The Los Angeles concert scene continues to get more crowded. Just weeks after the opening of the Moroccan Lounge, a new venue in the Arts District from the people behind Teragram Ballroom, comes today's announcement that Highland Park will be getting a new concert hall: the Lodge Room, a 500-capacity space inside the historic Highland Park Masonic Temple at the corner of Figueroa Street and Avenue 56, one block down from Highland Park Bowl (which opened just last year in the former space of a long-gone venue from Highland Park's grungy, pre-gentrification days, Mr. T's Bowl).
The new venue is expected to open in November and so far has confirmed three shows: Bedouine on Dec. 9, The Album Leaf on Dec. 15 and Black Marble on Jan. 12.
The brick-faced, Renaissance Revival building, completed in 1923, was originally the home of Masonic Lodge 382, with retail shops on the ground floor and a banquet hall upstairs. After the Masons left in 1983, the hall was rented out for quinceañeras, weddings, parties and other private events. More recently, it housed the field office for L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo. Among the ground-floor tenants is popular Vietnamese restaurant Good Girl Dinette.
In December of 2014, The Eastsider reported that the building was up for sale for $4.75 million. It was purchased by Hugh Horne, a real estate developer who primarily specializes in self-storage units. Horne and his group, 104 North Avenue 56, LLC, applied for a conditional use permit in May seeking onsite alcohol sales for a "new 7,533 [square foot] theater/restaurant/lounge having live entertainment and patron dancing." The application was accepted and will go into effect Nov. 4.
At a public hearing in June, according to The Eastsider, Horne pledged that his group had "no intention of disrupting" the building's historic character — and indeed, based on photos shared with L.A. Weekly by the venue's publicist, it appears that many of the old Masonic Temple's architectural details have been preserved or restored, including cherry wood paneling, cotton anaglypta wall coverings and various masonic and Egyptian symbols throughout.
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Horne's partners in turning the Lodge Room into a music venue are Brandon Gonzalez and Kyle Wilkerson, who present L.A. concerts together under the name Sid the Cat. Among the many act they've booked in the past are Ty Segall, Cate Le Bon, Big Thief and Julianna Barwick. Wilkerson is also the talent buyer at the Bootleg Theater and co-produces the annual Girlschool Festival.
In addition to a concert venue, the refurbished space will also house a restaurant called Checker Hall, serving New American cuisine and occupying the building's second-floor balcony overlooking Figueroa Street.