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Nightclub Confidential

Playhouse Thrives Under Experienced Hands

July 12, 2012 By: Steve Lewis


Los Angeles is different. Books and movies have explored this concept for eons. In club land the sheer amount of bold face names and the early drinking curfew have limited most places ability to make money.

There is fierce completion not necessarily limited to between clubs but between clubs and a culture that emphasizes entertaining at homes. House parties rule the night. Therefore, a lounge or music venue environment is often more relevant than a New York or Las Vegas style mega club experience. Playhouse bucks this trend.

Under the experienced hand of Rob Vinokur, owner of MUSE Lifestyle Group and Playhouse Nightclub, Playhouse has thrived in a culture that caters to the opposition. Celebrating its third Anniversary, that's 90 in human years, Playhouse is over 10,000 square feet and features a Funktion One sound system. It features a main room, an upstairs lounge and a small restaurant which is also tasked to cater corporate affairs. It also has state of the art lighting and a full stage. All of these elements have added to the success. Nightclub Confidential caught up with Rob Vinokur and asked him all about it.

Nightclub Confidential (NCC):  During the past three years how has Playhouse evolved?

Rob Vinokur: I believe Playhouse has become a staple in Hollywood; we are like a good bottle of wine we get better with age.  Many clubs have opened and closed in the time since Playhouse opened. However, Playhouse has remained popular and busy. We opened the club with a music format that has only become more popular, but we have added new lighting and media technology to add to the club-goers’ experience.  Additionally, we have put in new twists on fun elements, adding to the aerialist shows, themed events, and production elements to enhance the ‘play’ aspect of Playhouse.

NCC:  What was one of the biggest challenges that you saw when opening in the LA market versus the NYC and Vegas markets?

Vinokur: The LA market is very different than NYC and Vegas: last call for alcohol is 2am, but nobody goes out until 12 or 12:30. By the time you start having a good time it's time to close.  It’s more challenging to constantly create new and interesting ways to produce early traffic since there is a smaller overall window.

NCC:  What did you bring that was different to the LA market?

Vinokur: Having clubs in NYC and Miami, I brought fun and EDM to Hollywood. Prior to Playhouse, nobody had fun here, no one danced on tables or banquettes, they just people watched. Playhouse was the first true ‘entertainment’ nightclub in Hollywood.

NCC:  You had a dream team with Lionel Ohayon and his Icrave team designing, Steve Lieberman doing lighting and Dan Agne bringing in a Funktion One sound system. With three years of use and new technology are their changes or adjustments foreseen in the next three years?

Vinokur: Yes, Icrave and the entire team have been hired again to rebrand Playhouse.

NCC:  To what extent does celebrity presence drive the club? Do the crowds come for the celebs or the celebs come for the crowd?

Vinokur: I think the celebs come for the party....I'm sure some patrons come because celebs party at the club.  We guard our relationships with celebrities carefully, as carefully as we guard their privacy, so they know that they are ‘safe’ to come and party here without fear of us selling them out to the media. 

NCC:  What do you have planned for your three year anniversary celebration?

Vinokur: We are having a Three Some / Menage a Trois themed party - the theme is implied and merely suggestive of course.  The event will be almost a week long and we will have heavy new production elements for the parties.

NCC:  You are known for bringing in international talent. How important is to your brand to have the big name DJ’s?  

Vinokur: I think Playhouse is a place where people come to party no matter who the DJ is, we bring big DJ's in four times a month just to give our patrons something special.

NCC:  Is the brand expandable to other markets?

Vinokur: Yes, we are looking into different markets as we speak.

NCC:  Does it ever get boring?

Vinokur: No, I love what I do and I enjoy seeing people having a good time at my clubs.  That never gets old.  It’s a rewarding career to invest in other people’s entertainment and provide a place for them to have fun.


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