In 1923, one of Hollywood’s famous restaurateurs, Frenchman Eddie Brandstatter, spent $150,000 on what was to become Montmartre Café at 6757 Hollywood Blvd.
Situated on the second floor above a bank at the time, it was the most popular ballroom in Hollywood during the 1920s. According to its Web site, the Montmartre was famous for its Saturday afternoon tea dances and Charleston contests, which late actress Joan Crawford often won.
Montmartre continued to be a popular place for the rich and famous and all other party people for a very long time. It changed names throughout the years and the most recent club was called Montmartre Lounge.
The bank is now a lingerie store. The venue is now called Marbella.
Although the club is not officially open to the public until December, sneak preview nights are now offered in order to promote the grand opening.
On Nov. 13, club Marbella held its official opening party for its promotional Friday nights public events.
The opening party was hosted by Ford model Rob Rogoff and Playboy model Roxanne Dawn with early arrivers offered a complimentary buffet, while the disc jockeys EC Twins and Mike Palmeri provided a mix of popular music from the stage in the main room.
Although the name has changed and some touch-ups of the place have been done, the venue is basically the same.
The club is very large, with three main sections inside and a large outdoor patio.
When first entering the club, one walks through a narrow hallway, where the toilets are located, as one could smell quite clearly by the end of the night when exiting.
The first room, which is divided to the next one by two big vaults, has a ceiling that is quite low, with three big orange lamps leading the way to the bar. Some random high tables are spread around the room where people can mingle and enjoy their drinks. On the other side of the vaults is the main room.
The main room, which the rest of the club is built around, contains a seating area and a huge disco ball in the high ceiling, hanging over the large dance floor. There are two stages, one on each of the short side of the dance floor. On the far side of the dance floor, the VIP area is located which is separated by being three feet higher up than the rest of the club with a little fence around it as if it was a balcony.
The people on the VIP balcony have to pay a high price for being a bit higher up than the rest of the patrons. A table with bottle service in that area on the opening night cost a minimum of $1,000. If they run out of the alcohol included in the price it is possible to buy a new bottle of vodka starting at $300 or maybe a bottle of tequila starting at $325.
The “secluded” area of the more “important” people, is definitely not worth that kind of money. The atmosphere of the club is on the dance floor, where the people can enjoy their $6 beers and $10 to $12 drinks while dancing to the remix of “Sex on Fire” by Kings of Leon, among other popular tunes.
Marbella’s interior has a “Spanish meeting 1930s Hollywood glamour” design, according to the official invite. However, when inside the spacious place,it does not impress as much as a club that size has the potential to do. It feels too naked and impersonal, and had it not been for the very talented disc jockeys of the night, the entire party mood on opening night would have been long gone.
If it is a very typical Hollywood club one is after, where quantity and not quality matters, then Marbella will not disappoint. But if one has the fantasy of the old 1930s Hollywood glamour in their head and is hoping to feel some of the old spirits of the golden age from Montmartre Café, then disappointment is what one will experience.
Ladies, watch your step when wearing high heels. Walking up to the club on the steep stairs can be dangerous. Unfortunately, the stairs are not avoidable since it is the only way into the club. That is, if one ever gets behind the red rope to begin with.
Judging by the opening night, if one wants to be part of these busy Fridays, arriving early is a must, but may not even be enough. As always, “dress to impress,” be polite, and the line will get shorter. The club is for people 21 and up, and patrons not on the list will have to pay a $20 dollar entrance fee.
Something the club has in its favor, however, is the very large outdoor patio, which does not amaze as much on a freezing cold November night as it will do during the warm spring and summer nights. It is not a bad club overall, but it has just been done so many times before. Marbella is no different from any other club on the boulevard, but since it is new it will automatically be the place to be for a while.
Since the Friday nights are part of a special one-off promotional event, there is no guarantee that they will continue every Friday, so keep an eye out on their Web site for opening nights.