Hollywood Nightlife: Inside the Exclusive Giorgio's, the New Spot That's Drawn Mick Jagger
This story first appeared in the Jan. 3, 2014, issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
"I said I'd never do another nightclub again -- that I'd rather eat glass."
That is what L.A. nightlife and event producer Bryan Rabin told Andre Balazs, owner of The Standard, when Balazs raised the idea in early 2013. It also is what Rabin, now 44, said in 2009 when he closed what he thought would be his last club, Diamond Dogs. "My heart just wasn't there. I thought I was too old to do another club," says Rabin. "L.A. can be such an ageist city."
Then Balazs confided that disco DJ Adam XII, a regular at Barack Obama events, was on board. "I told him I'd do it if we could call it Giorgio's for Giorgio Moroder, who invented disco music."
Since then, this blacked-out, invite-only club on Saturday nights -- capacity 100 -- has been the hottest spot for Sean Combs, Russell Simmons, Lenny Kravitz, Kate Beckinsale, Baz Luhrmann and designers Prabal Gurung and Haider Ackermann. Talk about Saturday night fever.
Rabin credits Crystal Lourd, West Coast VIP relations director at Tom Ford, with helping make Giorgio's such an addictive scene. She brings such friends as designer Brian Atwood and Amber Valletta. "You can be dancing next to Mick Jagger any given Saturday," Lourd jokes.
The infamous "Jagger night" happened unexpectedly in October. "When I saw Mick, I gulped," Rabin recalls, "and said, 'Mr. Jagger, I don't have a table for you' -- but he said, 'Darling, I'm here to dance!' and hit the floor hard with those hip moves."
And no one whipped out a camera phone. "If I see someone shooting," warns Rabin, "I say: 'We take care of our guests here. We give them the gift of privacy.' "
Rufus Wainwright often pops in on his way home -- "so you can feel like a party animal," he jokes. The singer was introduced to Jagger by Rabin: "Meeting Mick was tremendous. He was the quintessential gentleman -- not a shred of rock-star crap."
Starting out in 1989, Rabin began a spectacular run on the after-dark scene, when the former figure skating champion teamed with former partner Jimmy Medina and began creating gritty-meets-glam nights. "First was The Lounge in 1989," recalls Rabin. "Then Jimmy and I did Prague. That's when I first found 'my crowd' of renegades: straight, gay, rich, poor, art, fashion, music." In 1994, he opened Cherry, which ran until 2002: "People were dying of AIDS then. Everyone just wanted to dance through their tears."
From there: the release party for Madonna's album Music. A W magazine Oscar party, where Roberto Cavalli mingled with Gwyneth Paltrow. Events for Hermes, Paul Smith and Gwen Stefani, and the Armani Prive show in 2005 with George Clooney and Beyonce. He even created the memorial for Gore Vidal.
"Bryan is Steve Rubell without the coke," is how friend Michael Des Barres describes the seemingly bad-boy but very sober Rabin.
At his new club, Rabin's favorite night was the one when the real Giorgio -- Moroder -- showed up. "The crowd went ballistic. He'd created the music, but he'd never gone out much. He had no idea how much people revere his music. And who knew this disco redux would happen?" says Rabin, citing big 2013 hits by Daft Punk, whose new album Moroder worked on. "It's clear we were on to something," says Rabin. "People are dancing with abandonment and joy."
"And," he adds with his charmingly impish grin, "I guess I wasn't done."