Ivan Kane Keeps You Drunk & Fed During the Depression

imageIt’s lunchtime, and I’m getting hungry and thirsty. A food and drinks post is in order. The taco truck results are in: Kogi, the famed rising star, and probably the only Korean BBQ taco truck in the known universe, did not win LA Taco’s face-off. Rather, Yuca’s, a perennial local favorite, took home the top taco. I don’t know why food and drink needs to be a contest — but Angelenos seem intent on giving out awards. And there are yet more to be doled out.

The Los Angeles Beer Festival, held over the weekend in Culver City, declared some winners, including People’s Choice: Phuket, which beat out some 60 entrants. Not a beer person? Don’t worry, there are more food-and-drink festivals coming. So many that it’s sort of confusing. In addition to the LA Cabal beer fest we mentioned last week, there’s the upcoming Sake Festival on April 23; the LA BBQ Festival on May 9 and 10; and LA Wine Fest in June. No wonder I’ve gained ten pounds since I moved here. Seriously. There’s a new food blog in town: The LA Weekly has started Squid Ink with contributions from Weekly staff, including Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold, as well as contributions from Gourmet critic Margy Rochlin and food blogger Jessica Ritz. So far they’ve got posts about the opening of gourmet grocer Bottega Louie; tips about spending Passover in LA, and a review of Sunday brunch at Barbarella.

Ivan Kane, he of Forty Deuce fame, is facing the depression head on. (Yeah, I’m calling it now. Depression.) He’s got a daily “Stimulus Plan” for his revelers at Ivan Kane’s Cafe Wa s. Every night, you can drink bottomless carafes of red and white table wine for $15. Or you can eat the “Bohemian Feast” (four-course prix fixe menu) every Sunday through Wednesday night for just $30. He’s also got “Wino Wednesdays” and “Hobo Mondays.” Cheap and cheerful, as they say.

Industry Insiders: Ivan Kane, Nightlife Thespian

Ivan Kane, the metteur en scène behind Ivan Kane’s Café Wa s French Bistro and Piano Lounge in Hollywood and Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce Nightclub and Burlesque at Mandalay Bay in Vegas, opens up on his idols, theater requirements, and the death of the velvet rope.

What do you do? I create. It’s what feeds my soul. I wear the hat of a businessman by default.

When you’re not running the show, where can you be found? Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle in New York City. Old school vibe. Dark leather. Comfortable booths. Whimsical murals. Dan Tana’s Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. East Coast vibe. Red checkered table cloths. Great veal Parmagiano. Joe Allen’s in New York. After-theater crowd. Great salad. Posters of Broadway shows that have failed line the walls.

Who do you admire in your industry? Sean MacPherson. On both coasts, he has great bars, restaurants, and hotels. From Swingers and Yamashiro to Waverly Inn, they have lasting qualities. He doesn’t try for flavor of the month. Also, Ivan Kane. Completely unique. Always different. Dares to think outside the box. Cares.

What’s been good in your industry lately? New places keep opening. The consumer has many choices, which is a good thing.

Name something you think is played out. Velvet ropes are passé. Community is what is needed and wanted.

What is something that people might not know about you? This should be obvious. I love theater. All of my venues are theatrical. I believe nightlife needs to be an experience.

What are you doing tonight? Rehearsing Cabaret with my 15-year-old son … he’s playing a lead in the play. Working, touching tables at Ivan Kane’s Café Wa s.