Thriving in the Los Angeles Nightlife MarketJuly 22, 2014 By: Steve Lewis
Los Angeles is a difficult place to run a nightclub; the culture of partying in its sprawling metropolis centers around parties in people’s homes. A 2 AM drinking curfew not only diminishes the time a place has to make money but drives people to residences where clocks need not be watched.
Everyplace is a destination in LA's highway society, therefore parking and designated drivers can define a good time. However, Playhouse owner Rob Vinokur has succeeded and celebrates his 5th anniversary; an extraordinary achievement in a difficult landscape.
Vinokur's Muse Lifestyle Group has developed other properties in addition to Playhouse including Sound, Romanov, Chi Dynasty and Charlie's Pantry. Nightclub & Bar caught up with him and to get the story on his success.
Playhouse is 5 years old, how are you able to sustain success?
We have been pretty lucky. We believe we created a great brand in LA and a great place for people to have fun. We are always looking for ways to create a different experience every time guests are there.
As your space Sound developed, did Playhouse lose its luster? How do you not compete against yourself?
I think the most important thing when you are opening another club is programming, when we decided to build Sound we looked at completely different music programming so we would not compete with ourselves.
You have multiple venues can you tell us about economy of scale? How do you save money by centralizing some expenses?
When you have multiple venues, savings are a big thing, marketing, advertising, staff, accounting, promotions, graphics; there are so many ways you can use the same people.
It’s said to be difficult to thrive overtime in LA. Is this true? What are the advantages and disadvantages in the LA market?
LA is one of the most difficult markets I have ever owned a club in, 5 years in LA is like 20 years anywhere else. LA has lots of disadvantages, clubs stop serving at 2am, when most clubs around the world just start partying. Prior to Playhouse opening in 2009 most clubs in LA had small lounges where no one danced. Instead it was a place to be seen, we believe that Playhouse changed the nightclub scene in LA forever.
What is the state of bottle service in LA?
Bottle service is a big part of the nightclub scene, people love to feel special and bottle service gives them that feeling.
What is your approach to public relations?
I believe PR and Press helps a club with recognition but it’s the club and the party you throw that gives it longevity; with branding being very important.