DBA, a nightclub with some of L.A.’s most artistic and provocative entertainment, has closed.
The club, located at 7969 Santa Monica Blvd. near Laurel, was opened in December 2013 by Cardiff Giant, whose then partners were Beau Laughlin, Michael Jay and Todd Palmerton and which had Dilip Bhavnani as a major investor. Cardiff Giant’s other properties were the Churchill and Clover juice bar and the Hudson on North Crescent Heights Boulevard at Santa Monica.
“We founded DBA with the intention that it be so much more than a ‘nightclub’,” Laughlin said at the time. “We’re very aware that in hospitality, and especially so with nightlife, people want to constantly be surprised and stimulated.” Laughlin said DBA hoped to attract patrons “comfortable in the presence of the unfamiliar, be it art, culture, music and lifestyle, and open to anything, even, dare I say, a little discomfort!”
To prove that, DBA engaged Simon Hammerstein as the initial “curator” of the club. Hammerstein was the man behind the celebrated The Box in Manhattan and London that was known for cabaret spectacles and a VIP clientele. DBA lured “For the Record” away from Rockwell in Loz Feliz, bringing to West Hollywood a popular event that brought the films of Quentin Tarantino to life with performances of their songs. Other events at DBA included “The Writers Room,” Reza Azlan’s monthly series of interviews with writers accompanied by a house band and drinks.
DBA was celebrated for its role in transforming the Eastside of West Hollywood, a city where the nightlife scene long had been dominated by the Boystown gay nightlife district on the Westside and by clubs on Sunset Strip. Other popular bars and restaurants in the Center City and Eastside areas include Bar Lubitsch, Harlowe, Jones restaurant and bar, Laurel Hardware and Now Boarding bar.
News of DBA’s closing, which occurred the end of May, is still rippling through hipper elements of the nightlife community, and the club’s fans are mystified about what happened. Michael Jay, in a brief conversation with WEHOville, said DBA had been closed by Bhavnani and Brandon Hawkins, who had served as the club’s director of marketing and operations. Hawkins profile on LinkedIn lists him as vice president at Angelino Hospitality Group, a company formed last November by Bhavnani, and says that company now owns the Hudson, the Churchill and DBA.
Bhavnani, who said he had been the largest investor in Cardiff Giant, declined to discuss the closing of DBA. “There’s a lot of legal ramifications to what is happening with that space and unfortunately my lawyers have told me I can’t discuss it,” he told WEHOville. When asked whether a bankruptcy claim or lawsuit had been filed in the matter, Bhavnani said “not yet.” Siobhan O’Neill, executive director/ producer for “For the Record,” said she wasn’t prepared to comment on whether or where it would find a new home in Los Angeles.