For climbers

Times Staff Writer

There’s no excuse for night life ignorance. Read on for all the need-to-know before you get dressed up and go.

What: The Kress

The deal: This new, five-story drinking and dining destination in Hollywood is San Diego club impresario Mike Viscuso’s first foray into the fickle world of L.A. night life. The space features not one club but two, and a dining room inside a renovated 1934 Art Deco palace, the former Frederick’s of Hollywood headquarters, which was an S.H. Kress & Co. department store before that.

The vibe: With three distinct seating areas, Kress really is all things to all night crawlers; tourists can come for dinner and wannabes can feel special hanging in the basement club, listening to techno and watching the celebs make their way up to the roof, which is for the real VIPs -- or those who can talk their way past the velvet rope.


The look: The 1920s-style dining room is Asian-inspired, with massive mirrors and an impressive red chandelier that looms over the center bar. The roof is less formal, like being poolside at the Standard, with lime green lounge chairs, Astroturf and futuristic soft blue lighting. The downstairs club? Just enough light to see the half-naked dancers. Yikes.

What to wear: As little as possible. This is the place for shoulder-baring tops, short-shorts and those hooker heels you bought at the old Frederick’s of Hollywood. Just remember: If you’re lucky, you’ll be hiking it five flights to the roof. And don’t worry if you’re sweating when you get there; there’s complimentary J. Lo Glow in the ladies’ room. If your closet is short on hoochie garb, a sexy, off-the-shoulder cocktail dress and heels should suffice. Guys, go for Hollywood prep -- in other words, nothing with tattoo artwork -- unless you want to be banished to the basement.

Best seat in the house: A cabana on the west side of the roof, from which you can see Hollywood & Highland and the glittering lights of the hills. But be forewarned: The night we visited, bottle service was a steep $1,000 for Champagne.

The menu: All over the place, like the decor. Thai beef tamales? No thanks. Stick to the drinks: the Kiss ($12), a vodka concoction with muddled cucumbers, strawberries, skim milk and honey, or the Kressential, ($12) Effen black cherry vodka and Chambord mixed with muddled raspberries, blackberries and mint leaves.


When to go: On Fridays, uber-promoter Pantera Sarah (of Shag and Joseph’s fame) rules the roof, so tabloid bold-facers are guaranteed.

Celeb sighting: Ian Ziering in the dining room, and Matthew Perry, Michael Vartan, David Spade and Bravo regular Slade Smiley on the roof.

Getting in: Dinner reservations are a snap -- the restaurant’s 298-seat main dining room was practically empty until 10:30 p.m. on a recent Friday. Our waiter said that he might be able to get us into the downstairs club, but that the roof was pretty much off-limits to anyone without a reality show or a new clothing line. Seriously, you probably have to know someone to finagle your way upstairs, and even then, you’ll probably be forced to wait in line in the parking lot. Take it from us, the cattle call was a major buzz kill, especially considering we could have bought an iPod with what we dropped on dinner for two. Expect to pay up to $40 if you’re just going to the club.

Parking: $20 valet off Schrader Avenue.


Overheard: “Sarah, I need to get two girls in. They’re hot, I promise.”

The Kress, 6608 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 785-5000.