Photos by Pablo Enriquez
If the slogan “Drink. Sleep. Record.” didn’t already give it away, the new Gold-Diggers in East Hollywood just rounded out its multifaceted entertainment concept with the opening of its uniquely stylish hotel (now accepting reservations) located atop the bar/venue and recording studio of the same name.
Dave Neupert, a music industry veteran, who was head of new media for Maverick Records and ran his own M80 online marketing company, purchased the space a few years ago for a cool $3.3 million. He launched his “bed and beverage” concept with the Royal Street Inn and R Bar in New Orleans, and counts several other Los Angeles venues – popular Echo Park dive The Short Stop, as well as La Cita, Footsies, Melody Lounge, El Dorado and Monty Bar – among his portfolio.
Following the purchase of the Gold-Diggers location, he brought in Wick Architecture & Design to create a singular atmosphere – and while the new space feels hip and modern, it still pays homage to its history.
Originally built in 1924, the Greene Building – as it was once known – has had several incarnations. The recording studio was in the ’50s filmmaker Ed Wood’s soundstage, Quality Studios, and he filmed scenes for Plan 9 From Outer Space there. This was also the last place Bela Lugosi performed before he died. Eventually the soundstage became a legendary rehearsal space called Shamrock Studios, known for hosting rock, punk, and metal bands like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Slayer, and Guns N’ Roses.
We learned all of this sipping mezcal cocktails called Naked & Famous with the friendly bartender. There was a DJ that night, and in place of a live performance, a projection of the Westminster Dog Show. These walls can talk, too. What was originally a tavern became a “bikini bar” in the 1960s, complete with stripper pole. As legend would have it, Manson’s (Charles’, not Marilyn’s) girls used to frequent the spot.
Upstairs, we took a tour of the hotel, which is sprinkled with carefully chosen treasures; everything, we were told, is from local artisans and artists. Andrew Savage’s animated paintings – bright, bold, and simple interpretations of city life – grace the walls. We made our way to our room, which felt very much like an urban oasis (overused term, but here it really applies). From floor to ceiling, this is what a modern boutique hotel really should be: lead with good vibes, good lighting, and chicly appointed furniture…and the rest will follow.
Indeed, soft, velvet couches, a record player with a carefully curated selection of LPs (courtesy of DJ Justin Gage aka Aquarium Drunkard), a white chevron-tiled bathroom with Malin + Goetz amenities, and an Alexa, for those whose privacy paranoia is still under control. It was everything we needed, nothing more, nothing less.
There’s something to be said for a place with a built-in history, not one manufactured by a scheming branding agency. Gold-Diggers showcases its past; but unlike the gym that cheesily kept the Tower Records sign out front, the tribute feels authentic – like its predecessors would genuinely approve of the facelift. It’s the ideal trifecta of drink, sleep, record – for anyone who has long grown tired of the scene that always seems to be trying too hard.