Industry Insiders: Lauran Hoffman, Bubble Lounge Bombshell
Bubble Lounge at the Brig promoter Lauran Hoffman on the advent of the lesbian joint, the best weekend pick-up spots, and what she’ll be doing to sleep with us.
On January 28th, Bubble Lounge is moving the Wednesday night craziness just around the corner to The Garter at 2536 Lincoln Blvd. Venice, CA 90291.
Where do you hang out? The Abbey is like the most popular sibling in your family. It’s sometimes hard to like because of all the talent it has that can overwhelm even the most hardcore clubber, and it’s impossible not to love. The mere religious and blasphemous connotations of the bar’s name are enough to keep ‘em coming back for communion — into eternity. I dig going dancing at the Garter. They have cool DJs, and when they don’t want to play the song I requested, they say so with so much attitude, it’s almost respectable. Also, it teeters between posh and dive-y. I’ve always thought it’s important to spoil earthy girls and shock the high-maintenance ones for the simple reason that earth girls can’t be shocked, and high-maintenance chicks are bored with being spoiled. The Garter provides the perfect formula to bring home either effect. The Speak Easyis my favorite dive or hang to fall into on a Saturday for the friendliest karaoke, pool playing, or practically free cocktails. Don’t expect to get any bottled water in this place, but if you want an awesome bar to take someone you’re cheating with and grind her on top of the pool table, this is your scene.
You’re also a bit of a foodie. Where do you eat? I eat at the same two restaurants every day for lunch. Axe is so zen, highbrow, and healthy that they can only karmically get away with being open for five days a week. The other days I gladly split with Cora’s. The soups are mind-altering, vegan, and you can eat as clean or as sleazy as your mouth will order for you. Every dish is masterful, and the ambiance does its part in facilitating a nooner.
If it ain’t sexy, I don’t want to eat there for dinner. That’s one reason Gjelina is my new favorite. The atmosphere is European, every dish is sultry perfection. Joe’s is consistently great, scene-y, and comfortable. I sit at the bar where I can dine and people-watch with impunity. Capo is my all-time secret spot that I wouldn’t share unless I was trying to sleep with you, which apparently I am. Not cheap, but then, neither is sleeping with you.
In your own words, what do you do? You know how, when someone forgets to shut a door, you yell at them, “What, were you born in a barn?” Well, I was born in a bar. At least psychically. Having grown up in a small town where if you were outed as gay they’d hang you from the nearest oak — the discovery of my first lesbian bar was like losing my virginity, in the fun way.
There weren’t any lesbian bars on the west side until The Brig welcomed Bubble Lounge on Wednesday nights. This is totally a Venetian phenomenon. Venice has managed to maintain an open-minded hippie and bohemian mystic that hasn’t changed since the ‘60s. I can have dinner at Joe’s, Hal’s, Primitivo, Beechwood, or Gjelina. Go dancing at the Garter, or the Air Conditioned Bar, and totally make out with a chick without getting hassled by the staff, or dudes who think it’s hot and want a three-way. As long as it’s not their date I’m macking on. So the main thrust of Bubble Lounge was to create a scene that would replicate what all the straight restaurants and clubs in Venice Beach do naturally, while making it a predominately homosexual scene including gays, lesbians, and any straight people who want to dive in for the cool energy. In Hollywood dialogue, it’s where the living characters from the series Mad Men would hang if they were real and gay. The clientele is stylish, sophisticated, and stimulating. I have Dave Reiss, the owner, to thank for thinking outside of the box and allowing a once a week event club to grab hump night in his intensely cruise-y, pick-up scene bar.
Who do you admire in the hospitality industry? Ruthie, the owner of the Speak Easy, sings her heart out during karaoke — in between slinging shots and beers behind the bar. She’s super hip and someone whom I aspire to be like when I grow up. Chris is the manager at Gjelina. I’ve been friends with him for 10 years, but that wouldn’t help me finagle a table at the most popular new restaurant in town. He is too unpretentious to even approach with that kind of, “I have juice,” behavior. Last week, when I came in with a date, and she asked him what his job description was, he replied sincerely, “I am the bringer of smiles.” Enough said. Brian Everingham is the man who tends bar at Capo and makes the whole world feel at your beck and call as soon as you step into the room. If I could only get a dame who treats me as well.
What do you see in nightlife these days that you like? I see all bars and clubs becoming more mixed. Gay, straight, lesbian, all ethnicities, everyone. Brown is the new black, kumbaya.
Anything you see that you don’t like? I see only the positive. Which some might think is a real drawback.
What is something that people don’t know about you? I have fixed many people up who are now in relationships together. Sure, some have had children, some divorced after a decade, but I was there at some point to jump in and manipulate their destinies. It’s a dangerous business. I’m lucky to still be alive because eventually a couple will want to blame someone.
What is your favorite album? I’m embarrassed to admit this because it might me look like a nerd-ball with corrective glasses. Not so far from the truth. Let’s just say the last album I purchased from iTunes was We Dance. We Sing. We Steal Things. By Jason Mraz. And the one before that isn’t gonna help my case either: Pink’s Funhouse.
Where’s the best place to pick up girls? The Abbey on a Sunday afternoon seems to be the best thing going for lesbians who don’t mind being out before sundown. It’s a bold statement for a girl to make an advance in broad daylight. But you know if you pull down someone in the day, you might actually get a decent night’s sleep and be up in time for work the next day. Bubble Lounge has also been great for landing chicks thus far. The music isn’t so loud that you can’t have a conversation, and the space creates perfect pockets in which to easily maneuver.
Plans for the future? I do a weekly blog that goes out to all the people who attend my club. It’s a funny, slutty commentary on the whole gay and lesbian dating scene. The blog will soon go out to 20 other gay sites on a feed. Whatever that means. Anyone who wants to get the blog could let me know at myspace.com/bubbleloungevenice.
And lastly, what are you doing tonight? I’m going out to Hump Sushi restaurant in the little Santa Monica airport. Then Hump night at the Bubble Lounge, and then, hopefully a trifecta hump later upon leaving the club.
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