Co-owners Marko Shafer and Maximillian Mamikunian opened the Café’s doors in December 2000 out of their love of music and since then has outgrown its coffee house origins to become one of L.A.’s most stellar venues. On any given night, local troubadours can be found not only onstage, but in the audience supporting other artists. The venue also helps musicians build a fan base by hosting month-long residencies.
This strong sense of community fostered by the Hotel Café led to the 2004 release of Live at the Hotel Café: Volume One. The CD is a compilation of live sessions from Café regulars like Jim Bianco, Joe Purdy and the artist that the owners credit with helping to start the entire Hotel Café scene – Gary Jules.
Last year marked the launch of the first ever Hotel Café national tour that featured Cary Brothers, Rachael Yamagata, and Imogene Heap among others.
As for the Café itself, sitting in the space in front of the stage it’s easy to feels transported to a different place in time. Let the music, the glowing candlelight reflecting off polished wooden table tops and the heavy red velvet curtains that frame the stage take you to a snazzy club in the 20s.
Since the venue expanded, there is ample space to hold conversations away from the noise of the stage area, as well as a swank little smoking room complete with a piano for you to unleash your inner songster and breakout in an impromptu jam session.
Though the dining menu is small, every item is done well. Share a plate of chicken quesadillas with your friends or order a Panini sandwich and salad to fill your stomach before partaking of the libations the full-bar has to offer. Event tickets are generally $10 or less, a small price to pay for an evening of great music and atmosphere.
For more information, call (323) 461-2040 or visit www.hotelcafe.com.