In MANY ways, the Good Nite is like a lot of trendy new cocktail lounges.
A romantically lit spot parked on a quiet stretch of Burbank Boulevard in bohemian North Hollywood, the Good Nite boasts all the accouterment one might expect from a fashionable watering hole: There's the shiny stainless steel bar, the Art Deco sconces and damask wallpaper, the black leather bar stools, couches and cube chairs. Then, of course, there's the pole.
"The [idea] came from one of my partners," says Daniel Mar, head bartender and co-owner of the Good Nite. "It's just fun. Girls get drunk, they see a pole -- 'Oh my God, I want to jump on that thing!' -- and everyone has a good time. Even guys jump on it . . . Whatever."
If the shiny brass pole is the main attraction, giving even buttoned-up types an excuse to get a little crazy, Mar is surely the bar's next biggest draw. Formerly a doorman, bartender and bookkeeper for the Westside hot spot Saints & Sinners, he clearly knew what he was doing when he opened the Good Nite: Within just four months of its mid-January debut, the bar had wracked up great buzz on user-generated sites like Yelp and over a thousand friends on its MySpace page.
It didn't hurt that he's a 27-year-old hunk -- imagine an Asian James Dean -- with close ties to the alternative modeling community. A friend of both Laura Byrnes, who owns the vintage clothing company Pinup Girl Clothing, and renowned fetish model Masuimi Max, Mar got a nice post-opening push when Byrnes used the Good Nite for a Pinup Girl photo shoot.
After Byrnes posted a video of the shoot to her website, Mar says the effect on the Good Nite's MySpace page was immediate: "A few hundred people added us within a couple days."
He stresses, however, that the Good Nite is no snobby hangout -- just a friendly, neighborhood-oriented place with reasonably priced drinks. "We cater to everyone," Mar says. "You'll see everything from business people to punk rockers."
Still, on a recent Sunday evening -- the bar's typically well-attended karaoke night -- the sense of a tight-knit community is evident when Pinup Girl Clothing model Amie Nicole arrives to celebrate her birthday with her BFF Masuimi Max and a posse of pinup and fetish models, including Chelsea La Vone, Hollywood Geisha and former "America's Next Top Model" contestant Micheline Love, who works some nights as a Good Nite bartender.
"As soon as I started coming here, it became a weekly thing," says Nicole between karaoke offerings. "I'm not normally a bar person at all. I just love this bar. Everybody's so nice, it just feels like family."
Alternately tattooed and pierced, the darkly sexy kinfolk may appear closer to the Addams Family than the Brady Bunch of conventional San Fernando Valley lore. But the sense of community they've engendered at the Good Nite is unmistakable. By closing time, Mar has abandoned his post behind the bar for the stage, where he stands arm-in-arm with his customers belting out a Billy Idol tune. For some reason, though, no one is complaining.
THE GOOD NITE
WHERE: 10721 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood
WHEN: Daily 7:30 p.m. to
PRICE: No cover
ON THE WEB: For more photos of the Good Nite, go to latimes.com/goodnite