Chris Honetschlaeger, the founder of Hollywood’s Record Parlour, has announced the opening of the Americana Lounge, a new music venue set to open in December. The 1,800-foot space located at 1553 Cahuenga Blvd. is around the corner from the Record Parlour, a store specializing in vintage vinyl, audio gear and memorabilia.
The Americana Lounge, as the name suggests, will emphasize blues, country, jazz and rock. It will initially be booked by Honestschaelger who plans to feature regular residencies, never charge a cover and offer the room as a private event space. The new venue will have a capacity of roughly 125.
Honetschlaeger says the expansion evolved naturally. “People were coming to the Record Parlour especially at night and there would be music playing and people would shop, hang out, talk, dance — I’ve even had people make-out in the corner,” he says. “So I have this captive audience here having a good time, who want to relax and perhaps have a drink after they’ve finished shopping and now they want desert. So the question became, where can I move them into a new environment that caters to them?”
The answer to that question turned out to be in the same historic building that houses the Record Parlour, a former print shop built in the 1920s. From the street, the Americana Lounge and Record Parlour bookend Floyd’s Barbershop, a rock-and-roll-themed clip joint located on the corner of Cahuenga Blvd. and Selma Avenue. The two spaces, however, share an interior back passage that will allow customers to flow between the two premises without having to leave the building.
The new airy and cavernous space, with roughly 20-feet ceilings, exposed brick and wooden beams, has the same vintage aesthetic and funhouse vibe as the Record Parlour. Both feature a treasure trove of Honetschlaeger’s collection of retro, American-made audio gear and memorabilia. Currently on display in the Americana Lounge is a fully-functional 1939 jukebox playing 78 rpm records, a full-sized wooden phone booth, a Hollywood-themed pinball machine, a gumball dispenser shaped like a rocket and, perhaps most impressive, a 1974 Ford Gran Torino (Starsky & Hutch‘s vehicle of choice) that is cut in half and being used as a DJ booth.
The Americana Lounge will serve beer and wine and have three separate audio systems: one for vinyl and DJs, a jukebox sound system wired into original jukebox speakers from the 1940s and 1950s and a traditional P.A. system for live bands. The back line will feature vintage music equipment.
Honetschlaeger opened the Record Parlour nearly two years ago in 2013 with partner Chadwick Hemus, the head vinyl buyer for Amoeba Record’s Berkeley store. The store houses roughly 30,000 pieces of used vinyl in addition to an upstairs filled with audio equipment. Part of the decision to expand comes from the need for more retail space. A back room is piled high with merchandise including albums and keyboards yet to be put out on display. And Honetschlaeger says he has close to 100 jukeboxes stored in a Gardenia warehouse. The new venue will effectively double the retailer’s floorspace.
The proprietor also says there is high demand to rent his retail space out for events, which so far has included Solange Knowles‘ birthday party (which saw sister Beyonce turn-up) and its use as a backdrop for Dave Grohl‘s Sonic Highways in a segment featuring Bonnie Raitt. In fact, Grohl later booked the space for the series’ wrap party. Past performers who have played the Record Parlour include artists like 89-year old R&B sax player Big Jay McNeely and Chicago bluesman Rob Stone.
A unique aspect of the venue is that it is equipped with an analog record lathe. This allows for performances to be “cut” into vinyl and distributed to attendees at a later date.
The opening of the Americana Lounge, a block from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is the latest sign of a resurgent central Hollywood. Several hotels are currently under construction in the area, including the Dream Hotel directly across the street from the Record Parlour, as well as a new outpost by the Thompson Hotel and a reported deal for a nearby Four Seasons in the works. The Hotel Cafe is on the next block and several music venues including the Henry Fonda Theatre, the Avalon and the Palladium are all within walking distance. Amoeba Records is just down the street.
What differentiates the Americana Lounge and the Record Parlour from other new businesses coming to the area is its dedication to vintage music, audio and memorabilia and affordability. “The Americana Lounge will be a place to experience music and drink in surroundings that turn back time to the pioneering days of entertainment and innovation in American history,” Honetschlaeger says. “We’re approaching this with the perspective of creating a unique music experience for both artists and fans. Our motivation has always been about passion and not price.”