The Most Ridiculous LA Clubstaurants, Explained
Because, really, what even happens at these places?
The beauty of living in LA—besides having access to the Burbank airport—is that we’re surrounded by every type of restaurant. We have casual neighborhood spots, fancy oceanside steakhouses, and burrito counters inside Chevron stations. We also have clubstaurants, which are exactly what they sound like: nightclubs and restaurants mashed together in one place. Understandably, this much-maligned genre of restaurant isn’t for everyone, but the fact is, there are people who go to them. Lots of people. In the event you’re not a bottle service type, maybe you've always wondered what goes on inside these places. That's where we come in. Here are 13 of LA's most well-known clubstaurants, explained to the best of our abilities.
What It Is: Replacing the old Beso space on Hollywood Blvd., MainRo opened in August 2022, making it not just the newest clubstaurant on this guide, but one of the newest places to dance and get weird in the city. There isn’t a theme to MainRo, per se, unless you count over-the-top, unmitigated fun as a theme—which you should.
Verdict: A night here is like hanging out on the set of The Voice, if The Voice were filmed inside a spaceship rocketing towards unknown galaxies. It’s complete chaos from the moment you walk in, and yet the place makes you feel like you're at the center of a party. You’ll see Vegas-style showgirls, aerial acts, and other performers coming down from the ceiling belting out Adele. Servers will dance on tables to ABBA and Cher hits, and you’ll eat overpriced sushi rolls and random finger food like wagyu-stuffed gyoza that kind of taste like Big Macs. The food isn’t great, but it’s not so bad that it distracts from the pandemonium, which is why you’re here anyway.
What It Is: Even if you’ve never stepped foot in a clubstaurant in your life, chances are you’ve heard of Tao. The massive Asian-themed restaurant conglomerate has locations in NYC, Vegas, Chicago, and even central Connecticut, making its Hollywood opening in 2017 fairly inevitable. In 2018, Tao was the highest-grossing restaurant in the country—a humbling stat that only the great Britney Spears can sum up.
Verdict: Cultural appropriation, oily food, and stadium seating inside an indoor restaurant—Tao really does have it all. The reality is a night here provides a completely serviceable clubstaurant experience, and if you’re looking for an epic Vegas-tier space in LA, Tao delivers. But you’ll also eat food that’s slightly worse than what you’d find at PF Chang’s, drink fruity cocktails with no alcohol in them, and stare out at a crowd who definitely all have Starline bus tours booked for tomorrow.
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What It Is: Members is a Moroccan-themed clubstaurant on Sunset Blvd. located in a space that’s been home to many other Moroccan-themed spots over the years such as Dar Maghreb and Acabar. These names will no doubt ring a bell for anyone who partied hard in Hollywood circa the 2010s (e.g., us) and we’re happy to report the current experience at Members doesn’t stray far from its predecessors.
Verdict: Members is a tale of two experiences, and fortunately both have strong upsides. Make a dinner reservation before 10pm and you’ll walk into a low-key lounge setting filled with bubbling hookahs, very solid meze platters, and lamb kefta, plus the occasional belly dancer. After 10pm, things ramp up. Before you know it, the massive, riad-styled space is standing room only, and the belly dancers have been replaced by fire twirlers, bottle girls, and robots (??). It's sensory overload, so if it becomes too much, you can always head next door for a nightcap at Horses.
What It Is: Barton G is a ridiculously expensive restaurant on La Cienega (seriously, entrees start at $42) that was gifted to us by America’s other clubstaurant capital, Miami. That sentence alone should tell you all you need to know about the place, but it’s also worth noting that Barton G is “famous” for their over-the-top tableside presentations that come with every dish.
Verdict: Look, we respect a restaurant that commits to a bit, but when that bit gets to a point that you’re worried for the actual well-being of the waitstaff, it’s time to reconsider. Tableside presentations include blaring boomboxes, four-foot-tall busts of Marie Antoinette, and ribs that come out on a lawn mower—all of which are heavy, awkward, and shakily hauled by servers. Some of this is fun, but as the night progresses, it becomes clear why these props exist: to distract you from the inedible food. The most unsettling aspect of the place, however, is the sheer amount of children here, all celebrating birthdays near drunk women in tube tops and other grown adults who think they’re clubbing. But Barton G is not a club, it’s a Cheesecake Factory for people with more money than sense, and one of the most deeply uncomfortable dining experiences in the city.
The Nice Guy
What It Is: The Nice Guy opened in 2014 and is one of the few LA clubstaurants that can rightfully claim to be just as popular now as it was back then. The tiny, bungalow-like space on La Cienega is constantly filled with eager, well-dressed 25-year-olds whose parents are definitely covering rent as well as the occasional celebrity there to promote a product line.
Verdict: This might be the only spot on the guide where we’d go solely for the food. The Italian-leaning menu isn’t redefining the cuisine, but the fact that you’re served pizza that comes out nicely charred and the rigatoni arrives al dente is, in the world of clubstaurants, basically like getting past the door guy in flip flops—a rarity. If you arrive at The Nice Guy before 10pm, you’ll actually find a dimly lit, somewhat romantic restaurant. After 10pm, it quickly adopts the feel of one of those lawless Laurel Canyon house parties where everyone gets an invite from someone else, but no one actually knows who lives there.
What It Is: Located a few blocks from the original Catch, Catch Steak is a meat-centric spinoff in Weho that follows the exact same template as its predecessor: build a tacky, semi-exclusive space with generic food that tastes good, and the rich will follow.
Verdict: On any given night, you’ll see Tiffany-blue Teslas and camo-printed Rolls-Royces parked out front along La Cienega. Inside, the ballroom-esque space is filled with belligerent studio execs eating $250 tomahawk steaks and dudes in Armani suits refusing to take off their sunglasses even though it’s 9:45pm. Espresso martinis are guzzled like water. You’ll eat a crispy, well-dressed caesar and be pleased with whatever cut of prime/dry-aged/wagyu beef lands on your table, but that’s not the point. A night at Catch Steak is about the extravagance unfolding around you, so keep your head up and your eyes peeled—the show goes all night.
Beauty & Essex LA
What It Is: Beauty & Essex is yet another random clubstaurant under the Tao Group’s global empire umbrella. It’s located in Hollywood in the same complex as Tao, but with a generic dining room and a menu full of very basic dishes we thought were only served on international flights.
Verdict: We’ve dined here several times (you’re welcome) and still don’t actually know what this place is or how it exists. Problematic as it may be, at least Tao next door made a choice in its pan-Asian branding, Beauty & Essex’s theme is…a hotel conference center? Top deck of a Royal Caribbean cruise? We truly don’t get it, and clearly, neither does anyone else—this place is half-full even on the weekends. There is a working jewelry shop up front, in the event you want to reward yourself for making it through a meal without falling asleep.
What It Is: Delilah is an upscale restaurant/lounge in West Hollywood that, since opening in 2016, has maintained an impressive air of exclusivity, despite the fact that it’s pretty easy to get a table.
Verdict: Unlike a lot of places on this guide, Delilah is actually filled with people who live in LA. And by that we mean, contract Wilhelmina models and skeezy guys at the bar with one too many buttons undone. All that aside, dinner here is pleasant. The food—including what might be the best chicken tenders in the world—is solid, the waitstaff is genuine and attentive, and there’s a jazz singer crooning in the corner. It’s basically a dimly lit Lawry’s with sex appeal. After 10pm, things turn quickly, so if you don’t consider yourself part of the bottle service and extra-curriculars-in-the-bathroom crowd, it’s probably time to grab the check.
What It Is: Toca Madera is a very popular and very corporate “modern Mexican steakhouse” on 3rd. Street in Beverly Grove. It’s so popular that, since opening in 2015, it’s expanded to both Scottsdale and Las Vegas, bringing the same bland and generic Mexican food to two other states that don’t need it.
Verdict: Most places on this guide aren’t serving great food, but at least the majority of them have other fun, over-the-top elements to distract from it. At Toca Madera, people are there solely to eat—and that makes the level of food here unforgivable. We’re talking about $16 for a scoop of soured guacamole and $22 for an al pastor taco with a tortilla that crumbles in half when you pick it up. If there was something more exciting going on here than a bored DJ in the corner and a crowd full of people who still haven’t gotten cast on The CW, we might see the appeal. But at Toca Madera, what you see is what you get, which, unfortunately, isn’t much.
What It Is: Located on the 9th floor of the 1 Hotel in West Hollywood, Harriett’s is one of several impressive rooftops to open on the Sunset Strip over the last few years. But unlike surrounding spots that keep things more low-key, Harriett’s is desperately trying to be a club: Bottle service, DJs, and an all-female wait staff wearing uniforms that’d make some adult film stars blush.
Verdict: Points awarded to Harriett’s for being on a roof—and for sporting lovely views of La Cienega’s traffic—but otherwise, it’s unclear what really goes on here. Outside of peak hours when groups of dudes in Costco button-downs show up for bottle service, this place is shockingly sleepy. Not to mention that spending $22 on a California roll you could find at Ralph’s isn’t exactly the makings of an exciting night out. Instead, come here for brunch. The food is far more edible, the crowd is actually into it, and the sunshine will help blind your vision from the inexplicable Dave Chappelle shrine in the corner.
What It Is: The granddaddy of Hollywood club culture, this legendary spot has been around since the early 2000s, when the likes of Paris, Lindsay, and the cast of The Hills turned the Sunset Strip hideout into one of the world’s most exclusive clubs. In the years since, it has spawned spin-off locations in places like Miami, Cannes, Sydney, and where every real club kid wants to be caught partying—Crypto.com Arena.
Verdict: Ooof. In the words of Kenny Rogers, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,” and for Hyde, it’s time to fold. After moving down the street to a far less exclusive space in 2014, this place is a hollowed shell of its former self and is barely even a club or a restaurant. Even after 10pm the room is empty, making dinner feel like those episodes of The Bachelor when contestants are forced to have dates inside rented-out restaurants. We could deep dive into the food, but all you need to know is there’s a $42 chicken parm that comes out as sliced pizza.
photo credit: Ryan Forbes
What It Is: Lavo is a massive Italian clubstaurant on the Sunset Strip that was recently gifted to us from the mecca of clubstaurants, Las Vegas. While the original version is located inside The Palazzo, complete with an outside terrace and a lounge area that gets wild in a hurry, this location sits on the ground floor of a fairly drab office building.
Verdict: In Vegas, places like Lavo work because everyone is on a debaucherous vacation and eating an expensive meal while dancing on a table is somewhat expected. On the Sunset Strip, Lavo isn’t anything close to a clubstaurant. It’s just a big boring restaurant with aggressively mediocre food, generic decor, and a crowd made up of duped tourists and locals who don’t know better.
What It Is: Doheny Room is a lounge/restaurant/club/something-like-that in West Hollywood with locations all over the world. We’re assuming none of those places could be as bad as this one, right?
Verdict: If this place was a club, there would be people inside dancing. If it was a restaurant, it wouldn’t accept dinner reservations and then hand people a menu where the most substantial dishes are edamame and shishito peppers. Doheny Room, in its current form, is a vacant mess that should be avoided at all costs—unless you’re there for a company buyout, which appears to be the only way this place makes money.