Throwing a successful soiree can be satisfying, but sometimes it just doesnt seem worth all the stress and mess. Theres the worrying about who doesnt get along with whom and wholl be offended if they arent invited, plus providing music, food and drink (cocktails can get expensive, but keggers are a little too high school). And lets not forget the aftermath of allowing pals and, if its a rager, many strangers into your home, which can get you clogged toilets, broken or stolen stuff, and pissed-off neighbors. Its just so much easier to take the mayhem to a bar or club.
Suddenly, the pressure to play hostess is off you and onto the establishment. You can invite everyone. Drink and in some cases food is taken care of, and heck, people will buy you cocktails instead of the other way around. And most importantly, your cozy abode isnt invaded and destroyed by the drunken revelers you call friends.
What follows is a list of nightspots from the glitzy joints where Hollywoods elite (and even more wannabes) throw their shindigs to the real down-and-dirty sure-fire hits to the latest hangs. Party on!
Swanky and/or Skanky
White Lotus: Since this exotic oasis (can you believe it used to be the Crush Bar?) opened its doors, its been a white haute magnet for the celeb set. But if youre just an average Joe/Jane who wants to celebrate here, make a dinner reservation early (the high-priced menu features sushi and Asian cuisine), and youll avoid the model and Euro-trash monster mash at the velvet-roped entrance, which, unless youre Ashton Kutcher, is a torturous wait.
1743 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 463-0060
The Lounge: This place may never live down the infamous Britney-Justin dance-off (hell, it was even re-enacted by Matt Damon on Saturday Night Live), but with topnotch DJs and promoters, its still got the makings of a slammin bash. Just dont get too tipsy or you might be seen staggering behind some TV star on E!s Celebrities Uncensored. The stalkerazzi camp out here.
9077 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 888-8811
Forty Deuce: Who doesnt want to see some skin at their birthday or bachelor party? Deuce (from the dude behind Deep) is the purr-fect place for the latter, especially if your bride has issues with a full-on nasty strip club. Burlesque-style grinders dance and prance about the stage and along the bar-cum-runway while a live combo busts out old-timey beats. Of course, you gotta be someone or have some bucks for the good seats.
5574 Melrose Ave., (323) 465-4242
Hollywood Men at Arena: Until somebody comes up with a strip show featuring lanky tattooed rocker pretty boys, this is where the ladies in L.A. will go for their man candy. Formerly at 7969, the parade of packages now pops up at Arena, and even if youre not into the beefcake type, this nights a blast. Bring earplugs its a real scream fest!
6655 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, (818) 845-6636
The Standard (downtown): A warning to those who think girlie-drinks dont pack a punch the giant Apple-tinis here are downright dangerous. They may be pricey, but a couple of these deceptively sweet sippers and you may not remember the gorgeous view of the downtown office buildings that encompass the place or the groovy 2001-like décor or, uh, canoodling with some fella in one of the waterbed pod thingies, and, yikes, splashing around in the buff in the wonderfully warm and shallow swimming pool. Just remember not to go on a weekend if you actually want to get in.
550 S. Flower St., downtown, (213) 892-8080
Hollywood Athletic Club: Youll have a gay ol time at Tigerheat, the pop-o-rama dance club that takes over HAC on Thursdays. Bring your straight guy and/or music-snob friends and watch them let loose or writhe in discomfort as hot shirtless hunks from BoyU.com hump and bump to Christina Aguilera and Beyoncé.
6525 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 462-6262
The Parlour: WeHos most original array of party-worthy themed promotions happen here (the homo hijinks of Hot Dog and Dirty Dirty House Club, for example), but its Vaginal Davis Roaring 20sthemed soiree called Bricktops that takes hedonistic hell-raising to a whole new level, substituting the sultry decadence of jazz and Parisian Café societystyle repartee for the high-decibel drone-and-bone of the modern rock club. Even the vivacious Bibbe Hansen (Becks mom) celebrated her b-day here.
7702 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 650-7968
Saddle Ranch Chop House: Yeah, its jock-dude hell on the weekends, but come by on a weeknight, hunker down over a humongous plate o grub and some big brewskis among the theme-park-like décor, and you might start to appreciate the Ranchs kitschy charm. Okay, its really all about ridin the mechanical bull, and if its good enough for the gals on Sex and the City, its good enough for us.