Last night, Angelenos got their first look at the new Rolling Stone restaurant and lounge (dubbed RS/LA) at a packed American Music Awards afterparty. Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Kid Rock and dozens of other big names mingled inside the 10,500-square foot space, which sits inside a mall (this is Hollywood, people). Rolling Stone ringleader Jann Wenner held court at what is the first in a planned chain that will see locations pop up in New York and Miami over the next few years. Think Planet Hollywood but for music. So think, er, the Hard Rock Café.
Actually, the restaurant is surprisingly void of garish rock mementos. Upon entry, you will not be overwhelmed. The entry-level rooms are pedestrian, design-wise. Framed Rolling Stone covers adorn the walls and even the light fixtures. It’s nice, but downstairs is where you want to be. There, at the end of a steel staircase, the bar expands dramatically. Katy Perry and Russell Brand were acting all newlywed-y in one of the massive booths, while Ke$ha did her thing (use your imagination) in an adjacent banquette.
But don’t expect a famous crowd once RS/LA opens for real, sometime early next year. Its location in the Hollywood & Highland complex makes partying there like going out in Times Square. That said, the owners say they’ll be bringing in large, DJ-driven events, and also have a live music permit for bands.
Underground, there’s a faux-secret backroom behind the main bar, meant to function as a speakeasy. Because these days, you must have a speakeasy inside your restaurant venue lounge thing. The room is nice enough, with charming chalkboard lining the walls.
Described as “vintage chic” and “19th-century European bohemia” in a press release, Rolling Stone is really just a comfortable modern restaurant with a few nods to the past sneaked in downstairs. Owned by a team of investors (including Dwight Freeney of the Indianapolis Colts), RS/LA will appeal to those driving in from the San Fernando Valley who love to hang in the heart of Hollywood.