Aug. 8, 2007: Paris Hilton arrives at a party celebrating the new mobile service Helio and benefiting Heal the Bay in West Hollywood, Calif.
It's no secret that as darkness falls in the land of lights, camera and action, the famous and fortunate come forth for some fun.
But is going out in Tinseltown really just about who you are and what you look like?
“That’s the stereotype and that’s the truth,” confirmed Mike Malin, co-owner of the Dolce Group, which owns a number of high-profile restaurants across the United States. “But this is L.A. — it’s one of the most fun cities in the world, where everybody goes out with the goal of having a great time," added Malin, who was also the winner of the 2006 "Big Brother All-Stars" reality series.
“It’s not your traditional nightspot — the alfresco area is the hub of the club. It is just like having a huge house party,” Malin enthused.
With a mixed crowd of models, moguls, muscle men, moviemakers and musicians, Les Deux paves a path to party with Hollywood's well-to-do. And the paparazzi must stay outside to get snaps.
“Celebrities come here because it’s a comfortable place where they can go undetected,” said Lonnie Moore, the other half of The Dolce Group. “We’re very focused on discretion and confidentiality.”
And Hollywood’s hottest appreciate the protection. In one night alone, you could be dominating the dance floor with Nicky and Paris Hilton, Penelope Cruz, Shakira, Britney Spears, Prince and Bruce Willis.
But according to entertainment publicist and partygoer Katie Perna, the more cameras in the courtyard, the better the night will be.
“I always know when I arrive at a club that if there are packs of paparazzi outside, I’m in for a fun night. It just creates extra hype and energy,” she said.
There are even opportunities for Hollywood's hopefuls to be "discovered" in its nightclubs, as shows such as “The Hills” and “Entourage” are regularly filmed at Les Deux, Area and the Chateau Marmont.
But be warned: hopping in the heart of Hollywood after 10 p.m. is much easier if you're a glammed-up girl with a great body.
“People are let in on appearance value; it is just how it is anywhere you go,” said Malin. “It is usually a 6:1 ratio of females to males. It’s tough for guys to get in — they have to know somebody or buy bottles.”
And don’t be fooled by the long lines lingering outside all of Tinseltown’s trendiest places. They're all in the name of "mass" marketing.
“Clubs are very cautious about keeping lots of people outside waiting,” Perna said. “It makes the club look really popular and people become even more determined to be let inside.”
And for some, half the thrill is just getting in.
“I never ever wait and I will never pay to go somewhere,” said 22-year-old aspiring actress Jessica Parry, who moved to L.A. from Virginia one year ago. “It’s so exciting to walk straight up and be hand-picked to go inside in front of lots of other people."
The blue-eyed blonde (who happily boasts about her $8,000 chest) demonstrates how the deed is done. With her equally as Barbie-like buddies behind her, Parry parades past the paps and other people in line and walks straight up to the Les Deux bouncer.
Greeting him like a long-lost brother, the rope is lifted and the girls strut their way in, leaving many sulking and snarling outside.
“But if I’m waiting more than a few minutes, I will turn around and leave,” she warns as she wanders off into the bevy of babes and beauties.
While Parry and her pretty posse don’t have much patience when they party, the days of the diva are dead.
“There are so many celebrities in L.A. that clubs don’t have to pander to their every need anymore,” explained Perna. “If they are making life uncomfortable for other guests, then it’s not tolerated.”
The Dolce duo agrees.
“L.A. is laid-back. Everybody wants to go out, drink and simply have a good time,” said Malin.
And even places without the polished profile refuse to pamper the big names.
“We’ve had Tori Spelling come in and we’ve had to tell her that there is a wait for a table,” said Megan Flowers, PR manager of Lola’s, which claims to be the creator of the apple martini.
“She chucked a huge fit and left, but we weren’t bothered by it. Lola’s has been around for 11 years and we value all our guests just the same. There are no VIPs or door lists.”
And despite the fact that Britney Spears and Steven Spielberg have been known to sip and snack at the little Hollywood hideaway, Lola’s is a refreshing retreat from party-place pretenses.
“It’s a low-key, home-like environment,” said Flowers. “We have so many interesting characters frequenting our bar and we thrive on providing a chilled-out evening with the best martinis and modern cuisine until 2 a.m.”
And while plenty of foxy females bare their bronzed bodies at bars, there are specific places to make a sexy splash. Literally.
But when it comes to diversity, the Key Club boasts the biggest buffet. With a different show on every night, this “all-genre” venue offers a little something for everyone — and you never need to worry about tripping on a velvet rope.
“Everybody is welcome and people come here because they want to be entertained,” said the club’s representative, Kelly Pipitone. “We promote a lot of first-time bands and have lots of live music.”
So whether you choose to move and grove into Monday’s “Metal Skool” comedy, rock to the rhythms of “Ruby Tuesday” or spend your Thursday dancing as “Debbie Does Dallas," you could find yourself pushing through the people along with Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Steven Tyler or Dita Von Teese, who all have been known to get up on stage for an impromptu performance.
But the latest trend taking over Tinseltown's twilight seems to focus more on where you dine than where you dance.
While Mr. Chow’s, Nobu, The Ivy and Il Sole are staples on the star-studded social scene, the fickle nature of this film-famous city means that the “it” spot routinely rotates. And right now, it’s all about the new and glamorous grill Ketchup.
Offering a stylish selection of soup, salad, surf and turf, it seems Hugh Hefner, his girlfriend Holly Madison and the other buxom bunnies, along with Stevie Wonder, Paula Abdul, Paris Hilton and Ryan Philippe, won’t order fries with that anywhere else.
“The Hollywood hotspots are forever evolving,” said Malin. “But all we can do is consistently provide the best food, service and entertainment and hope to stay in the spotlight.”
So while the trendiest turf in Tinseltown can no doubt be picky and pretentious, Hollywood Boulevard is big enough for everyone.
“It’s not right to say that you can only have a good time in this town if you are pretty or have a profile,” said Perna. “Naturally, a lot of places are like that, but if you do your research you will find that there is room for everyone to rave.
"And remember, the hottest places in Hollywood aren’t always the most known. It’s often the secluded hideaways that are the most happening," she added.