It’s Monday again…sigh. Well not really sigh. As someone who does not work in the corporate world, I don’t actually mind Mondays–in fact, I love Mondays. Mondays are the draggiest day we have in West Hollywood. You can saunter over to the Abbey Bar and Grill and watch Andy Santiago’s LipService featuring local delights such as Cupcake Canne and Allusia Alusia. Or a few stones throw away you can get a Moscow Mule over at Mickys and pay the $8 cover fee to see the ladies of Showgirls, a rotating cast with your weekly host Raven of Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 2 fame. But if you do this every week, it’s nice to find a new little venue that provides you just as enjoyable live entertainment with refreshing cocktails.
Last Monday, I decided to switch things up and go to Jazz Night at the Riviera 31 located inside the Sofitel Hotel. All I can say is: WOW. What a night, what a venue, what a party! At brunch the day, the group of ladies sitting next to me were highly intrigued by my drag. They had just seen The Danish Girl the night before and had a new respect for all things LGBT related, with an added emphasis on the T. So we jabbed and exchanged niceties and the best part about it was her urging me to go to Jazz night the following evening.
You all know me. This meant I needed a new wig. What can I say…wigs are my kryptonite. So I headed over to my favorite wig store, Outfitters Wig on Hollywood Boulevard and THANK GOD there was already a red finger wave wig in the window because there’s nothing worse than having to wait for your new wig to be styled; I’m a creature who needs instant gratification.
So I texted up my girls and was like “Jazz Night?” to which they responded “Jazz Night.” and off we went. I had only previously been to the Sofitel the day before for brunch and that was at their exquisite restaurant Estérel. Jazz night, however, is located at the hotel’s bar Riviera 31. Riviera 31 takes you into the world of a French riviera, with stunning red, black, and white decor adorned with black and white photos of past rendezvous scattered across the walls. I stepped into the venue and was immediately surprised at how diverse the crowd was: from rich oil barons to East Side hipsters wearing the latest Rick Owens collection to the hotel guest the stumbled down to have a cup of coffee.
The energy was contagious. I wanted a seat to the action and I wanted it immediately! I got as close as possible to the live set already in action, a pianist, a bassist, a drummer, and a world-class saxophonist that immediately made me think “well, someone in this room is getting pregnant tonight.”
The ambiance was perfect and I’ve never enjoyed my first time at an event as much as I did “Jazz Nights”. My favorite set was when a finalist from the Voice joined a Grammy award-winning pianist for a bluesy jazz ballad like no other. I had no choice but to stand up and scream “YESSSSSSSSS” as I would in a drag lounge; however, I’m not sure if this is the etiquette they expect of their guests here but when props are due, PROPS ARE DUE. Lauren was mesmerized by the pianist. He was the type of musician that is not limited to his instrument. He transcended above that piano, jumping up and down as he slammed into the keys, sitting for one second just to quickly shoot back up. His legs moved like a trained dancer and his brow was wet with perspiration. He could have changed Lauren’s sexuality on that evening.
If you haven’t checked out Jazz Night at Riviera 31 located inside the Sofitel, you really are missing out on one of Los Angeles’s hidden gems. I say skip the drag shows for an evening and go support your local musicians and bask in an unforgettable ambiance TONIGHT!
PS. Dress up! I had so much fun being the only Jazz-era looking attendee and the other patrons ate it up.
Diana’s rating: ★★★★★
Lauren’s rating: ★★★★★
The only fuss I’ll make is that Uber really has no idea how to get to the Sofitel, so plan to wait for your Uber to arrive upon departure.
For more information about events at Riviera 31 or to book a table for Jazz Night click here.
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