You can’t read anything about L.A. nightlife these days without seeing the name Sam Nazarian and his company SBE mentioned somewhere — and it’s a safe guess that’s just how the man likes it. Revered by many, reviled by some (usually his competitors), the Iranian-American’s big bucks and bigger ideas will, if everything goes according to plan, transform Los Angeles’ after-dark scene into a swanky oasis akin to Miami and New York. “My dream is to create sophisticated venues for the most discerning of locals and international patrons to enjoy,” he explains. While there is still some debate about whether Nazarian’s big way of doing things will really be beneficial to the city (his plans for a mega-department-store-size club in Hollywood have been met with some opposition), no one denies the 29-year-old’s passion or business savvy. He was smart enough to join forces with the city’s most-buzzed-about promoter, Brent Bolthouse (see feature), and he was the first club owner to not only recognize the fickle nature of the species known as the club-goer, but to actually do something about it. Nazarian is notorious for transforming the upscale décor and vibe of his venues nearly as often as he changes his socks. “Learning from the days of Studio 54 and the Limelight,” he says, “I believe that club-goers deserve constant giving back.” Sounds good to us, but the big question is, Will we all need to be able to afford $30 parking and $300-per-bottle service tables to enjoy it?

—Lina Lecaro

LA Weekly