The corner of Selma Avenue and N. Cahuenga Boulevard — where nightlife hotspots Tao, Dream Hollwyood, and Beauty & Essex are located — is rarely quiet. But on Jan. 25, the lines stretched even longer than usual, thanks to the highly anticipated opening of The Spotlight, a music venue whose name refers to the space’s storied past as a 24-hour gay nightclub in the ‘70s.
As I walked past a psychedelic mural by Valfré wrapping the exterior, the 2,700-square-foot space unfolds with dim, gold-toned lighting made for date night. Framework, the production company also behind the nearby club Sound, is responsible for the moody interior that they say is reminiscent of a 1960s speakeasy. But while Sound is known for electronic music, The Spotlight is built for the bona fide live-music fan with more eclectic tastes.
Past the bar that offers a drink named after Avicii, British singer-songwriter SG Lewis — known for his collabs with artists like Tove Lo and Dua Lipa — is spinning inside a custom DJ booth built on automatic hydraulics. (The Dare and Ahmed Spins are also booked to play this weekend, with upcoming acts including DJ Tennis and Ariel Vromen.) The crowd, or at least those who could make it inside, take to the all-new dance floor in droves under a big disco ball.
Even when packed, the space feels comfortable to the VIP crowd. There were no photo shoots or or TikToks being created that I could see. (Photos and videos are prohibited in the main DJ space on Thursday nights.) Even the unofficial dress-code is cooler than your average Hoolywood spot: Dr. Martens, black minis, and leather bombers feel refreshingly casual compared to the usual super-tight and sexy L.A. fodder; the guys in attendance mostly went for band tees and blazers.
Folks of all ages danced and hung out on the couches in the back, which opens onto a brick-walled outdoor space and another bar. In the crowd, I spotted influencer Rickey Thompson, as well as The Bungalow and Neon Carnival founder Brent Bolthouse.
Notably, L.A. bars close at 2 a.m. (blame it on early-morning Runyon hikes), but when I left well- after midnight, there was still a line to get in. Considering how it stands out among the area’s other options, with something for everyone, we’d say it’s well worth the wait.