My baby, that’s my baby!” shrieks Connie Stevens as her daughter, actress Trish Fisher, gyrates atop a table to ”Shout” at the New Year’s Eve bash at Tatou in Beverly Hills.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar looks over; Gary Coleman stops chatting up a young woman. Robert Evans and Freddie Fields halt their schmoozing. Beverly D’Angelo whoops. Concrete palms cast an eerie aura over the sweating throng.
”It’s like a decadent Havana nightclub,” says TV producer Jay Weston approvingly.
A little decadence is just what the script doctor ordered for recession- weary Hollywood. After two years of self-restraint, L.A. has seen, in the past few months, the opening of nearly two dozen posh clubs and restaurants, with more on the way.
”The ’60s and ’70s generation has grown up,” says Mark Fleischman, co-owner of the new Tatou, which has branches in New York and Aspen. ”They want to dress up and party.”
Longtime institutions like Morton’s and Spago are forever in, but there’s a fresh scene captivating L.A. Besides the high-energy Tatou, here are the hot night spots among the A-list crowd:
THE GATE, Los Angeles. Atmosphere: Oh-so-tasteful Victorian elegance, with deep green carpets, fireplaces, and Oriental rugs. Mario Van Peebles elaborates: ”I want to be in a place dedicated to the lifestyles of the rich and foolish.” Dress code: High end. Very. Food: Heavy on champagne and caviar. Clientele: Sly Stallone, George Harrison, Rob Lowe, Denzel Washington, Magic Johnson.
THE T. ROOM, Hollywood. Atmosphere: High-tech. Grazing bar is granite; dining room glows in red patent leather. Dress code: Jeans and baseball caps okay. Food: French-Chinese. Clientele: Madonna, Ridley Scott, Kiefer Sutherland, Timothy Leary.
THE MONKEY BAR, Los Angeles. Atmosphere: ’40s ocean liner; Billie Holiday on the speakers and jungle murals on the walls. Dress code: No torn jeans. Food: California. Clientele: Penny Marshall, Dolly Parton, James Brooks, Nick Nolte, Jack Nicholson.
AVA’S, West Hollywood. Atmosphere: Mauve and malleable, with dining room, poolroom, dance floor, semiprivate booths, and — appropriately enough — a giant tank filled with baby sharks. Ava Fabian, Playboy‘s Miss August 1986, runs and co-owns the place. Dress code: ”No vests with bare chests,” says Fabian. Food: Continental. Clientele: Jason Priestley, Armand Assante, Hugh and Kimberley Hef-ner, Christie Brinkley, Prince.
While these clubs are sizzling and others, like Glam Slam (owned by Prince) and House of Blues (Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, and River Phoenix), will open noisily soon, they all face the challenge of a fickle town. Some have learned the hard way, like Frank Stallone’s Blak and Bloo, which shut temporarily after two shootings occurred outside late last year; Asylum, ’92’s hottest spot, which cooled into rigor mortis and closed up last June; and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Schatzi on Main, which has been languishing.
”People get tired here very fast,” says a bartender at Ava’s. ”L.A. is always searching for something new.”