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The h.wood group to open Bootsy Bellows Aspen, the Nice Guy in WeHo

The exterior of Bootsy Bellows Aspen, which is located in the basement of this mixed-use building.
(Charles Cunniffe Architects)

The h.wood group is growing up. Known for its decadent nightclubs, Hooray Henry’s and Bootsy Bellows, as well as its high-end craft cocktail den SHOREbar in Santa Monica, h.wood now has its eye on expansion.

John Terzian, who founded the h.wood group with business partner Brian Toll, told The Times this week that the group is opening a second Bootsy Bellows in Aspen, Colo. The group has also purchased the former Mezze space in West Hollywood and will reopen it in the spring of 2014 as a low-key, Italian-influenced restaurant and mixology bar called the Nice Guy.

Bootsy Bellows Aspen is set to open on Dec. 20, and Terzian and David Arquette (who is also a partner in Bootsy Bellows) are gearing up to host a big New Year’s Eve party there.

“It’s a great little downstairs space, so it feels like a speakeasy. The only difference between Aspen and L.A. is that we’re serving food in Aspen,” says Terzian. “So it’s going to open at 5 p.m. It’s the lounge version of Bootsy’s.”

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That doesn’t mean that the place won’t have all the hallmarks of an h.wood group nightclub, which means quality cocktails, lots of music, eclectic live performances and the wild puppetry that distinguished Bootsy Bellows in L.A.

This is the group’s first real expansion of a brand, and Terzian says that plans are already in the works to open a third Bootsy Bellows in another (undisclosed) city. Terzian says the group chose Aspen because the town is a hot vacation spot for many of its regular clients (a good number of whom are involved in the entertainment business as well as the arts and music).

“It gives our customers from New York and L.A. a home away from home,” says Terzian.

The food will come courtesy of chef Nick Melbourne. The appetizer menu is all that has been released at this point and it includes pan-seared foie gras with chocolate brioche French toast and persimmon compote; Maine lobster Caesar with poached egg, buttermilk dressing and Spanish white anchovy; and rock shrimp risotto.

The Nice Guy will expand the h.wood group brand even more into food with a menu of gourmet pizzas, flat breads, salads and seasonal entrees. The cocktails will be seen to with the same level of care as they are at Shore bar.

“I’m excited, I feel like as we grow it’s a natural process to add food,” says Terzian. “We’ll stay true to what we do, which is entertainment and fun, but food is something we wanted to mature towards.”

Bootsy Bellows Aspen is at 308 E. Hopkins Ave., Aspen, Colo.

The Nice Guy will be at 401 N. La Cienega, West Hollywood.

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