Inside Look: Parisian Nightclub Raspoutine Lands in L.A.
The iconic club with locations in Paris, Rome and Marrakesh has opened in West Hollywood.
The latest French import comes in the form of a nightclub: Paris' Raspoutine has officially opened its doors in West Hollywood.
"We tried to bring something that doesn't exist and something that was maybe missing here," says co-owner Alexander Ghislain, who owns the four global Raspoutine locations with Logan Maggio.
"We are a fake membership club. We don't want to pretend to be a membership club and give cards out because we don't want to lose anyone interesting who may be walking by," Ghislain added. "If you call yourself a membership club, you put up a barrier."
As for the club's aspirations? "We want what Studio 54 wanted in the past, to be able to accept anyone — anyone could have the chance [to get in], without pretension. If we think they fit at the club, they are welcome," he said of the mainly friends-of-friends door policy.
The owners opted to forgo the usual reliance on promoters that has become common practice among L.A. nightclubs. "Everyone should have an interesting personality," he said of their employees, from the doorman to the person standing by the restrooms. "We want people to come for what they find in the club — not for a promoter."
And what the A-list crowd will find in the club is a whole lot of glitz and glamour. With six chandeliers and two disco balls hanging from a mirrored ceiling, the whimsical over-the-top space (think: red lights, velvet and fur-lined everything, tassels and oversize mamushkas) replicates the storied club's other locations around the world — particularly the original in Paris, located next door to the Louis Vuitton flagship, off of Champs-Elysee.
Originally designed by French artist Erté, the French hotspot was originally a Russian cabaret restaurant (serving Champagne and caviar) in 1965 that attracted stars from Marlene Dietrich to Serge Gainsbourg. "[The original had] only exclusive people who could afford to go into a restaurant and order caviar," noted Ghislain.
As for the WeHo spot, which took over the former Villa lounge corner: "There's some Russian inspiration, as well as Moroccan and gypsy," he added of the two-story space with small tables that invoke Paris street cafes lining the center dance floor.
"A lot of clubs [in Los Angeles] are very cold in terms of color and material," Ghislain said of the space that's equipped with rich velvet (imported from France, of course) and carpet, plus cloud-like Tempur-Pedic floors — something other L.A. clubs should take note of — for the comfort of the well-heeled clientele walking through its doors.
"You feel like you're in the living room," he says of the small space which oozes exclusivity. "We play deep hour music, not commercial, so it's more sophisticated for the people — they don't have to hear the same music on the radio or other clubs, so we try to be more exclusive about music."
Raspoutine's resident DJ Marco Peruzzi — who may be joined by famous guest DJs Bedouin or Guy Gerber — spins deep house beats for a unique high-end L.A. nightclub experience.
The aim is to have a place for the Angeleno who frequents Soho House, Chateau Marmont, Sunset Tower Hotel and Petit Ermitage to party it up. Simply put, Ghislain sums it up with: "We want people to feel at home."
Raspoutine is open Wednesdays through Saturdays, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., at 8623 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood.