Monday, February 8, 2010

#10 Hotel Cafe

#30 Hollywood Walk of Fame
#29 Yamashiro
#28 Hollywood Billiards
#27 Genghis Cohen
#26 Piano Bar
#25 Shmutzville
# 24 Loteria
# 23 The Griddle
# 22 Proximity
# 21 Hollywood Freeway
#20 Kitchen 24
# 19 The People
# 18 Sushi Eyaki
#17 Raymond Chandler
# 16 Jumbo's Clown Room
#15 Skooby's
#14 The Arclight
# 13 The Well
#12 Runyon Canyon
# 11 Canter's

#10 Hotel Café

In nine days, I'll be sitting in my new downtown apartment, so it's a good thing that after three weeks, we're finally creeping into the top ten. I thank all of you for bearing with me as I prod along through things that mean a lot to me, but—most likely—very little to you. You're also notice the return of the em-dash in my writing. After a several month hiatus, and a brief (but torrid) affair with parentheses, I've returned to my grammatical self and have been slowly re-integrating my very close friend em-dash back into my writing. I hope you guys all get along.

So Hotel Café is a place that many—even those of you in Hollywood—may not be 100% familiar with. You may have seen it mentioned in LA Weekly or on a band's website or something, but Hotel Café is as secret as secrets can be in this town. Hotel Café is neither a hotel nor a café; it is a very small concert club on Cahuenga that attracts some of my favorite musicians and is as romantic in it's own dark Hollywood way. Nestled between boom-boom clubs on Cahuenga and sporting the always-cool back door entrance, Hotel Café is dark, the décor is red velvety, there is a bar in the front of the house, and then a double door into a hall that houses about 100 people and a barely-raised stage that fits three uncomfortably. The ceiling is low, the acoustics are surprisingly good, the atmosphere is a thick layer of smoke away from having a speakeasy vibe, and the music is top notch.

I have seen my main man, The White Buffalo, there several times and every time has been better than the time before. Maybe the reason I love Hotel Café so much is because the White Buffalo's crazy-amazing voice works so well in that room, and I have great memories of seeing him there. Seeing him lose his mind in that venue is about as great of a memory as I have about living in Hollywood. If anyone ever gets a chance to see the White Buffalo, jump at the chance, it's so worth it.

But the HC represents a little bit more to me. It represents the club I have been looking for my whole life: A small venue with great singers, a dark, romantic feel, the back door entrance, the front room with a bar and a private room, just a perfect place to go see music. You can always see the band on their way to the stage, share a drink with them afterwards, meet cool people who are into great music, and then walk home. I can't really write anything more about Hotel Café other than that. It is where I want to watch music for the rest of my life. It is the bar I want people to associate me with. Is that weird?

You know how people tend to construct their personalities by what they like? Like "I'm the kind of person who likes Magnolia" or Donnie Darko, or Tool, or 311. You know, people that like 311 identify with other people who like 311. Like "you know Tony, he's that guy who's really into Tool…?" That's how I want to be with Hotel Café. "Hotel Café, that's that place Glassman likes." Yeah…it is.

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