beers.

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Info: (323) 654-0105


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