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Nightclub Confidential

Around the Scene: Sept. 17, 2009

September 17, 2009 By: Bryan Bass


Happy birthday to the venerable Panama City nightclub Club La Vela, which celebrates its 25th year of operations this month. The 6,000-person, multi-room venue started as a small beach club and concert hall in 1984 and has achieved nationwide recognition in large part because of a media-savvy touch that had La Vela hosting dozens of broadcasts with MTV, TNT, VH1, the Travel Channel and E! Television.



We teased our readers months ago about the rock-star heavy Dead Man’s Hand bar being planned in Las Vegas, and it seems the ink on the deal is now dry. The venue will launch in late September as part of the Crazy Horse III complex located a few blocks from The Strip. Definitely in on the deal, which was spearheaded by Vegas nightlife scion Gino LoPinto, are Scott Ian of Anthrax and Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains. Additionally, there are rumors that Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction), Kirk Hammett (Metallica) and Vinnie Paul (Pantera) may be involved in the venue. Ian’s wife Pearl Aday (also Meat Loaf’s daughter) was overheard commenting, “This will be the first of many.”



One of the UK’s larger club and bar companies, Helena Leisure, has been rescued in a restructuring deal with London-based investment firm, RCapital. The transaction will keep 28 bars and clubs open and operating under their respective brands: Savoy, 3D, Jumpin Jaks, Viennas and Mr. G’s. RCapital invested about $1.33 million (800,000 pounds) in exchange for 26 percent equity in the company. Interestingly, the venues originally were acquired from 3D Entertainment Group, of which UK mega-club company Luminar Group Holdings was a major shareholder. Last month, Luminar announced it has raised nearly $60 million to widen its empire with 14 more venues.



An old adage says there’s no such thing as bad press, and uber-popular San Diego nightclub Stingaree is out to prove it’s true. After the club sent out a press release that San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman and reality TV star Tila ‘Tequila’ Nguyen were present at the venue before Merriman was arrested a few hours later, a local paper connected the dots from Merriman to other Chargers who have had trouble with the law either inside or after leaving the venue, including Steve Foley and Shaun Phillips. “We can't control what our clients do after they leave. What we can control is that while they are here, they're safe and they're not overserved (with alcohol),” commented Stingaree owner James Brennan. “And that's whether they are a Charger or my mailman.”


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Bryan Bass


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